It didn't go as planned Thursday for figure skater Polina Edmunds in her World Championships debut.

The San Jose teenager heads into the free skate Saturday in 12th place after making a costly mistake in Saitama, Japan.

The American women had a rough outing overall as national champion Gracie Gold is fifth and veteran Ashley Wagner is seventh. Japan's Mao Asada scored 78.66 points to grab the lead ahead of Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy and Russian teen sensation Yulia Lipnitskaya. Akiko Suzuki of Japan was fourth after finishing eighth at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, a month ago.

Edmunds, 15, had one early error that dropped her below some skaters she outperformed in Sochi, where she was ninth.

"My Lutz-toe isn't how I wanted it," she told reporters. "I'm happy with the rest of my program. I think I sold it well."

The Archbishop Mitty sophomore scored 60.59 points. She will need a big performance in her free skate to finish better than she did in Russia.

Gold, 18, scored a personal best 70.31 points but is one place lower than the Winter Olympics even though the top two skaters from Sochi are not competing in Japan.

Wagner scored 63.64 points as only about three points separate the five skaters ahead of Edmunds.

"It's been a long season and I'm exhausted," Wagner told reporters. "Mentally, it's tough to go out and compete after I've given all I could this season."

The top two U.S. skaters hope to have a combined finish of 13 or better to earn three places at next year's World Championships.

"There is also a lot of pressure for the United States to keep the three spots we already have," Wagner said. "It's one of those times where maybe I'm tired but I'm not going to be selfish. I'm thinking about everybody else who might be going to worlds next year."

Olympic bronze medalists Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany won their fifth world title in pairs skating. Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were the top Americans in 11th place.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.