FORT MILL — To watch Anthony Frattaroli run, it wouldn’t be obvious that he suffers from Type I diabetes. And that is just the way his family wants it.
Frattaroli, a sixth-grade student at Springfield Middle School, has qualified for the Junior Olympics cross-country championship in San Antonio Dec. 14.
The 12-year-old is like any other runner, worrying about his running time and a personal best. But unlike most runners, Frattaroli has another number he has to worry about – his blood sugar.
He was diagnosed at the age of nine months with Type I diabetes, and has since been living with the need to make sure his blood sugar is not too high or too low. It’s something he even has to monitor during competitions. Exercise, like running and swimming, can cause a dip in his blood sugar levels.
“It’s a challenge, trying to run with diabetes,” he said. “I may have to stop in the middle of a race and check my blood sugar.”
But Scott Frattaroli, Anthony’s father and an elementary school principal in the Fort Mill School District, said athletic competition has helped to keep his son’s disease in check.
“He is in incredible shape,” he said. “He swims year round and is now running. We have been fortunate his sugar hasn’t interfered with his meets.”
This is Anthony’s first year of running cross country. He runs for a cross country club team in south Charlotte, Fit 180 Athletics. Fort Mill schools don’t allow students to compete in sports until the seventh grade.
He continued into the Junior Olympic Cross Country season. Frattaroli runs in the 11-12 age division of the United States Association of Track and Field (USATF).
Last month, he qualified for the North Carolina state championship, finishing 15th overall with a time of 12:16.09 on the 3K course at Hagan Stone Park in Greensboro, N.C.
He followed that performance in mid-November at the North Carolina USATF Association Junior Olympic Championship at the same course at Hagan Stone Park, finishing with a time of 11:35.47. His previous personal record time on any 3K course was 12:04.29.
The top 15 finishers and the top two teams in North Carolina advance to the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship in San Antonio in mid-December. Frattaroli finished 13th in his age division and Fit 180 Athletics finished second overall.
Frattaroli said he is proud of where he has come from and doesn’t look at Type I diabetes as something bad.
“It makes me happy to know I am good enough to do it,” he said. “I don’t think it (diabetes) holds me back any. I still try my hardest and do well.”
Scott Frattaroli said he isn’t surprised his son has exceeded in athletics.
“He has an incredible will to compete,” he said. “He has always had a strong will. I am pleased by his success.”