Isaiah Harris (left) races in the 800 meter semifinals on June 19, while Rachel Schneider celebrates as she crosses the finish line while winning the women's USA Track & Field 1-Mile Road Championship in April 2021 in Iowa. Credit: Ashley Landis; Charlie Neibergall / AP

Two distance runners with Maine ties will race for spots on the U.S. Olympic track and field team during back-to-back races at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Monday night.

Isaiah Harris of Lewiston will compete in the men’s 800 meter final at 8:28 p.m., while Rachel Schneider, a Sanford native now living in Flagstaff, Arizona, will race in the women’s 5,000 meter run at 8:40 p.m.

Both races are scheduled to be televised live on NBC.

Runners must place among the top three finishers in the finals and have achieved the Olympic qualifying standard for the event to represent the United States at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, which are scheduled for July 23 through Aug. 8.

Harris, the former Lewiston High School basketball and track standout who won the 2018 NCAA Division I championship in the 800 for Penn State University, now runs professionally for Nike.

He posted the third-fastest time in the event during Friday’s first-round heats, finishing in 1 minute, 45.25 seconds.

Another Mainer, Mitchell Black of Brunswick, placed seventh in his first-round heat with a time of 1:49.61 and did not qualify for the semifinals.

The 24-year-old Harris followed up his first-round effort on Saturday evening with a 1:46.16 finish good for the second-fastest time among 24 runners who had advanced to the semifinals, trailing only Bryce Hoppel’s 1:46.00.

Harris, whose personal best in the 800 is 1:44.42, will be one of eight runners in the Olympic Trials final and will start the race at the outside of the field in Lane 9.

Schneider, who attended high school in New Hampshire and raced collegiately at Georgetown University, will be one of 16 runners in the women’s 5,000 meter final after finishing second in her first-round heat in 15:23.45.

She was ranked fifth among Americans in the event entering the Trials after running a personal-best 14:52.04 during a May race in Irvine, California.

Schneider, who competed in the 2016 Olympic Trials at 1,500 meters and advanced to the semifinals before missing a berth in the final by 1.5 seconds, also is scheduled to compete in the women’s 10,000 meter final on Saturday along with another Maine native, 27-year-old Emily Durgin of Standish.

Among other runners with Maine ties who have competed in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, North Yarmouth native Ben True narrowly missed earning a berth in the men’s 10,000 last Friday.

The 35-year-old running veteran finished fourth in the final of that event Friday night in 27:58.88, less than four seconds behind the final qualifier as the top three finishers used strong last-lap kicks to earn their trips to Tokyo.

True’s fourth-place finish earned him alternate status for the U.S. team.

The finish marked another narrow Olympic miss for True, a former Greely High School track and skiing standout who went on to compete at Dartmouth College and now lives in Hanover, New Hampshire.

True previously finished fifth in the final of the 5,000 meter run at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, as well as sixth in the same event in 2012.

True will double up in the 5,000 and 10,000 for the third straight Trials later this week as he competes in the 5,000 meter semifinals on Thursday. The final in that event is scheduled for Sunday.

Former Orono High School distance standout Hannah Steelman, now a junior at North Carolina State, made her Trials debut in the 3,000 meter steeplechase on Sunday evening.

Steelman did not qualify for Thursday’s final after finishing 13th in her semifinal heat with a time of 9:59.11. That was the 24th-fastest time among the 32 competitors.

She entered the Trials as the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference champion in the steeplechase and placed 14th in the event at the NCAA Championships in 9:46.09 earlier this month to earn second-team All-America honors.

Two Maine natives and former University of Maine track athletes, Nathaniel Meade of Waldoboro and Julian Hubbard of Windsor, competed in the Trials’ triple jump last Saturday, but neither were among the top 12 finishers to advance from the qualifying round for Monday night’s finals.

Avatar photo

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...