At the Big Sky Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 25, senior standout Christie Schiel ran a time of 2:08.29 in the 800-meter run, earning her third Big Sky Conference title and breaking the school record. Her converted altitude time of 2:07.69 is the eighth fastest in this event in conference history.
A fifth-year senior, Schiel redshirted indoor season her freshman year and outdoor season her sophomore year. The Cheyenne, Wyoming native never competed in track and field in high school, but instead ran cross country and played basketball and soccer. “I wanted to do athletics in college, and I decided I wanted to run track because it was something I never got to do, and I thought I’d be pretty good at it,” Schiel said. She was recruited by MSU for her cross country times, and her first ever year of track was her freshman outdoor season. With two meets left in that first season, Schiel ran her first competitive 800-meter run. “It went really well, and from then on I’ve been an 800 runner,” she said.
Schiel had been working hard to break the school record all season, and the hard work finally paid off. “There’s a big clock at the finish line, so crossing the line I knew right away that I’d broken it,” she explained. “I don’t know quite how to articulate that feeling. It’s something I’ve been working toward all season, so it was really rewarding knowing all the hard work paid off.”
Schiel also said that, “records are meant to be broken.” To her, being an MSU record holder is something she’s proud of, but something she hopes one of her younger teammates will also be able to achieve. “It’s really nice to know that all the hard work that I’ve put in has paid off, but it’s really exciting because we have a lot of younger girls. I see all their potential, and it would mean the world to me if one of them could break my record,” Schiel said. “I see how much our program is improving and how much potential all my teammates have to do the same thing. That’s what’s special to me about this.”
Going into the season, Schiel said, “I had a lot of goals, and they were more oriented around how fast I could run and not necessarily around winning and placing, because you can only control yourself.” With an entire outdoor season remaining, “it doesn’t really feel like I’ve met my goals, and I know I can keep pushing myself,” she said.
As far as the upcoming outdoor season goes, Schiel’s goals are to break the outdoor 800-meter school record, which she believes is in reach, and qualify for the regional meet. “I want to focus on getting to the regional meet and doing as well as I can there, and just keep getting faster,” Schiel said.
Head Track and Field Coach Dale Kennedy and Distance Coach Lyle Weese have been great mentors for Schiel and helped her reach her goals this season. “They have both been so supportive of me, and the thing I appreciate most about them is they see my potential and they believed in me before I believed in myself, so having their support and encouragement has been truly special,” she said.
Schiel will compete in distance events during the 2017 outdoor track and field season. The first meet is the Bobcat Invitational on March 25 in Bozeman.
Schiel will graduate this spring with a degree in industrial engineering.