Comets Head into League Finals with High Hopes

The James Lick Cross Country Team finished their regular season with a solid day of work at Montgomery hill. The Varsity boys are 6-1, and in 2nd place as they head into league finals on November 2nd. The Varsity girls are 2-5, in 6th place as they await the BVAL finals run over the historic Crystal Springs Cross Country course.BVAL finals is run with the ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ divisions all racing in one race, showing where each teams belong.

Highlights of the last meet include the fact that the Varsity boys team was able to run a team time of 1:24:20, the first team to run under 1:25 at Montgomery hill since the team of 2004. This is without the services of normal number 3 runner, Gustavo Aguilera. The team was spearheaded by Nathan Bernardo, who ran 16:10, the 4th fastest time for a James Lick runner at Montgomery Hill in school history. Other strong PRS on the boys side were Hector Ramirez, 16:32, Inteus Castro-Lopez, 17:00, Azael Zamora, 17:19, and Guillermo Villalobos in 17:39. The Varisty Boys have been aiming all season long for a top 10 finish at BVAL finals which would grant them a CCS berth.

On the girls side, the team was unable to match their performance from the week before, though the team of  Maria Mendoza, Andrea Ortiz, Elizabeth Guevara, Gabriela Aguilar, Jennifer Custodio and Daisy Nava became the first JL girls team ever to have 6 girls under 23 minutes in one race with Daisy coming across the line in a huge pr of 22:57. The girls are aiming for a 12th place finish at BVAL finals which would likely grant them a place in CCS Finals.

The Frosh/Soph boys team has been incomplete for several meets, but Erik Olsvold and Austin Swank ran big PRS of 18:18 and 20:34 respectively. Erik as a freshmen has a very bright outlook for the future.

The JV girls have been a source of strength for the team all season long, and though they are only 4-3, at the last race they were the best JV team in the entire STAL. Julia Cruz lead the group in 23:11, 2nd place overall. Evilly Garcia and freshmen Carla Manzanares were next in 24:34 and 24:39, giving the JV girls 3 girls under 25 minutes. A feat which only 3 years ago the Varisty girls could hardly accomplish. Jocelyn Aguirre was 4th in 25:00 exactly. Analilia Regla, Susie Peterson, and Christine Young finished off the team in 26:48, 26:49 and 26:50. The JV Girls are poised to finish in the top 8 teams in the entire BVAL at league finals.

The reserve teams had strong performances in particular from Ryan Puzon, who brome 20 minutes for the course as the team’s number 2 runner. The reserve team is in a position to aim for a top half finish at league finals.

When the populations of each CCS school were done for the 2015-2016 school year, they revealed that James Lick is the 2nd smallest school in the 24 team BVAL. 6 of the league’s schools have more than twice as many students to draw from. As a result, anything better than a second to last finish for the team is a testament to the Comets ability to rise above their circumstances, and outperform expectations. The James Lick Cross Country team will look to demonstrate that exact strength at league finals 11/2/15.

JLXC Takes Step Forward at Penultimate League Meet


The Comets participated in their 3rd league meet of the season on Thursday October 15th. It was the 2nd league meet of the year which was held at Montgomery Hill, and even though it was only a week after the initial Montgomery meet, the race yielded many PRs for the team.

The Frosh/Soph Boys team, which has been missing many of it’s members, nonetheless had 3 PRS for the 3 boys that run. Erik Olsvold and Jesus Deloya crossed the line in 18:38 and 18:40, strong Frosh/Soph times. Austin Swank was the last racer for the team and ran 21:08, a 0:57 second PR.

The Varsity Girls were the team that took the biggest leap forward of the day. Maria Mendoza lead the group in 20:31, nearly a full minute PR and the 4th best time in school history for the course. Andrea Ortiz and Elizabeth Guevara were next in 22:03 and 22:14. Jennifer Custodio and Gabriela Aguilar finished off the scoring in 22:30 and 22:40. Daisy Nava fought though a rough day to run 23:59. This gives the team a combined team time of 1:49:58, a substantial improvement from the 1:53:53 of the previous week. The team will look to take their time down another minute or two at the final league meet next Thursday, and remain hopeful that Arlet Miranda will return to help the team at league finals, though  return to racing by next week seems unlikely.

The Varsity Boys had a mixed day, but nonetheless, beat Prospect to move to 5-1 on the season. This was the first time JL had defeated Prospect in an XC or Track dual meet in years. Nathan Bernardo had an off day but still ran 16:26 just 2 seconds off his PR. Hector Ramirez, recovered from a minor hamstring injury ran 16:42 for 9th place overall, over a minute PR. Gustavo Aguilera ran 17:12 as the 3rd boy, an off day for him as well. Inteus Castro-Lopez battled sickness to run a solid 17:35 as the 4th boy, and Azael Zamora ran a small PR as the 5th: 17:41. Jesse Chircop and Gustavo Parra finished in 17:43 and 17:54 to complete the team. This gave the comets a team time of 1:25:38, the best team time since 2004. A better team time than the 2009, and 2010 teams managed at Montgomery (both teams were successful in making CCS). The team is aiming for a myriad of PRS to lead the team to a team tim ender 1:24:00 in their final league race next week.

The Reserve Boys were again lead by Guillermo Villalobos in a solid PR of 18:42. Miguel Chavez and Ryan Puzon ran 20:10 and 20:15 respectively, while Kelvin Arenas was the 4th boy in 20:45. This gives the team 4 reserve boys under 21 compared to only 1 last week. Ivan Morales completed the team in 23:19, and will look for a better time next week.

The JV and reserve girls had a very strong showing. Julia Cruz was 3rd place overall in 23:10. Evilly Garcia ran 25:22 as the 2nd girl, and Carla Manzanares made her official debut in a strong 25:28. Analilia Regla and Jocelyn Aguirre wrapped up the scoring in 26:18 and 26:20. This was a full minute PR for Analilia. The JV team was completed by Christine Young and Susie Peterson in 27:23 and 27:34. Alonico Urango ran 27:41 to lead the reserve girls, and Elizabeth Perez ran 30:00 exactly as the 2nd. She will naturally look to break 30 minutes for the first time next week. Diana Romero finished the comets day in 31:51, nearly a 2 minute PR for the course.

The Team is looking to make a statement in their final league meet of the season against Independence. Anyone interested in watching the team can see them compete on Thursday 10/22 at 3:30 at Montgomery Hill.

As always the schools ALL TIME lists can be viewed under “Cross Country History”  ^

Results and Youtube Video ca be found Under Links ^

Breakthroughs for Multiple Comets at Crystal Springs Invitational

Hector Ramirez and Nathan Bernardo on the starting line
Hector Ramirez and Nathan Bernardo on the starting line

21 members of the James Lick Cross Country team headed to Crystal Springs last Saturday to run the most storied course in CCS history. Crystal Springs in the course the team will run at league finals in a few weeks so it was critical for the new members of the team to learn the course. The day yielded many PRs and season best performances for the team.

The day was kicked off by the JV boys. They ran a team time of 1:42:56, the 2nd best JV team time at Crystal Springs of the past decade. Guillermo Villalobos lead the group in a strong time of 19:17. Guillermo only returned from injury a week ago and in that time has gone from being 2:08 seconds back from the team’s 5th fastest runner, to now being only 0:27 seconds back of the team’s 5th fastest runner. Guillermo may work his way onto the varsity team in the 3 weeks before league finals. Jesus Deloya had a solid race as well, running 19:47 a 0:50 second pr for the course. Ismael Avilla made his debut for the team and was next across the line in 21:19. He was followed closely by teammates Austin Swank and Kelvin Arenas in 21:20 and 21:21.

The next group up was the Varsity girls, who despite the absence of the 3 of their 7 original variety members, put up one of the best team times in school history: 1:56:11. Maria Mendoza lead the group in 21:26, the best race of her high school career and the 8th fastest time in school history. Jennifer Custodio was the next girl in, also having the best race of her career in 23:07. This was the first time Jenny has broken 8 minute mile pace. Andrea Ortiz was next in 23:43, an off race for her but a solid time. Daisy Nava came across 4th in 23:50, her most impressive race over a long distance all season. Julia Cruz ran a PR of 24:05 as the 5th girl, and Raquel Rodriguez battled a knee injury to finish in a respectable 25:06.

The girls team will need to take big steps forward to be fast enough to reach their goal of making CCS this year. The team time of 1:56:11 is solid, but the team will likely need a time in the lower 1:50s to make it. With two Montgomery hill races left, the team will look to run a combined team time in the range of 1:47-1:48 at Montgomery to show they are capable of a 1:52 team time at Crystal Springs. While Montgomery is a notoriously difficult course, it’s shorter distance of 2.73 miles, usually means times at Crystal springs (2.95 miles) are 45 seconds to a minute slower. Maria, Jennifer, Daisy, and Julia however ran either very close to their seasons best at Montgomery, or ran solidly faster at Crystal Springs. This shows the team as a whole is ready to far surpass the 1:53:30 team time they ran at their first Montgomery Hill meet of the season. The breakthroughs of runners like Jenny, Maria and Daisy, along with the imminent return of Arlet Miranda by league finals give the team hope towards achieving their goals.

The Varsity boys had a solid performance overall, and are continuing to succeed in their pursuit of moving the program forward. No James Lick team since 2003 had run a team time faster than 90 minutes at Crystal Springs. This  team managed to change that, with a combined team time of 1:29:53. This encouraging performance helps the comets look ahead to their league finals goal, 1:27:30, with optimism. This has beens the teams goal, (with the hope that such a time would net them not only  CCS berth, but a top 10 placing at league finals) since early june, and the team is well on their way to achieving it.  Nathan Bernardo lead the group with a time of 17:03, a 46 second pr. Hector Ramirez was still dealing with the hamstring tightness which curtailed his performance at the first Montgomery hill meet of the season, but nonetheless ran a strong time of 17:40, a full 1:13 pr. Inters Castro-Lopez ran 17:58, giving the team 3 runners under 18 on the course for the first time since 2003. Gustavo Aguilera ran 18:20, and Gustavo Parra 18:50 to complete the team. Azalea Zamora and Jesse Chircop were the 6 and 7 at 18:53 and 19:15 respectively.

In order to achieve what they desire, a team time under 88 minutes, the team will need to run  combined 2 minute faster between now and league finals. Nathan will strive to get the team an additional 15 seconds of cushion, with his goal being breaking 17 minutes at league finals. A fully healthy Hector, should able to perform 30 seconds better for a low 17. Inteus will look to dig another 15-20 second out by finals for a mid 17, while Gustavo Aguilera will try to match that time. The key to the team is their 5th runner. Either Azael, Gustavo P, Jesse, or perhaps even Guillermo will need to find a way to run at the least, a low 18 at finals to help the team towards their goal.  A Team time over the next 2 weeks at Montgomery hill in the range of 83 minutes would indicate the team is capable of their league finals goal.

The final group to run was a 3 member contingent of JV girls. Analilia Regla ran a solid 27:32 to lead the group. Christine Young followed in a he PR, 27:46. Christine’s previous best was over 30 minutes. Elizabeth Perez narrowly missed breaking 30 minutes, running 30:09, a nearly 2 minute PR for her as well.

With only 3 weeks left in the regular season, the Comets are in top gear working towards peeking at league finals and giving the school something to be proud of.

Comets Enjoy Run at Historic Artichoke Invitational

The team at the beach following the Artichoke Invitational
The team at the beach following the Artichoke Invitational

On Saturday October 3rd, JLXC took to their favorite invitational, the Historic Artichoke meet in Half Moon Bay. The meet has typically yielded fast paces, as it is only 2.33 miles long, shorter than the normal racing distance for the team. The team’s individual results were mixed overall, but a step forward for the team as a whole.

The day was kicked off by Vincent Giglio placing 6th in the freshmen race with a strong time of 14:07. This is the fastest time by any JL freshmen in many years. Next up was the Frosh/Soph Girls race, where each member of the team ran the fastest pace of their career to this point. Susie Peterson, Christine Young, and Elizabeth Perez improved a combined 2 minutes from last years race.

The Frosh/Soph Boys race saw medal worthy performances from Inters Castro-Lopez and Azael Zamora, finishing in 14:00 and 14:18 respectively. Jesus Deloya ran 15:18, nearly a minute PR.They were followed by the reserve boys, where Ryan Puzon and Ivan Morales both broke 8 minute pace for the first time this season.

The team’s strongest performance of the day was the Varsity Girls race, where despite the absence of top runner Arlet Miranda, the team ran the 3rd best team time in school history. Maria Mendoza has been more committed to XC this year than ever before, and the results were evident in her time of 16:42, 1:13 faster than her time last year. The core of the girls team once again demonstrated their ability to pack closely. Elizabeth Guevara, Gabriela Aguilar, Andrea Ortiz and Daisy Nava, finished the team’s scoring with Elie leading the group in 18:09, and Daisy closing it out in 18:23. Jennifer Custodio and Julia Cruz showed the JV depth running 19:10 and 19:13.

The Varsity boys closed out the day with the strongest performance in many years, but times that they are not fully satisfied with. Nathan Bernardo ran 13:12 to lead the group and medal. Nobody from James Lick had run under 13:20 in over a decade. Hector Ramirez followed him in 13:46. Gustavo Aguilera came across in 14:02, and Gustavo Parra was next in 14:38. Kelvin Arenas broke 7 min pace for the first time in his career to finish the team’s scoring,helping the team to  place 6th in the race. Guillermo Villalobos made his return from injury and ran sub 7 pace as well.

The Comets look to next Wednesday when they will take to Montgomery Hill for the first time this season in STAL # 2. The team has been anticipating this day for months, and will look to put together a performance indicative of the team’s desire to take the program to new heights.