May 31, 2001

EUGENE, Ore. - Senior Justin Conkling used a strong first event of the second day to finish fifth in the decathlon with a career-best 7,537 points to lead OU at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships Thursday. Santiago Lorenzo of Oregon jumped from second to first to win the national title in action at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

Conkling, a senior from Weatherford, Okla., became OU's first All-American in the decathlon since Andrew Pettes in 1972. Conkling's score was the second highest in school history.

The Sooner men are tied for 17th in the team race with Oregon in first while the OU women are tied for 12th with UCLA in first place.

In the only other final involving OU today, Bambi Carson finished 13th in the shot put with a 51-2.75. She hit that distance on her first throw of the competition and did not advance to the final round of nine. Carson, a senior from Marlow, Okla., earned All-America honors on Wednesday with her fourth-place finish in the discus.

Conkling had the second best time in the first event of the second day, running a 14.46 in the 110-meter hurdles to score 916 points. His throw of 127-4 in the discus produced 641 points. He added 790 points with a 15-1 jump in the pole vault, 634 points with a 174-0 in the javelin and 679 points with a 4:40.21 in the 1500.

His hurdle, discus, javelin and 1500-meter run marks were better than those he posted in April when he won the Mt. Sac Relays decathlon title. His pole vault and 1500-meter marks were better than when he finished second in the Big 12 just two weeks ago.

His time in the 110-meter high hurdles was a season best (non-wind aided) time and his 1500-meter time was a season best as well.

In other OU action today, Tulsa senior Alesha Peel advanced to the semifinals of the 100-meter hurdles. She finished third in her heat with a season-best (non wind-aided) time of 13.27. The top three in each of three heats and the next seven times advanced to Friday's semifinal. Peel had the 11th fastest time overall in today's trials.

The men's 1600-meter relay (Raoul Harvey, Ernest Lewis, Aldwyn Sappleton, LaBoris Bean) finished third in its heat and fifth overall with a season-best 3:03.29. OU qualified for the final on Saturday as the top two in each heat and the next four fastest times advanced.

Freshman Leslie Dunlap will be the final Sooner to start competition when she hits the runway for the women's pole vault final on Friday. Action begins in that event at 7 p.m. (Central time). Bean will compete in the 400-meter intermediate hurdle final Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Central time). Peel will continue her competition with the 100-meter hurdle semifinal at 8:25 p.m. (Central time).

The finals for the women's 100-meter hurdles and the men's 1600-meter relay are scheduled for Saturday.