There’s still more than a year left in Elisa Grandemange’s career in track and field at Colorado, but the junior already sees the end of the line approaching.
“I’ve got a year left, but I’m already thinking it’s sad because I’ve loved it,” she said Saturday after competing for the Buffaloes at the CU Invitational.
While the end is in sight, Grandemange still has plenty of room to grow and goals to reach, and she’s not losing focus on her potential.
One of the top throwers for the Buffs, Grandemange is competing in the discus, hammer and javelin, and hopes are high that she can score points in multiple events at the Pac-12 championships next month.
“One of the challenges of throwing is throwing multiple events and trying to be good in multiple, but she is talented enough and skilled enough to do that and she’s motivated,” said CU assistant coach Casey Malone, who has worked with the Buffs’ throwers for the past 17 years. “She could have that rare double of being a Pac-12 scorer in the javelin and the hammer, which doesn’t often happen. It’s a unique skill set. Elisa is one of the most talented overall athletes that I’ve coached.”
It’s been a steady progression for Grandemange since she stumbled into throwing as a sophomore at Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, Wash.
A native of France, Grandemange and her family moved to the United States when she was six years old. The family moved several times in her youth and she started high school in Virginia before moving to Washington. At the time, Grandemange ran track just for fun, competing in sprints and hurdles.
“Then I got shin splints,” she said. “Someone said, ‘Hey try throwing.’ It was just fun, so I kept doing it.”
She became a two-time state champion in the discus, state runner-up in the javelin and one of the top hammer throwers in the country.
Out of high school, Grandemange signed with Kent State and redshirted there in 2015 before transferring to CU.
“This had more of what I wanted,” she said.
She kept improving in the throws and last year, Grandemange earned team points at the Pac-12 championships with an eighth-place finish in the Hammer. She added a 16th-place finish in the discus.
So far this spring, she’s doing even better.
“At this time last year I wasn’t throwing what I’m throwing right now,” said Grandemange, a neuroscience major. “The hope is that everything has moved up a little bit so when we get to (the Pac-12 championships) I’ll be throwing a little further.”
Last month, Grandemange set a personal record in the javelin (138 feet, 1 inch) and has season bests of 179-5 in the hammer and 140-8.5 in the discus.
“Overall I’ve become a better thrower (at CU),” she said. “Technique has improved a lot. It takes time for things like that (positive results) to show and it feels like I’m right on the cusp of a big throw, so I think overall I’ve improved a lot in the last few years.”
If the improvement continues, Grandemange could potentially score in multiple events at the Pac-12 championships, while keeping her eyes on a spot at NCAA regionals this year, and potentially the NCAA nationals by next year.
That’s a lot to accomplish, but Grandemange’s results to this point suggest she could get there.
“After next year I’ll be done with track, but the biggest lesson is that you don’t know what you’re capable of until you really put your mind to it,” she said. “It’s amazing what you can do when you actually are working really hard.”