Ellie Grant is far more than just a standout track and field athlete.
The recent graduate of Snohomish High School, who finished third in the triple jump at the Class 3A girls track and field championships last year, was aiming for a state title this year when spring sports were canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak.
But beyond being an elite jumper, Grant has also overcome scoliosis, has trained as a dancer since the age of 2, and is a near-4.0 student who will be studying biochemistry at the University of Idaho, where she will also be a member of the women’s track and field team. She spoke to us about those subjects for our latest spring sports senior salute:
What were you hoping to accomplish this year?
My goal was mainly in the triple jump, and that was to be state champion. I was working really hard toward that, it’s one of the reasons I did cross country the past two years, to finally achieve that goal of being a state champion. It’s interesting, because I did the high jump when I started track in fifth grade (Grant was also a state qualifier in the high jump) and didn’t start doing the triple jump until my freshman year. I really liked it because it requires a lot of coordination, and I like being able to apply that in other things I do.
You were diagnosed with scoliosis as a freshman. What was that like?
Scoliosis is when there’s curvature of the spine that’s caused by growth, and your back isn’t straight or aligned. I had to wear a brace to prevent the curvature from getting worse while I was growing. It kind of made it difficult to bend over backwards for the high jump. I wore the brace for two years.
How did that experience influence your decision to pursue biochemistry at Idaho?
When I had scoliosis I got really close with the group of doctors who were helping me, and that got me interested in helping people with conditions like mine. Last summer I had an internship with Providence Regional Medical Center, where I spent 100 hours volunteering. It was awesome getting close-up experience with lots of patients, giving them any possible care I could give. I really thought that’s where I need to be. I plan to go to medical school after I graduate.
You’ve also been involved in dance since you were 2. What kinds of dance do you do?
Many different types. I was in ballet every single year of my life. I’ve done contemporary lyrical, hip hop, pretty much every genre. My sophomore year I’d go to school, have track practice for two hours, leave 30 minutes early and go straight to dance until 8 or 9 every single day, then I’d do homework between 9 and very late at night. I’d fit in dinner whenever I could. I knew it was too much to continue my junior year. I still danced my junior year, but a little bit less. I don’t know exactly how I’m going to work dance in when I’m in college, maybe once a week.
You came one class short of a 4.0 grade-point average for your entire high school academic career, getting one B+ the first semester of your senior year. What class was it?
It was AP Government. I’m not a history person, I’m a STEM kid!