Luke DeCock

Olympic track off and running Friday

Track and field competition at the Rio games begins Friday, and there’s a busy schedule of local runners from start to (almost) end. Here’s how their schedules break down (not including UNC’s Shalane Flanagan, who runs the marathon Saturday):

Ronnie Ash, Knightdale, U.S., 110-meter hurdles

Round 1 Monday; semifinals and final Tuesday

Medal chances: Surprise qualifier at trials has a chance; anyone who can finish in the top three at the U.S. trials in hurdles has a chance.

Tia-Adana Belle, St. Augustine’s, Barbados, 400-meter hurdles

Round 1 Monday; semifinals Tuesday; final Thursday

Medal chances: Best time this year ranks 42nd but she’s only 20 and has plenty of room for improvement in her first Olympics.

Roxroy Cato, St. Augustine’s, Jamaica, 400-meter hurdles

Round 1 Monday; semifinals Tuesday; final Thursday

Medal chances: St. Augustine’s coach George Williams believes Cato has a realistic shot at the podium if he’s at his best. Two seconds faster now than he was in London.

Burkheart Ellis Jr., Raleigh/St. Augustine’s, Barbados, 200 meters

Round 1 Tuesday; semifinals Wednesday; final Thursday

Medal chances: Best outdoor time this year (his personal best) is 57th in the world but has shown steady improvement.

Jeffery Gibson, trains at St. Augustine’s, Bahamas, 400-meter hurdles

Round 1 Monday; semifinals Tuesday; final Thursday

Medal chances: Williams also believes Gibson can make the podium but the two Americans – Kerron Clement and Michael Tinsley – will be tough to beat.

Ramon Gittens, St. Augustine’s, Barbados, 100 and 200 meters

100-meter preliminaries and round 1 Saturday; semifinals and final Sunday

200-meter round 1 Tuesday; semifinals Wednesday; final Thursday

Medal chances: Better in the 100 than 200, but will likely have to be thrilled if he can get out of the semifinals.

Vikas Gowda, UNC, India, discus

Qualifying Friday; final Saturday

Medal chances: Gowda finished eighth in London but has been battling a shoulder injury; will have to improve on his performance this season to advance.

Shannon Rowbury, Duke, U.S., 1500 meters

Qualifying Friday; semifinals Sunday, final Tuesday

Medal chances: Seventh in Beijing and sixth in London – the best finish ever by an American – Rowbury has improved and has a chance but the competition is stiff.

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