The Bears' 2V8 placed second in its repechage in a close race to earn a spot in the A/B semifinals. (source)
This is a line from a Brown University sports team about a race. The Oxford Dictionaries, however, suggests that this sense requires the verb be used in the passive and that this is a British English usage.
(be placed) British
Achieve a specified position in a race.
‘he was placed eleventh in the long individual race’
M-W is very vague in this regard, including only this definition: "to earn a given spot in a competition, specifically : to come in second (as in a horse race)" This actually is also included in the ODO, but is apparently a different usage. (E.g. ‘he won three times and placed three times’)
So should it be
He placed second in the race
He was placed second in the race
Is this a BrE usage? Do Americans also say this? Is the difference between the passive and the active forms a BrE/AmE difference?