Former Cal star Alysia Montano won her first-round heat of the 800 meters on Thursday morning at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships.
Montano, who was fifth in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, ran 1 minute, 59.47 seconds to qualify for Friday’s semifinals. She led from the start, clocking 57.02 for the opening 400.
“I’ve got to recover and get to the next round. This is not the part. The part is three days from now in the final. I feel good,” Montano said.
Montano is attempting to become the first U.S. woman to earn a medal in the 800 at the World Championships, which began in 1983. The 800 final is Sunday.
American Brenda Martinez also won her heat in 1:59.39 to advance. Defending Olympic champion Mariya Savinova qualified third out of that heat in 1:59.44.
All three U.S. runners advanced, with Ajee Wilson grabbing the third qualifying spot in her heat at 2:00.00.
Another former Cal athlete, high jumper Inika McPherson, failed to advance to the final after scaling 6-foot-2 in the prelims.