May 17, 2001

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- OU senior Justin Conkling finished the first day of the decathlon competition in third place, trailing the leader Olavi Paavo of Texas Tech by 117 points and Knut Sommerfeldt of Missouri by 30 points.

Conkling won the Big 12 indoor heptathlon title and earlier this season won the Mt. Sac Relays decathlon title.

Conkling had season bests in the high jump and 400-meter dash, scoring more points in those events than when he won the Mt.Sac title. His 100-meter dash time was just under what he posted at Mt. Sac and his long jump and shot put efforts were behind what he had at Mt. Sac. However, his first-day total was five points better than his first-day effort at Mt. Sac. Additionally, two of his better events are in the second day of the competition.

Conklin and Sommerfeldt were the conference leaders in the decathlon entering the championship with both posting NCAA provisional totals of 7,367. Paavo was ranked fourth in the league entering the championship.

The decathlon and women's heptathlon (led by Austra Skujyte of Kansas State) will conclude on Thursday. Finals in the men's and women's hammer and the men's and women's 10,000-meter run also are scheduled for Thursday. Action continues on Friday with running event prelims and field event finals with running event finals and the rest of the field event finals scheduled for Saturday