In her first international competition, sophomore Rachel Hickey earned a silver medal for Team USA after posting a personal-best performance in the 1,500-meter run July 21 at the Pan American U20 Championships in San José, Costa Rica.

Hickey improved her time by four seconds, running a 4:26.83 in only her second time competing in the 1,500-meter run during her career. The Peru, Illinois, native’s second-place finish split Canadian competitors Maggie Smith, who took home the gold, and Joselyn Chau, who finished third.

“Rachel’s performance speaks for itself,” Illinois State assistant coach Jon-Michael Brandt said. “She came to her first international competition and ran to a podium finish. Rachel couldn’t have represented USA and ISU in any better fashion. She continues to show why she is one of the best young distance runners in the country.”

Hickey was eligible to compete for a spot on Team USA at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships, despite having never previously competed in the 1,500 based on qualifying times set during her indoor campaign. Hickey earned her spot on Team USA with a second-place finish at the USATF U20 Outdoor Championships, which qualified for the Pan American U20 Championships.