EUGENE, Ore. — Rachel Schneider of Sanford is still alive in her quest to make the U.S. Olympic track and field team, advancing to the 1,500-meter semifinals despite a fall in her first-round heat Thursday night at the University of Oregon.

Schneider was in third place with one lap to go when she was tripped up by a trailing runner and fell hard to the track. She quickly got back onto her feet and finished eighth with a time of 4 minutes, 22.94.

That turned out to be fast enough to qualify for the semifinals; her time was better than everyone in the second heat. A total of 24 runners – the top six in each of three heats and those with the next six fastest times – advanced to Friday’s semifinals.

The 1,500 final is Sunday night.

In the women’s shot put, Becky O’Brien of Cumberland was unable to make it out of the qualifying round, finishing 16th with a best throw of 55 feet, 113/4 inches. The top 12 advanced to the finals, which was won by Michelle Carter with a meet-record 64-31/4. Raven Saunders and Felisha Johnson also made the Olympic team.

TRIPLE JUMP: Two-time NCAA champion Keturah Orji, who once dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast, will get a chance at another kind of title. She won the women’s triple jump and will head to Rio. On the men’s side, Christian Taylor’s quest for an Olympic repeat is on track. He needed one jump to make it through qualifying and will try to secure his spot Saturday.

STEEPLECHASE: Stephanie Garcia was in the mix for an Olympic spot in steeplechase until the final lap. First, she got passed for the third position. Then, in her quest to catch up, she stumbled over the last barrier and went tumbling. Emma Coburn, Courtney Frerichs and Colleen Quigley got the trips to Rio. Garcia said she still earned a victory of sorts: “I knew if I didn’t make it, then I was going to make those who did work very, very hard,” she said.

MEN’S 200: LaShawn Merritt considers his 200-meter races more of a lark than anything else.

Think of the possibilities if they ever become a serious pursuit.

Already qualified for the Olympics in his “real” race, the 400, Merritt pulled away for an easy victory in the opening round of 200-meter qualifying, posting the night’s third-best time at 20.09 seconds.

He has the world’s best time this year, at 19.78 seconds, and if world-record holder Usain Bolt’s hamstring injury turns out to be worse than expected – well, who knows what could happen?

MEN’S WATER POLO: Coach Dejan Udovicic is bringing along a group of 20-somethings long on athletic ability and short on experience. What comes next is anyone’s guess.

While Tony Azevedo and Merrill Moses highlight the 13-player roster, there are only four holdovers from the United States’ disappointing eighth-place finish in London. The average age of the nine newcomers just makes the cut for happy hour at 21.1 years old.

But there are signs the youthful team is coming together nicely. The U.S., ranked sixth in the world, is coming off a second-place finish in the FINA World League Super Final last month in China. It posted shootout victories over Australia and Greece before losing 10-6 to Serbia in the final.

It was the first medal for the U.S. in a major FINA competition since winning silver at the 2008 Olympics.

IN A SHIFT in position, the IOC opened the door to the possibility of Russian whistleblower Yulia Stepanova competing as a neutral athlete in Brazil.

The IOC said it asked its ethics commission for “advice” on the issue and will then decide whether Stepanova’s participation as an independent athlete “merits an exception to the rules of the Olympic Charter.”

HELICOPTERS WILL circle overhead starting at 6 a.m. to spot any floating rubbish. Trash-collection boats receiving GPS coordinates will sweep up debris before each day before Olympic sailing kicks off.

Andy Hunt, the head of sailing’s world governing body World Sailing, said Rio is difficult. He raised an unfavorable comparison with the yacht-filled New England harbor of Newport, Rhode Island.

“We wouldn’t be out sailing in Newport with spotting helicopters and eco-boats,” he said.

A CONSTRUCTION company embroiled in Brazil’s corruption scandal showed off its legacy projects for the Olympics.

Odebrecht is involved in several transportation projects, including renovations to the suburban train system that stops at key Olympic venues, a subway extension and a light rail in the long-derelict port region. The company is also helping make over Rio’s port area.

Prosecutors in a corruption investigation that started at state-run oil giant Petrobras said graft was so deeply rooted at Odebrecht that the company had a department to disburse bribes.

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