American track trio earn spots in 800-meter semifinals


All three American sprinters competing in the opening round of the 800-meter event on Friday earned qualifying spots for the semifinals.

The triple threat consists of 19-year-old Athing Mu, ten-time University of Oregon All-American Raevyn Rogers and 800-meter U.S. record holder Ajeé Wilson.

Mu was barely out of breath as she cruised to a 2:01.10 first-place finish during Heat 3 of the first round.

Mu survived some early bumping, looking comfortable as she zoomed to the front of the pack to remain in control of the race. The young favorite went on to beat veteran Canadian middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, who placed fourth in the same event at the Rio Olympics.

Rogers, also making her Olympic debut, won her heat in 2:01:42 and earned the top qualifying mark out of Heat 4. The 800m silver medalist from the world championships looked poised as she breezed down the final stretch.

Wilson was the fastest American on Thursday, clocking in at 2:00.02 to finish second in Heat 6 and secure her spot in the next round.

Wilson’s qualifying time was the third-fastest posted in the opening round, just behind Jamaica’s Natoya Goule and Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie.

The semifinals, featuring 24 women, are scheduled for Saturday. The final of the 800 meters will be on Tuesday.