Gophers redshirt senior Alec Basten, of Green Bay, Wis., and two Minnesotans will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final on Friday.
Basten advanced by finishing fourth in his heat — and overall — in the first round of the steeplechase on Monday night in the U.S. Olympic track and field trials in Eugene, Ore.
His time was a personal-best 8 minutes, 22.22 seconds — almost seven seconds faster than he ran to finish second on the same track in the NCAA meet earlier this month. Isaac Updike of the Empire Elite Track Club was the top qualifier for the final in 8:21.01.
Mason Ferlic and Obsa Ali, the NCAA steeplechase champions in 2016 and 2018, respectively, also made the final. Ferlic, a Roseville native and Michigan grad, ran 8:30.78 to place 12th in the first round. Ali, a former Gopher who ran for Richfield High School, ran 8:31.54 to place 13th.
In the women's 5,000 final, Gwen Jorgensen, a former St. Paul resident who was the gold medalist in women's triathlon at the 2016 Olympics, placed ninth in 15:50.62. She is also in the women's 10,000 final on Saturday.
Harden latest aboard
USA Basketball's Olympic men's roster is getting closer to filled, with now as many as eight spots on the 12-person team claimed.
Brooklyn's James Harden has told the national team that he is committed to playing U.S. men's national team next month at the Tokyo Games, said a person familiar with the decision. Miami's Bam Adebayo also has informed USA Basketball of his intention to play.
The eight commitments, for now, all either confirmed by people with knowledge or by the player publicly: Harden, Adebayo, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant, Golden State's Draymond Green, Washington's Bradley Beal, Boston's Jayson Tatum, Phoenix's Devin Booker and Portland's Damian Lillard.
One of the final spots, though, won't be going to Golden State's Stephen Curry. A person with knowledge of the situation said Curry has declined an invitation to be part of the team, citing offseason commitments.
Harden's status is considered somewhat tentative, considering that he was slowed in the NBA playoffs by what he described as a Grade 2 hamstring strain.
If he plays in Tokyo, Durant would be bidding for a third consecutive gold medal.
Two U.S. stars falter
Jenny Simpson and Donavan Brazier won't be going to the Olympics.
In a format where records and résumés mean nothing, and only the top three finishers in each event earn a spot, the two U.S. track stars fell short.
"There are things that champions overcome. I couldn't overcome them," said Brazier, the world champion at 800 meters, after finishing last in that race, more than four seconds behind winner Clayton Murphy.
"It's hard to believe," said Simpson, a former world champion whose 10th-place finish in the 1,500 stunned the crowd.
They were not quite superstars. Still, they were favorites in their events — if not to win, then at least to finish in the top three.
Simpson, who took bronze in Rio in 2016 to become the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in the 1,500, was done quickly. There was heavy jostling at the start that knocked five or six runners off stride.
"No one went down," she said. "Maybe they should have called the race back. That was extreme."
Brazier has prided himself on entering the 800 without a game plan. This time, he didn't have his customary kick. He knew with about 200 meters left that it wasn't his day. Instead, it belonged to Murphy, who will get a chance to add to the bronze he won in Rio.
"I've been able to win from the front. I've been able to win from the back. I don't know if it was just overconfidence going into the race," Brazier said. "Maybe lack of race plan is what got me."