Saturday afternoon he won the men's 1500m at the Atlantic Sun Conference Championships in Jacksonville, Fla., at the University of North Florida.
His performance led the Lipscomb men to an all-time best fourth place team finish in the A-Sun meet, with a Lipscomb record 57 team points, more than double last year’s record number 25 points.
"The 1500m was a scary race," Lipscomb coach Bill Taylor said. "Ryan got trapped inside for the first two laps, and because the pace was moderate he just couldn't get out. Fortunately Isaiah Greer moved up on Ryan's outside and opened up a hole for him to get out. From there he immediately moved into the top three and with 600 meters left Ryan surged to the lead.
“He built a lead of maybe five meters, but just couldn't break the field. Coming down the homestretch the lead pack was closing hard and it honestly looked like Ryan might end up third or worse, but he found that extra something and held everyone off to win by less than a second.”
Chastain officially won the race by one-half of a second. Like so many athletes competing at the end of a long season he was dealing with an injury problem.
"We knew it was going to be tough for Ryan,” Taylor said. “Despite his amazing season, he had a mild hamstring pull recently and hadn't done any quality work and very little running for more than two weeks. He really gutted things out. That was an exciting race."
Two other men earned All A-Sun Conference honors for Lipscomb with top three finishes.
Burton Elrod finished third in the men's decathlon with 6,067 points. He set all-time personal bests in four events (100m, long jump, 400m and 1500m) and was near personal bests in the other six events. His score actually was under the previous A-Sun meet record for the decathlon.
Xavier Conley finished third in the men's long jump to earn All A-Sun honors. He also finished sixth in the men's 100m and anchored the 4x400m relay to a fourth place finish with a sub-50 split. The fourth place finish by the men's 4x400m relay team secured fourth place for the Lipscomb men's team and moved Lipscomb past cross town rival Belmont for the first time in A-Sun history.
Several Lipscomb athletes just missed earning All-Conference honors. Most notably, Ashton Fisher finished fourth by less than one-quarter of a second in the men's 3000m steeplechase. Other fourth place finishers were Adam Austin in the high jump, Alex Jerkins in the shot put and Austin Ray in the javelin.
"First, the toughness awards go to Amanda Twigg and Alex Jerkins who competed hard despite having severely sprained ankles,” Taylor said. “They both missed a lot of training time the past few weeks and gave all they had though it was obvious they were hurting.
“Also Meredith McFarlin, who took a tumble over a barrier in the third lap of the women's steeplechase while leading, earns a toughness award as well. She crashed hard, hit the curbing, lost a shoe, then got up and ran the rest of the steeplechase with only one spike on, and caught a girl down the homestretch to finish 8th and secure a point for the team. And finally, to Isaiah Greer who competed in the 1500m, the 800m, then wanted to do the 5000m as well, and was the second finisher for our team in that race.”
There were highs and lows for the teams, which is true of most track and field events.
"We had a day of ups and downs." Taylor said. "Although you always hope it will go as well as it possibly can, that's normal.
“We raised the bar another level as a program though, which is great. Some of our athletes really stepped up big. Every season we get better. It was a great year, and this sets us up for an even bigger year next year and beyond."
100m - Xavier Conley 6th 11.07
400m - Ryan Powell 14th 50.89, Mike Knox 15th 51.10, Steven Mason 16th 53.76
800m - Andrew Jones 8th 1:55.70, Isaiah Greer 13th 1:58.13, Cormac Carolan 14th 1:58.17, Paul Wright 17th 1:59.73, Jonathan Williams 23rd 2:08.24
1500m - Ryan Chastain 1st 3:54.53, Isaiah Greer 10th 4:00.93, Cormac Carolan 4:09.32
5000m - Ryan Chastain 6th 15:22.78, Isaiah Greer 12th 15:45.69, Jeff Musick 14th 15:53.43, Tim Muller 19th 16:10.46, Jared Carlson 20th 16:16.94
3000m Steeplechase - Ashton Fisher 4th 9:49.39, Ben Wright 7th 10:05.16, Jonathan Williams 10th 10:34.82, Mike Yang 11th 10:52.91
4x400m Relay - Mike Knox, Ryan Powell, Andrew Jones, Xavier Conley 4th 3:21.19
High Jump - Adam Austin 4th 1.93m
Pole Vault - Burton Elrod 11th 3.92m
Long Jump - Xavier Conley 3rd 6.81m
Triple Jump - Logan Ray 9th 13.49m
Shot Put - Alex Jerkins 4th 14.78m
Discus - Alex Jerkins 8th 38.85m
Javelin - Austin Ray 4th 52.11m, Alex Jerkins 11th 42.11m
Decathlon - Burton Elrod 3rd 6,067points