Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational

Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational
Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational


The Comets took to the highly competitive Stanford Invitational on Saturday, September 26th to compete against some of the best runners in the State. Only Varsity teams compete at the prestigious invite. The team was looking to use the fast 5k race over the flat Stanford Golf Course,as a means of preparing themselves for fast paced races down the road. The end result was nearly every Comet runner, running the fastest mile pace of their career for a Cross Country race of any distance.

The Boys Varsity team once again demonstrated their dramatic improvement, running over 6 minutes faster as a team than they did last year at the same meet. The best performance was from team captain Hector Ramirez who ran 17:35. Hector had only ever once run under 6 minute mile pace for an official Cross Country race, and that was at his first league meet of the season where he clocked 5:59 pace. At Stanford however, Hector ran 5:40 pace for 5k distance. He was closely followed by Nathan Bernardo who ran 17:39, 5:42 mile pace. Inteus Castro-Lopez was the 3rd boy in, at 18:11, with a mile pace of 5:52. This gives the Comets 3 boys much faster than last year’s best runner at Stanford, when Karan Singh lead the team in 18:33. Gustavo Aguilera and Azael Zamora completed the team’s scorers, in 18:45 and 18:58 respectively. Gustavo Parra took a big step forward in his recovery, running 19:05, for a mile pace of 6:09. He had never before run under 6:30 pace. Jesse Chircop finished the team’s day by running 19:20 as the 7th man. This is after last year’s 3rd best runner was Hector in 19:19.

On the girl’s side, Arlet Miranda lead the group in 23:37 treating the race as a tempo run, she nonetheless earned the 5th spot in the school’s all time list for the Stanford invite. Andrea Ortiz was next in 24:23, running under 24 minutes for 3 miles for the first time en route. Raquel Rodriguez ran 24:50, 8:01 pace after never having run under 8:30 pace before. Daisy Nava finished the teams day in a solid 25:12, 8:08 pace, compared to her previous best pace of 8:17.

The team looks ahead to the Watermelon run next week, and the Artichoke Invitational in Half Moon Bay next Saturday where even faster paces are sure to come.

Varsity Boys off to 4-0 start to season

The FS team moments before the start of their race.
The FS team moments before the start of their race.

The James Lick Cross Country Team kicked off their scoring season with the STAL #1 at Alum Rock Park. The 2.85 mile course, which has been run on and off since 1991 covers parts of creek trail, and all of the North Rim Trail for a fast course. The team was facing 4 other teams in the STAL: Branham, Oak Grove, Leigh, and Sobrato. After spending last year in the WVAL (‘C’ League) the team was eager to get off on the right foot to show they belonged in the more competitive STAL (‘B’ League).

The Frosh/Soph Race got things started with a few fantastic individual performances. Freshmen Vincent Giglio, and Erik Olsvold placed 2nd and 3rd overall, in 18:10 and 18:14, faster than any freshmen in the race. The Alum Rock Course, wasn’t used at all from 2001-2007, but has been run at least every other year since 2008. In that time, no freshmen from James Lick has run faster than Vincent or Erik did, and this is just after the first race. Sophomore and FS team captain Jesus Deloya had a rough race due to injury, but still finished 10th overall in 19:19, a league race PR. It was not until 21:14 had elapsed that Austin Swank finished as the team’s 4th runner, (32nd overall) while Rene Bravo finished the team’s scoring at 22:05 in 42nd place. Isaak Herrera ran 22:55 and Juan Carlos-Rios in his first big school race, ran 26:28. The Frosh/Soph Boys beat Sobrato, 20-36 as well as Oak Grove 21-40. Their two losses were heartbreaking close as they fell to Leaigh 28-29 and Branham 28-28 with branham winning by merit of tiebreaker (which 6th runner was faster). They start their season 2-2 overall.

The Varsity girls were next on the ledger. The team knew it was going to be tough to compete in the STAL with only one returning member from last year’s WVAL championship team, and 5/7 girls never having run high school XC before. Nonetheless the team packed better than any other team in the league, with less than a 2 minute gap between the 1st and 5th runners. Freshmen Arlet Miranda lead the girls in 21st place, with a strong time of 21:55. Maria Mendoza was 24th in 22:06, while Andrea Ortiz ran 22:31 for 27th, a very strong performance for an athlete whose primary strength is sprints/hurdles. Elizabeth Guevara ran 22:55 for 3oth and Gabriela Aguilar ran 23:31 for 34th. Daisy Nava and Raquel Rodriguez ran 24:22 and 24:44 respectively to compete the team. Thanks to their strong packing, the team was able to get wins over Leigh and Oak Grove, 25-32 and 19-44. They were beaten handily however by strong Branham and Sobrato teams. Overall it was a very strong performance for an inexperienced girls team, with the fastest combined team time (1:52:57) at the opening league race of a season in school history.

The strongest performance of the day, was unsurprisingly from the group that has been the most motivated, the Varsity Boys. In recent years The Varisty Boys have struggled with inconsistency and underperformance, as well as a deficit in the raw talent which made the team successful for most of it’s history. The group of boys this year, lead by Captain Hector Ramirez, set their sights on changing that this year, by working hard through the summer with the goal of making CCS and proving they could be competitive in the B league.

The team did just that, despite underperformance by several boys. Nathan Bernardo placed 5th overall in a great season opening time of 16:33. Hector Ramirez placed 9th in 17:02, while this is a 48 second league race PR for Hector, we are convinced he is already capable of faster. Inteus Castro-Lopez placed 16th in 17:28, Gustavo Aguilera had a rough race but placed 18th in 17:37, and Azael Zamora was the 5th guy in 17:55 and 21st place overall. Jesse Chircop ran a huge PR of 18:15 and Gustavo Parra continues to progress towards full fitness with a  time of 18:38. A far cry from last year’s first league race where Nathan was the 1st JL boy in 18:04.  The team beat all 4 teams they faced, the closest dual being a 23-32 victory over Leigh. Had all 8 teams raced each other today, they only would have lost to Pioneer, setting the stage for a very good season for the team.

The JV girls finished off the scoring races with a 2-2 record like their Varsity counterparts, beating the same teams, Oak Grove and Branham, again. They were lead by Jennifer Custodio, who ran a strong JV time of 24:37 for 12th place. Evalilia Garcia ran 25:05 for 17th, and Jocelyn Aguirre ran 25:59 for 21st. This was a strong trio for the team without Julia Cruz who is expected to be a key contributor. Analilia Regla finished 28th with a  time of 27:38, and Christine Young ran 27:59 for by far the best race of her high school career. Denisse Calixto ran a solid JV time of 28:08 and Susie Peterson finished in 30:03 to cap off the team. Diana Romero   ran 32:04 in the reserve race.

The Boys Reserve was spearheaded by Miguel Chavez in 22:07, Joseph Benitez was next in a strong starting time of 22:27. Thomas Estrada was next in 23:05, then Ryan Puzon and Ivan Adan-Ramirez came in together at 23:20 and 23:21. Ivan Morales clocked in a 23:42 and Manuel Urango finished the team’s day in 30:51.

Overall it was a great race for the team, every division showed they belong in the STAL and will work to be a force going forward. The Comets will race at the DelaSalle Invitational Saturday, and the Stanford Invitational the Saturday after that. Stay tuned for more Comet News.

Comets Open Season at Earlybird Invitational


20 members of the James Lick Cross Country Team took to Toro Park in Salinas California to compete in the Earlybird Invitational. It was a strong showing for the team, with both teams placing in the top 30 teams at the massive meet.

The Meet was kicked off by Freshmen Arlet Miranda in the freshmen girls place. Arlen ran a solid 23:04, as she works her way back from injury showing she is ready to run strong at next weeks league meet. The boys side saw a standout performance from Vincent Giglio. Vincent ran 18:49, becoming the first freshmen in JL history to break 19 at the earlybird invitational in over ten years of attending the meet.

The sophomore race had Analilia Regla running 27:51, Susie Peterson running 28:18 and Diana Romero and Elizabeth Perez coming in together at 33:19. This was the XC debut for both Analilia and Diana with both runners competing hard.

The sophomore boys race further illustrated the strength of the comets youth. Inters Castro-Lopez ran 18:37, Azael Zamora ran 18:57, Jesus Deloya finished in 19:31 and Austin Swank crossed the line in 21:51. Austin has made tremendous strides since he started running XC. As a freshmen he failed to break 22 minutes for a league race course. With this Toro Park time, he is poised to try to break 20 minutes for a league race this season.

Juniors Daisy Nava, 25:18, Julia Cruz, 26:47 and Jennifer Custodio, 26:52 were next. Daisy is improving fast from her 30:03 NR time trial barely a month ago. Julia and Jennifer both add depth to the team from the JV side with their performances.

Nathan Bernardo ran 17:53 in the juniors race, becoming the first JL runner to run under 18 at earlybird since 2006 when Reyes Morones ran 17:44. Teammate Gustavo Aguilera ran 19:09 more than a 40 second PR in what was a very rough day for him. Gustavo Parra had a similar performance, running 19:55 for a PR as he continues to get himself in shape following an injury which had him miss 6 weeks of training.

Maria Mendoza ran in place of teammate Elizabeth Guevara in the senior race, clocking a good time of 22:56. Andrea Ortiz ran 24:49, the fastest pace of her young XC career despite the relatively challenging nature of the Toro Park course.

Senior and Team Captain Hector Ramirez ran 18:12, compared to the 19:28 time he ran as a junior. Jesse Chircop ended the team’s day with a very strong 19:04, the fastest time he’s ever run for any course 2.7 miles or longer.

Many of the Comets, particularly on the boys side felt that they underperformed, but even so, this team ran the best JL team time at Toro Park since 2004 (1:32:38). The girls ran a solid 2:02:57. Both teams are in a position to be competitive this year in the STAL and will put themselves to the test next Thursday in Alum Rock Park

Comets Enjoy Best Alumni Race Performance in Years


The James Lick Comets took to Alum Rock Park on September 4th to contest the annual alumni race once again. This year’s showing on the boys side in particular, was outstanding. The core group of athletes who have been in the program for over a year, and logged hundreds of miles in preparation this summer, produced team times which have not been run for years.

Not since 2010 (the last year the Comet boys made CCS as a team) had a pair of Comets run under 14 minutes with a duo of boys clocking 13:48 each. This year however, Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez ran 13:25 and 13:27, with Gustavo Aguilera running 13:50 to make them the strongest trio in many years. I’ve been proud to see growth in each of my 3 years of coaching, from 2 runners breaking the 15 minute barrier in 2013. That number doubled to 4 in 2014, and has doubled again to 8 in 2015. The 3 veterans under 14, were followed by Inteus Castro-Lopez in 14:16, Azael Zamora, 14:28, Jesus Deloya, 14:48, Jesse Chircop and Freshmen Vincent Giglio in 14:52, and Gustavo Parra in 14:58. Freshmen Erik Olsvold also narrowly missed the barrier, in 15:01.

All summer long the Varsity boys group, lead by Hector Ramirez has been working hard toward the goal of leaping the school forward into the top 10 of the BVAL at league finals (The top 12 teams make CCS, last years team finished 15th). The 2014 varsity boys ran the best league finals team time of any James Lick Team since 2004, and that was with an Alumni race top 5 far weaker than this years

2014                                                  2015

  1. Karan Singh 14:12                     1. Nathan Bernardo 13:25
  2. Nathan  Bernardo 14:19          2. Hector Ramirez 13:27
  3. Cesar Azevedo 14:37                3. Gustavo Aguilera 13:50
  4. Hector Ramirez 14:45             4. Inteus Castro-Lopez 14:16
  5. Gustavo Aguilera 15:24          5. Azael Zamora 14:28

Seniors Miguel Chavez, and Kelvin Arenas were next in 16:40 and 16:50, providing a good foundation for the reserve team. Sophomores Rene Bravo, Isaak Herrera, and Austin Swank were the next boys to finish with times of 17:02, 17:13, and 17:45 giving the Frosh/Soph Boys an exciting start to the season. Last year’s team did well to finish 12th at league finals out of the 24 teams in the BVAL. That team’s top 3 runners at the alumni race ran 15:49, 16:00 and 19:30. The leading boys this year, Jesus, Vincent, and Erik are substantially stronger.

The first girl to finish was freshmen Arlet Miranda in a very strong 17:35. She was followed by teammates: Fellow freshmen Raquel Rodriguez 19:08, Elizabeth Guevara, 19:12, while Daisy Nava, Andrea Ortiz and Gabriela Aguilar packed together to run 19:43. This marks the first Alumni race in school history in which all 7 Varsity girls finished under 20 minutes. While they lack the raw firepower of last year’s league championship team, from which only 2 runners remain on the team, the girls will be looking to be competitive through race-packing and depth.

Ivan Morales, a reserve veteran ran a solid 20:11, with another reserve boy, Ryan Puzon close behind in 21:00. Jocelyn Aguirre, 20:55, and Jennifer Custodio 21:00 lead a strong JV girls contingent, with Analilia Regla running 21:56 not far behind. Manuel Urango ran 21:54, and Juan Carlos-Rios ran 23:53, though he suffered a fall during the race and was helped by teammates to the finish line.

Susie Peterson and Denisse Calixto paced together to run 24:31, while Christine Young and Elizabeth Perez did the same finishing in 24:37 and 24:38.Over a 3 minute PR from last year’s times for both girls.  Diana Romero finished in 26:34 a strong performance, better than many of the JV girls of last year’s team.

The Alumni Race was a fantastic dress rehearsal for the team’s first league race next Thursday, where they will compete against Sobrato and Leigh. The course will be similar to the Alumni, and with the performances demonstrated by the team, especially the Varsity Boys, hopes are high to indeed push the Comets forward this year.

Revisions to the Team’s All time Lists and Best Times Under Coach Reeves list will be made shortly. All records can be viewed under Cross Country History .