Olympics roundup: Ferlic falls short in steeplechase

Detroit News staff and wires

Former Michigan track standout Mason Ferlic came up short in his bid to qualify for this summer’s Rio Games, finishing fifth in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic trials in Eugene, Ore.

American-record holder Evan Jager earned his second Olympic berth by winning Friday night’s race in a time of 8:22.48. Hillary Bor (8:24.10) and Donn Cabral (8:26.37) finished second and third to grab the other U.S. Olympic berths. Ferlic, who held the lead early in the race but faded in the final 800 meters, was fifth in 8:30.03.

“I’m happy,” said Ferlic, a five-time Big Ten champion in track and cross-country who won the NCAA steeplechase title at this same track last month. “I can’t be disappointed with the season. I won NCAAs. That was a huge goal. And to come out here and still run pretty well, I mean, that’s all I can ask for at this point.

“I wasn’t expecting to make the team. I was just going to put myself in the best position possible. I came up a little short. But that’s a hell of a learning experience, and I think I’m only gonna get better.”

Ferlic, who finished finished his eligibility at Michigan this spring, now has an agent, Dan Lilot, and plans to begin his professional career this summer.

Michigan alumnus Jeff Porter advanced to the 110-meter hurdles semifinals on Saturday, finishing second in his heat with a time of 13.72 (No. 11 overall).

More track and field

High-school sprinters Michael Norman and Noah Lyles won their 200-meter semifinals to move one race away from the Olympics.

LaShawn Merritt ran the world’s fastest time of the year at the distance, 19.74 seconds, to easily win his semifinal heat. Merritt has already qualified for the 400.

Also in Saturday’s final will be Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay.

On the women’s side, Allyson Felix cruised through her first-round heat at 200 meters to keep her hopes alive for the 200-400 double in Rio.

Among those not going are Dawn Harper-Nelson, who won gold in 2008 and silver in 2012, but failed to make it out of the semifinals of 100-meter hurdles. And American record-holder Keni Harrison finished seventh in the hurdles final.

Basketball

Bojan Bogdanovic of the Nets scored 20 points, and Croatia beat Greece, 66-61, in the semifinals of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Turin, Italy.

The Croatians will meet Italy, a 79-54 winner over Mexico, on Saturday in the championship game, with the winner earning a place in the basketball field in Rio. They limited Greece star Giannis Antetokounmpo to nine points. He missed all seven 3-point attempts.

Puerto Rico also moved within a victory of a berth in Brazil by beating Latvia, 77-70, in Belgrade, Serbia. The Puerto Ricans moved into Saturday’s championship game against Serbia, which beat the Czech Republic, 96-72.

The three qualifying tournaments are determining the final three spots in the Olympics. The semifinals in Manila, Philippines, are Saturday, when France meets Turkey and Canada plays New Zealand.