SOPOT, Poland--Washington State University alum Bernard Lagat (left/photo by Paul Merca) advanced to the finals of the mens 3000 meter run Friday night with a controlled third place finish in the second of two semifinal heats at Ergo Arena.
As is his trademark, Lagat let the field do the work for most of the race, and let heat winner Caleb Ndiku of Kenya take off with two laps to go.
Ndiku crossed the line in 7:42.75, with Ethiopia's Hagos Gebrhiwet, the silver medalist in the 5000 at last year's world championships in Moscow second at 7:42.95, and Lagat third at 7:42.98.
Afterwards, Lagat said, "I liked the pace. The race drains out, there is no boxing around. Hopefully the guys who did the work in the front made it in. Without them, the race would have been slow. I made it because of them. In the final, I am going to rely on my experience, on the belief that I have been here before, that I have been successful. I will take it the way it comes. If it is fast, like tonight, I welcome that. If if is slow, I am going to be ready again. It is a matter of being ready and do the best I can. I won last time and I feel also I am ready, just like I was last time."
He also disclosed that he was just getting over an illness, and was happy with his performance considering the circumstances.
Lagat joins fellow American Galen Rupp, who was third in the first heat in a time of 7:45.23.
The finals of the mens 3000 occurs Sunday at 4:10 pm local time.
NOTE: USA Track & Field and the IAAF contributed to this report.