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By Joe Ginley '16, SID

GENEVA, Ohio -- Day 1 of the 2022 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships could not have gone much better for John Carroll Men's Track & Field.

As the hometown team at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, the Blue Streaks posted wonderful results on the opening day.

The Distance Duo made John Carroll history, as Alex Phillip and Jamie Dailey became the first ever Blue Streak duo to finish first and second at the NCAA Championships. And in the prelims, the Blue Streaks qualified just about everyone. 

To start, Mick DoyleGarrett ClarkMark Zahren, and Jimmy Kartsonas snagged a spot in the finals with a marvelous time in the 4x100 relay. Clark followed up the relay with a magnificent time in the 200m, another school record. And two of the Blue Streaks' Steeplechasers (Cormac Peppard-Kramer and Ethan Domitrovich) earned the opportunity to compete on Saturday. 

As a team, the Blue Streaks stand in second place after Day 1 with 18 points, all coming from Phillip and Dailey.

"Coming in, we knew we'd largely know our fate after Thursday. To be honest, it couldn't have gone much better," said Head Coach Kyle Basista. "At this level, it's not easy to execute. We did beyond what we thought we could." 

The Blue Streaks will now have Friday off to prepare for what could be a historic day on Saturday. 

The evening began on a very fortuitous note for the Blue Streaks in the 4x100. JCU's lone relay squad to qualify for the big dance put on a show, punching a ticket to finals on Saturday.

John Carroll entered with the 14th fastest time in the 4x100 relay prelims. Well, the Blue Streaks opened up some magic on Thursday. In the second heat, Mick DoyleGarrett ClarkMark Zahren, and Jimmy Kartsonas combined to make some history. The talented quartet combined for a school record time of 40.46.

Not only did the relay squad shave off 0.61 seconds off the seed time, but the Blue Streaks also finished second in their heat. And in doing so, the Blue Streaks clinched a spot in the finals on Saturday at 12:15 pm. 

Garrett Clark returned to the track for the 200m prelims. Clark entered the race with the 14th best time in the event out of 20 qualifiers. He walked away in the top six.

The Aurora native soared to a time of 20.96, cutting 0.28 seconds off his time. Not only did he set a new school record, but he also punched a ticket to the finals, finishing second in his heat. Clark finished behind only JP Vaught, who set an NCAA Championship record with a time of 20.64.

"The sprinters showed up big time," said Basista. "It's always a little bit nerve-wracking when you don't compete the week before like you're used to, but with two school records, you can't complain. That's a testament to their leadership and Coach Daniel Tutskey." 

The good times kept rolling in the 3000m Steeplechase. The first heat featured Ethan Domitrovich and Cormac Peppard-Kramer, who both killed it.

Peppard-Kramer tallied both second in his heat and second overall for the Blue Streaks. The Irishman roared for a time of 9:05.90 for a PR and an AQ to the finals. Ethan Domitrovich also punched his ticket to the finals with a mark of 9:06.58, third in the heat and third overall. 

In the second heat, Ian Pierson worked hard but couldn't clinch a spot in the finals alongside his teammates. The veteran tallied a time of 9:22.75, finishing 17th overall. 

"At this level, when you have three guys, it's difficult to advance all three," Basista said. "It was nice to see Ethan and Cormac step up. I know Ian doesn't advance, but he deserves a shoutout. I don't think those two are where they are without Ian and his leadership."

Jamie Dailey and Alex Phillip

The evening concluded with the 10,000m, as Alex Phillip and Jamie Dailey took the stage. The Distance Duo certainly shined bright.

Phillip came out of the gate hot, putting the pressure on much of the pack to keep up. One opposing runner did for a while, but soon fell behind. Meanwhile, Jamie Dailey fought with the secondary pack, first battling for command of it. 

Then with about 2400m to go, Dailey turned on the turbo boosters. The fifth-year runner hit a lap of 1:11.940 at 7600 and then a marvelous split of 1:10.371 at 8000. He maintained consistency at the 1:10-1:11 mark, until he turned on the jets in the final lap for a final split of 1:06.331. In the end, Dailey got the job done with a time of 30:05.03. His kick was truly remarkable. 

Phillip did not have a huge margin of victory with a final time of 30:02.53, but it was a gigantic national championship and 10 huge points nonetheless. Phillip is now one race closer to history as he continues his assault on the record books and status amongst one of the greatest in Division III history. 

"It's so difficult to do, this is the first time we've ever done this," Basista said of the 1-2 finish in the 10k. "It's not the way we drew it up but that's racing at this level. Credit to Alex because that wasn't easy. And credit to Jamie, he ran a gutsy race. We'll look back years from now and talk a lot about it. Crazy. Could not ask for a better Day 1."

John Carroll will not have anyone on Day 2, but Day 3 will be absolutely critical on Saturday. At 11:45 am, Cormac Peppard-Kramer and Ethan Domitrovich will compete in the Steeplechase. At 12:15 pm, Mick DoyleGarrett ClarkMark Zahren, and Jimmy Kartsonas will be in 4x100 Relay. At 2:50 pm, Garrett Clark will race in the 200m. And at 3:25 pm, Jamie Dailey and Alex Phillip will cap things off in the 5k.

The Blue Streaks will certainly have a shot at making history. The aim is to win the second-ever National Championship in John Carroll Athletics history, and the goal is well within reach.

"If we can get anywhere close to what we did today performance-wise, we'll be in a good spot," said Basista. "We'll rest up tomorrow, not having any events is a good thing. We'll see how Saturday goes."