Rachel Schneider celebrates after winning the women's USA Track & Field 1-Mile Road Championship at the Drake Relays athletics meet, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. Credit: Charlie Neibergall / AP

Sanford native Rachel Schneider will make her Olympic debut early Friday morning U.S. time in a semifinal of the women’s 5,000-meter run.

Schneider, a former All-American at Georgetown University who now lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, qualified for the Tokyo Games by placing third in the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials last month in Eugene, Oregon.

She is scheduled to run at 6:26 a.m. in the second of the two semifinal heats along with fellow American Elise Cranny, who edged Schneider and second-place Karissa Schweizer in the 5,000 final at the trials.

Schweizer is slated to run in the first semifinal, scheduled for 6 a.m.

The top five finishers in each semifinal and the next five fastest finishers overall will advance to the 5,000 final set for 6:40 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 2.

Schneider finished the 5,000 at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 15 minutes, 29.56 seconds amid scorching heat. Her personal best for the distance is 14:52.04 set during a track meet in Irvine, California, in mid-May.

None of the Americans in the race are considered medal contenders but hope to be among the 15 runners to qualify for the final out of the 38 runners in Friday’s heat races.

Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia is considered one favorite after running a personal-best 14:13.32 on June 8 at her country’s Olympic qualifying race. Fellow Ethiopians Ejgayehu Taye and Senbere Teferi finished the same race with personal-best times of 14:14.09 and 14:15.24, respectively.

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...