MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (ASU) —Arkansas State sophomore Ethan Turpen led the Red Wolves to a 1-2-3 finish in the decathlon Saturday afternoon as the Sun Belt Conference Track & Field Championships continued at Dean A. Hayes Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University.
Turpen finished the afternoon with 6,682 points, A-State freshman William Oliver finished second, wrapping up the day with 6,508 points while junior Taylor Short came in third with 6,495 points.
Turpen was in fourth place with two events remaining, trailing South Alabama's Ashton Krause, Short and Oliver with only the javelin and the 1,500-meter run to go.
"The decathletes did a great job. They made no mistakes over the weekend," said ASU head coach Lon Badeaux. "That is what the decathlon is all about; you don't have to be the best in every event, just do what you do and don't make mistakes. They did a quality job and really came through for us."
Heading into the javelin, Krause led the field with 5,540 points, followed by Short at 5,467, Oliver at 5,437 and Turpen at 5,388. Turpen won the javelin with a throw of 178-02 to pick up 652 points and move into first place with a total of 6,040. Turpen led Krause in second place, Short in third and Oliver in fourth following the javelin, with just 97 points separating first and fourth place heading into the 1,500-meter run.
Turpen led the field for most of the 1,500-meters before being edged at the finish line by Louisiana-Lafayette's Chris Raburn, who won the race by 1/100 of a second, clocking in at 4:46.14 with Turpen finishing at 4:46.15. Oliver was third at 4:49.12 while Short came in fourth with a time of 5:04.87.
Turpen's 642 points for second place in the 1,500 was enough to secure the overall title. Krause finished fourth with 6,476 points.
In the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase, junior Bailey Bunyan ran a personal-record 9:16.75 to finish second, while senior Henry Ndichu also turned in a personal-record, running a 9:30.34 to finish seventh.
"The steeplechase was outstanding for us," said Badeaux. "We ran some people fresh while the others had runners in other races. Bailey Bunyan made a great move to be patient, then started picking them off in the end and ran probably 10 seconds faster than we thought he would run."
For the ASU women, sophomore Julia Agawu, who won the discus on Friday's opening day, finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 44-3.50. Agawu's throw was the fourth-longest in ASU history. Junior Kanesha Hicks finished sixth in the women's heptathlon, scoring 4,461 points.
In the women's high jump, freshman Jessica Otto jumped a personal-record 5-4.25 feet to finish fifth. Sophomore Lakeitha Minter also scored in the event for the Red Wolves, finishing eighth, clearing 5-2.25 feet.
In the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase, junior Chelsea Weaver shaved over 13 seconds off of her personal best, running an 11:01.54 to finish third.
Following Weaver's third-place finish in the steeplechase, the final race of the day, Arkansas State took over first place in the team standings heading into Sunday's final day. The Red Wolves are currently sitting at 53 points, Middle Tennessee is second with 52 and three-time defending champion Western Kentucky is in third place with 48 points.
"This is shaping up to be a two-horse race," said Badeaux. "We qualified everybody through, plus three people, and that that is what we needed to do. I think Western Kentucky is going to have to mess up a little bit for us to win, but we are going to score a bunch of points and have a lot of fun, for sure."
In the running event preliminaries, the following ASU athletes qualified for Sunday's finals:
For complete meet results, log on to the Sun Belt Conference website at www.sunbeltsports.org and follow the "Championships" link on the top of the page.
The 2011 Sun Belt Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships will wrap up Sunday, with events beginning at noon.