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DAEGU, South Korea â€” Morgan Uceny needed only to advance from her qualifying heat at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships.
So she did.
Uceny, a 2003 Plymouth High School graduate, ran conservatively and settled for a third-place finish in the third of three preliminary races as she began her quest to win a gold medal in the womenâ€™s 1500-meter run Saturday night.
Now, itâ€™s on to the semifinals, scheduled at 7:35 a.m. (EDT) Tuesday at Daegu Stadium in Daegu, South Korea.
The first six finishers in each heat Saturday automatically advanced to the semis. So, Uceny wasnâ€™t worried about winning. She just needed to move on, which she did easily, clocking 4:07.43.
â€śI feel good. Itâ€™s been a long time since Iâ€™ve raced, since Monaco so it feels like itâ€™s been forever,â€ť she said in a post-race interview for Flotrack.org. â€śEven though you have good training you just never know how itâ€™s going to feel when youâ€™re actually in a race situation so it always feels hard, but a 4:07 is not an easy thing to run. I was just happy that I executed well. I got out in the back but kept my head and moved around as necessary and was able to come home making sure I wasnâ€™t racing a final 100 meters, but just trying to ease up and be comfortable.â€ť
Ironically, Uceny was seeded into the same heat as defending champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain, who finished first in 4:07.04. Jamal is ranked No. 1 in the world, Uceny No. 2. That same pair could possibly square off again for the world title on Thursday.
In all, 24 runners advanced to the 1500-meter semis. Two other Americans â€” Shannon Rowbury and Jennifer Barringer Simpson â€” are included in the group.
Sports Editor James Costello contributed to this report.View more articles in: