May 17, 2001

COLLEGE STATION, Texas - OU senior Justin Conkling won the 1500 for the first time in his career and established four career bests to finish second in the Big 12 decathlon, OU's best finish in the multi-event since 1972.

Knut Sommerfeldt of Missouri used a strong performance in the javelin to take the title. Texas Tech's Olavi Paaco, the first day leader, finished third.

Conkling breezed to a victory in the final event, the 1500-meter run, winning by nearly 10 seconds. It marked the first time in his career for Conkling to win the final event in the two-day competition.

He established career bests in the javelin with a 182-4 and in the discus throw with a 127-11. His final point total, 7474, is also a career best and ranks second all-time on the OU career list. His fourth career best came in the first event of today's competition, the 110-meter high hurdles.

"If someone had told me when the season started that I was going to win the Big 12 Indoor and finish second in the conference decathlon, I don't know that I would have believed them," Conkling said. "We (Conkling and co-head coach Jill Lancaster) had a plan and the plan worked. I kept thinking I needed to do more and she kept reminding me of our plan. Then, when I finish, I have 100 more points than my career best. The PRs just kept coming and that 1500 was the easiest I have ever run.

"Now, it's time to recuperate, do cold whirlpools and cheer on my teammates as I get ready for the NCAA Outdoor Championships."

The NCAA Outdoor Championships are scheduled for May 30-June 2 in Eugene, Ore.

Conkling, who won the 2001 Big 12 Indoor title in the heptathlon and won the decathlon title at the Mt. Sac Relays earlier this spring, improved his NCAA provisional qualifying score by more than 100 points. His total jumps him from a tie for 11th to eighth in the NCAA ranking list. It also moved the Weatherford, Okla., senior up the U.S. men's list from 10th to ninth. The U.S. men's list includes all competitors regardless of affiliation.

Action continues in the conference championship 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

Athlete Name Points 110HHDTPVJT1500
1 Sommerfeldt, Knut 753115.32 42.56m 4.50m 65.00m 4:57.89
Missouri w: 5.1139'07.00 14'09.00213'03.00
Team pts: 10 (811) (717) (760) (813) (572)
2 Conkling, Justin747414.32 38.98m 4.50m 55.58m 4:47.21
Oklahoma w: 3.9127'11.00 14'09.00182'04.00
Team pts: 8 (934) (644) (760) (672) (636)
3 Paavo, Olavi726315.53 43.66m 4.70m 54.04m 5:46.07
Texas Tech w: 5.1143'03.00 15'05.00177'03.00
Team pts: 6 (787) (739) (819) (649) (324)
4 Boone, Jake724815.06 42.78m 4.70m 55.92m 4:55.30
Texas A&M w: 5.1140'04.00 15'05.00183'05.00
Team pts: 5 (842) (721) (819) (677) (587)
5 Bloom, John 710915.94 37.06m 4.70m 60.50m 5:05.31
Texas A&M w: 3.9121'07.00 15'05.00198'06.00
Team pts: 4 (740) (605) (819) (745) (530)
6 Matthews, Jason 597916.21 39.28m 4.80m 64.14m 5:22.90
Texas A&M w: 5.1128'10.00 15'09.00210'05.00
Team pts: 3 (709) (650) (849) (800) (435)
7 Thom, Casey 684616.16 41.02m 4.00m 54.38m 4:56.49
Nebraska w: 5.1134'07.00 13'01.50178'05.00
Team pts: 2 (715) (685) (617) (654) (580)
8 Pyle, Pat 677815.11 33.44m 4.00m 42.02m 4:57.33
Kansas Statew: 4.0109'08.00 13'01.50137'10.00
Team pts: 1 (836) (533) (617) (471) (575)
9 Dacunha, Jeff638515.69 37.28m 3.50m 45.74m 4:57.26
Baylor BU w: 5.1122'04.00 11'05.75150'01.00
(768) (609) (482) (526) (576)
10 McQueen, Ryan14.99 31.28m 3.60m 44.48m 5:22.72
Texas w: 5.1102'07.00 11'09.75145'11.00
(851) (490) (509) (507) (436)
11 Strindeberg, Espen #299 15.48 35.16m 4.40m 51.72m 5:02.79
Missouriw: 4.0115'04.00 14'05.25169'08.00
(792) (567) (731) (614) (544)