Penacook resident, MV alum Kristie Schoffield competes for a spot at Paris Olympic Games, finishes sixth in finals

Former Penacook resident and Merrimack Valley High School alum Kristie Schoffield (far right) leads the pack early in the 800-meter finals at the U.S. Olympic trials on Monday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Schoffield finished sixth in a field that included former national champions, world champions and Olympic medalists. The top three qualified for the U.S. Olympic team to compete at the Paris Games.

Former Penacook resident and Merrimack Valley High School alum Kristie Schoffield (far right) leads the pack early in the 800-meter finals at the U.S. Olympic trials on Monday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Schoffield finished sixth in a field that included former national champions, world champions and Olympic medalists. The top three qualified for the U.S. Olympic team to compete at the Paris Games. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

Penacook resident and Merrimack Valley alum Kristie Schoffield (center) races in the 800-meter semifinals on Sunday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Schoffield’s time qualified her for the finals at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.

Penacook resident and Merrimack Valley alum Kristie Schoffield (center) races in the 800-meter semifinals on Sunday night at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Schoffield’s time qualified her for the finals at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. JAY SMITH / NHXCTF

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 06-25-2024 8:15 AM

Modified: 06-25-2024 11:46 AM


She was the last one to qualify for the semifinals. She was the last one to qualify for the finals. But in Monday night’s 800-meter race, competing against former national champions, world champions and Olympic medallists, Penacook’s Kristie Schoffield charged to the front of the pack.

Schoffield finished the race in sixth, just 2.59 seconds and three spots shy of qualifying for the Paris Games at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials at Eugene, Oregon’s, Hayward Field on Monday night.

Schoffield had the lead 150 meters into the race, avoiding an early collision that cost 2020 gold medalist and 2022 world champion Athing Mu her Olympic spot. Schoffield was in through through 400 meters in a blistering split of 57.76 seconds, but didn’t have enough in the tank to hold off the competitive field.

Three first-time Olympians – Nia Akins (1 minute, 57.36 seconds), Allie Wilson (1:58.32) and Juliette Whittaker (1:58.45) – finished in the top three to punch their tickets to Paris. Schoffield finished with a 2:01.04.

Just getting to the finals was a major accomplishment. Schoffield grabbed the 27th and final spot to qualify for the semifinals, just outleaning an opponent at the finish line in Friday night’s first round. She dropped a 2:00.64, 2 seconds faster than her previous season-best, in Sunday night’s semifinal, earning the ninth and final spot.

“Really proud of the weekend I put together,” Schoffield wrote on her Instagram. “Fought real hard today and finished sixth. I feel so much love and support (from) everyone who (has) reached out the past few days.”

Schoffield won none state titles as a runner for Merrimack Valley, graduating in 2017 with 13 program records (seven outdoor, six indoor). She capped a successful collegiate career being crowned as the NCAA Division I national champion in the 800 meters in spring 2022. She graduated from Boise State that same spring and inked a professional deal with New Balance Boston that fall.

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