Stanford grad Lauren Fleshman finished seventh in the women's 5,000 meters on Friday at the 13th IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.
"It was great, I'm happy," Fleshman said. "I was focused the whole way. I stuck to my race plan. I didn't get overwhelmed by the environment, those are all things I wanted to accomplish here to set me up for next year."
Fleshman got in the mix with the lead pack and stayed mid-pack through 10 laps before the leaders made a significant change of gears and the race started in earnest. She continued to fight and was able to pass Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia right at the finish to take seventh in 15:09.
That matched the highest finish ever in the event by an American, with Libbie Hickman and Jen Rhines placing seventh at the 1997 and 2009 World Championships, respectively. Amy Hastings finished 15th in 15:56.06.
"I didn't expect to be that close to the front," Fleshman said. "I just wanted to stay out of trouble. Just got off the line, got on the rail and it was perfect. The women in front just kept the pace about where I could hang on and then all the Africans came through just like I expected them to, but it was a bigger pack this time.
"I just tried to hang on with them. I kind of pretended I was on their team and was looking for the visual clues they were giving each other and was just going to be the one that was the rookie of the group and see if I could follow along the back and then pick a few of them off if possible."
In other events Friday, American Dwight Phillips won the men's long jump at 27-8 ¾ on his second attempt to win his fourth world title. That ties him with Cuba's legendary Ivan Pedroso for the most gold medals ever won in the men's long jump at the World Championships.
The USA men's 1,600 relay also won gold with a 2:59.31 clocking while edging South Africa (2:59.86) and Jamaica (3:00.10).
Team USA has now won 16 medals with two days of competition remaining.