An injury cut Alizée Minard's sole season to four meets. She still set ASU records

The javelin thrower crushed program records and found herself among the top athletes in the U.S. in just a few months of competing

Coming to ASU as a senior, Alizée Minard arrived with little time to make an impact and an even smaller room for error. That small room for error shrunk when she sustained an elbow injury that cut her lone season as a javelin thrower for the Sun Devils nearly in half. 

She competed in just four meets in the outdoor season and made the most of each one of them. Minard medaled at the NCAA Championships, set a University record and earned the first Pac-12 title for javelin in Sun Devil history.

Minard grew up in France and still lives there. She had prior experience in the javelin throw before coming to ASU, most notably, placing ninth at the 2017 French National Championships with a 44.29-meter throw.

Minard packed up her life in search of a new college and throwing coach. In August 2020, she landed in Tempe. She credits ASU track and field's history and throwing coach Brian Blutreich with playing a role in her choice to become a Sun Devil. 

"That (ASU program history) actually played a role, and for Coach (Blutreich) and I knew that they had great throwers in all events, and so that was why I chose to come to ASU," Minard said.

Blutreich knew Minard only being on the team for one season meant they had their work cut out for them. He knew she was an "incredible athlete" and had a wealth of experience in javlein throwing coming into ASU but noted her throwing mechanics needed to be fine-tuned.

Unfortunately, working on her throwing mechanics landed her with an elbow injury.

In November, Minard sustained a partially torn UCL in her elbow, forcing her to miss the 2021 indoor season. She was unable to compete or even throw for over three months.

Luckily her injury was minor enough to avoid surgery, and she could still train for the outdoor season while recovering.

"I was just more focused on the fact that I had time to work on different things that I wasn’t used to, like strengthening and technical drills," Minard said. "I had more time for all of this stuff, and I needed that."

While recovering from her injury, Minard found herself working with Blutreich not just on technical drills but also staying mentally ready for the upcoming season.

"I think the toughest thing for her was mental, which is understandable," Blutreich said. "The thing was, that our timetable was so short ... we couldn’t have any setbacks, period. So, the communication and the work that was put in off the track had to be perfect. How fast I bring her back and not to overdo it, because it’s so easy to try to come back too fast ... but the plan worked perfectly."

Her season began at the Desert Heat Classic in Tucson, where Minard placed second in the javelin throw in her first meet as a Sun Devil.

"I had doubts at the beginning during my first meeting in Tucson, but then meet after meet I just felt more confident," Minard said. "I felt free to throw, and I felt way better than at the beginning."

Two weeks later, she won the Pac-12 title.

Minard’s 55.31-meter throw at the conference championships broke the record at USC's stadium — beating the previous mark of 54.05 meters — and took home the first conference title in javelin in program history. She also qualified for first-team All-American honors.

Two weeks after that, she qualified for the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships with a 54.09-meter throw.

Minard, who started the season with doubts, said she became confident, loose and prepared for her final meet.

She threw 57.91 meters in her first throw of the championship meet, earning her the silver medal and crushing ASU's previous record for a women’s javelin throw of 55.73 meters. 

"I think she felt this was her one and only chance at the NCAA’s and she just let it go, it was amazing," Blutreich said. "Not everyone gets to throw their PR at Nationals. In less than a year to do what she did, moving to a foreign country, new coach, different people, I think she did a remarkable job." 

Minard’s teammate, men’s thrower and Pac-12 title earner Carlan Naisant, said he wasn't surprised to see Minard throw as well as she did.

"We were all kind of expecting that and rooting for her because we knew what she was capable of, and we knew what her PR was beforehand," Naisant said. "She’s been working hard all season and doing great at practice, just having a good time. So I think it was expected from most of us, if not all of us."

In less than a full calendar year, Minard fought through adversity to crown herself the Pac-12 Champion and record the farthest javelin throw in Sun Devil history, cementing her legacy in Tempe.

After a record-breaking season, Minard said she plans to continue training in hopes of competing in the World Athletics Championships.


Reach the reporter at jspange1@asu.edu and follow @jspangenthal94 on Twitter.

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