NCAA Women’s 800 — Schoffield Finishes On An Up

Kristie Schoffield was as shocked as anyone when she scored a 2-lap win. (MIKE SCOTT)

UPS & DOWNS had clearly been Kristie Schoffield’s experience in this meet. In ’18 she was 7th in her semi, in ’19 in Austin she made the final, finishing 6th; a year ago in Eugene was considerably worse — dead last in her semi.

This year, the Boise State senior swung back up again – all the way up. Catching Baylor’s Aaliyah Miller at the top of the homestretch, she stormed down the straightaway to a 2:01.09 PR.

At the finish, no one seemed more surprised by the outcome than Schoffield herself. Eyes wide, hand clasped over her mouth, she sat on the track and cried as her competitors offered congratulations.

“That’s insane, and I can’t even say the words myself because I mean, it’s not insane, I pictured it and I knew I could do it,” she said.

The race started predictably, with Miller using her trademark fast start. The ’21 Indoor winner already had a solid gap on Schoffield by 200 and a 1.20-second lead at halfway, splitting 57.62. She would still hold that margin at 600, but into the final bend she visibly slowed and Schoffield, Florida’s Imogen Barrett and Oklahoma State’s Gabija Galvydytė began a determined pursuit. While the others eased past Miller, Schoffield went past her with authority.

Schoffield steadily pulled away, running her second lap in 62.27, and the gold medal wasn’t in doubt.

The other medals were, however. Galvydytė pulled ahead of Barrett with about 40 remaining, and then Villanova’s McKenna Keegan surprised them both by snatching silver right before the line. Keegan — impressively moving up from 6th in the last 200 — clocked 2:01.71, Gladyvytė 2:01.76, and Barrett 2:02.05. Formchart fave Katy-Ann McDonald was never really in it, ending up 8th at 2:03.57.

Said Schoffield, who had been formcharted at No. 5, “I’m not used to someone taking it out so fast. I’m used to kind of being near them, but I mean, I’ve been in races where, you know, people take it out 57, 56, and I’ve never seen that into fruition. So I knew that they would come back to me if I just ran my race plan and focused on what I wanted to accomplish in the race and I think that worked out pretty good.”

Schoffield said the ups and downs weren’t just on the track: “I went through a lot in college. I struggled with mental health. If you struggle with mental health, it’s a real thing. And it’s serious. And I think that it’s something that needs to be talked about, and it’s a part of my journey, and I know it’s a part of a lot of other people’s journey as well. The people around really helped me and was able to have a really strong support system through all that.”


WOMEN’S 800 RESULTS

FINAL (June 11)

1. Kristie Schoffield (Boise) 2:01.09 PR (58.82/62.27);

2. McKenna Keegan (Vill) 2:01.71 (59.32/62.39);

3. ***Gabija Galvydytė’ (OkSt-Lit) 2:01.76 PR (59.05/62.71);

4. *Imogen Barrett’ (Fl-Aus) 2:02.05 (59.09/62.96);

5. *Sarah Hendrick (KennSt) 2:02.19 (59.53/62.66);

6. *Valery Tobias (Tx) 2:02.74 (60.13/62.61);

7. Aaliyah Miller (Bay) 2:03.05 (57.62/65.43);

8. *Katy-Ann McDonald’ (LSU-GB) 2:03.57 (59.30/64.27);

9. *Gabrielle Wilkinson (Fl) 2:06.40 (59.81/66.59).

SEMIS (June 09)

I–1. Tobias 2:03.50; 2. Wilkinson 2:03.70; 3. Aurora Rynda’ (Mi-Can) 2:03.85; 4. Presley Weems (Aub) 2:04.65; 5. *Claire Seymour (BYU) 2:04.91; 6. **Laura Pellicoro’ (Port-Ita) 2:05.59; 7. *Katherine Mitchell (BC) 2:05.86; 8. **Ellie Deligianni’ (Stan-Gre) 2:07.21.

II–1. Galvydyte’ 2:02.46 PR; 2. McDonald’ 2:02.51; 3. Miller 2:03.05; 4. Avi’ Tal Wilson-Perteete (TxAM) 2:03.50 (fastest non-Q ever); 5. **Sydney Steely (MsSt) 2:03.85; 6. Honour Finley (Ks) 2:04.42; 7. *Rachel Gearing (PennSt) 2:05.41; 8. Victoria Tachinski’ (PennSt-Can) 2:06.16.

III–1. Schoffield 2:01.79; 2. Keegan 2:01.82; 3. Barrett’ 2:02.24; 4. Hendrick 2:02.34; 5. *Dorcus Ewoi (Campb) 2:03.17 PR (fastest non-Q ever); 6. **Carley Thomas’ (Wa-Aus) 2:03.44; 7. *Kassidy Johnson (KsSt) 2:03.85; 8. **Josefine Eriksen’ (Ut-Nor) 2:09.57.

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