JLXC 2015 Season Summary

The 2015 Cross Country season was another step forward for the team. Following their girls league championship season in 2014, the team as a whole was moved from the West Valley league (C League) to the Santa Teresa League (B League) for 2015. As a result the team’s primary goal was to prove they belonged in the tougher division, and represent James Lick as the school’s only sport not placed in the lowest league. There is a proposal to Restructure the BVAL as a whole, eliminating the A,B,C, structure, if this proposal is not enacted, James Lick will remain in the Santa Teresa League in 2016. The Current BVAL format, in which the 3 leagues are realigned yearly based on strength of team, but where every team races together at BVAL Finals at Crystal Springs, has existed since 1996. This gives the team 20 seasons of modern history to compare against.

Here is a breakdown of how the team of 2015 Compares by Combined Team Time:

Year Varsity Boys Varsity Girls Frosh/Soph Boys JV Girls Reserve Boys Reserve Girls






1:27:37 INC NA NA NA NA


1:25:36 INC NA NA NA NA


1:25:46 INC NA NA NA NA


1:25:43 1:58:53 INC 2:16:22 INC INC


1:25:37 2:00:45 1:48:45 NA NA NA


1:26:14 1:57:30 INC 2:18:11 INC INC


1:30:36 INC 2:01:17 INC INC INC


1:34:19 2:00:16 INC INC INC INC


1:35:19 1:58:31 INC INC INC INC


1:37:24 1:56:03 1:44:46 2:33:11 1:46:57 INC


1:34:48 1:59:32 1:52:15 INC 1:45:51 INC


1:32:44 2:09:55 1:45:53 INC 1:46:55 INC


1:31:45 2:05:40 1:41:06 2:30:08 1:39:20 INC


1:34:06 2:14:16 1:47:48 2:33:45 1:44:02 INC


1:32:07 2:00:35 1:43:24 2:21:09 1:45:05 INC


1:37:09 1:57:28 1:46:38 INC 1:46:00 INC


1:31:22 1:50:00 1:42:22 2:09:09 1:52:02 2:27:50


1:29:07 1:50:27 1:42:12 2:05:48 1:43:14 INC


The Varsity Boys were the team’s strongest group, going 6-1 and finishing in 2nd place in the league. Nathan Bernardo lead the group at virtually every race, and took his PR (Personal Record) at Montgomery Hill down to 16:10, and Crystal Springs down to 17:02. Nathan stands as the 4th  fastest comet ever at Montgomery hill. Team captain Hector Ramirez made the biggest jump on the scoring team, taking his league meet PRS down by over a minute. Not since 2003 had a James Lick team run under 90 minutes at league finals, a feat the team accomplished this year. The team also ran under 85 minutes at Montgomery hill for the first time since 2004.

The Varsity boys season was held together not only by Nathans strong placing and Hector Ramirez’s leadership as the teams number 2 runner, but by the consistency of Inteus Castro-Lopez and others. Inteus entered his first ever Cross Country season just looking to be a key member of the frosh soph team, but as a sophomore became a vital member of the varsity team, as the number 2 runner at league finals. Inteus became one of only 11 Comets over the last 10 years to break 18 minutes at crystal springs and is only the third sophomore to do so in the past decade. Gustavo Aguilera battled through a rough season to be a key contributor as well, running 47 seconds faster at league finals in 2015 than in 2014. Azalea Zamora as the 5th guy was the teams biggest find. From never having been in the JL distance program before, he became a very strong performer for the team, one that the team is counting on going forward. Gustavo Parra and Guillermo both missed significant time with injury but managed to have successful seasons despite this, and are poised for big track seasons. Jesse Chircop the team’s most experienced member had a huge senior season, moving from a PR of 19:47 at montgomery to 17:43.

Other young runners to show flashes of brilliance were freshmen Vincent Giglio and Erik Olsvold. Between the two, the team saw the best freshmen times of the past decade at Alum Rock Park, (Both Alumni and BVAL course) Half moon Bay, Toro Park and Crystal Springs. Having these talented freshmen runners going forward is a dream scenario for any coach.

Austin Swank had a strong season as a Frosh/Soph captain, running low 7 minute pace on most courses. Jesus Deloya had a rough season as he is more of a track guy, but the endurance work he’s done in XC will surely help him this track season. Rene Bravo and Isaak Herrera were also solid contributors for the Frosh/Soph team.

The reserve boys showed the depth of JLXC again, with exceptional seasons from Ryan Puzon (breaking 20 minutes at Montgomery hill) and Miguel Chavez in particular. Ivan Morales led the group along with Kelvin Arenas. The group of boys took minutes off their times and were a consistent group this season.

Based on XC stats rankings, the team’s strongest 10 runners were:

  1. Nathan Bernardo, 2. Hector Ramirez, 3. Inteus Castro-Lopez,              4. Gustavo Aguilera, 5. Azael Zamora 6. Guillermo Villalobos                7. Gustavo Parra 8. Vincent Giglio 9. Jesse Chircop 10.Jesus Deloya

The team will be losing it’s number 2, and number 9 runners, but can look ahead to being much stronger next year.

The varsity girls team this season was a very inexperienced one. They still managed to compete in the STAL going 2-5 and finishing 6th overall. The only varsity girl from the 2014 league championship team who ran varsity this year was Maria Mendoza. She took the role of returning champion to heart, taking her league finals time from 22:47 in 2014, to 20:35 at league finals this year for the 5th best Crystal Springs time in school history. She was followed by a group of girls who despite a lack of natural ability worked to run a very strong team time. Last years group ran 1:50:00 for the best league finals time in school history. Despite the losses of key runners like Daniela Camacho, Paloma Contreras and Milka Perez, this years team ran 1:50:27. For the first time in school history, 6 girls ran under 23 minutes at crystal springs in the same race.

Andrea Ortiz was a very strong runner in her only XC season, running 22:03 at league finals. Elizabeth Guevara, Jennifer Custodio and Gabriela Aguilar formed the rest of the final scoring team and all demonstrated great improvement this season. Eli and Jenny are poised to have big season this year in track after the work they put into XC. Daisy Nava was one of teams hardest workers.Daisy set the goal of being able to run under 8 minute pace by league finals and exceeded her own expectations by running 7:46 pace on the big day.

The JV girls team was spearheaded by Julia Cruz, who despite joining late, ended the season in the best shape of her life. She will look to combine with Jenny and Eli in track to form a formidable distance group. Strong runners Evalilia Garcia, and Jocelyn Aguirre were pillars of the team all season long. Analilia Regla was one of the hardest workers on the entire team from day 1 of summer and helped glue the team together in a build for track.

Susie Peterson and Christine Young rounded up the team, taking a big step forward in year 2 of their XC careers. Christine went from being a girl who took more than 30 minutes to run most courses, to running in the 26-27 minute range.

The reserve girls team lead by Denisse Calixto and Alnico Urango had the dup running times in the mid 20s and would be valuable on the varsity teams of several other schools. Elizabeth Perez and Diana Romero worked as a team for most of the season to bring their times down from the 40 minute range to very low 30s for Elizabeth at league finals.

Similar to the boys, the girls team had several standout freshmen runners in Arlet Miranda, Raquel Rodriguez and Carla Manzanares. Arlet and Raquel began training in summer and showed exceptional displayed of ability at different races this year. Both athletes battled injuries and will work to stay healthy to be a major factor in Track this season. Carla was a late season addition, who rapidly improved and should help the team for years to come as well.

Based on XC Stats rankings the girls teams top 10 strongest runners were:

1.Maria Mendoza, 2. Arlet Miranda 3. Andrea Ortiz 4. Elizabeth Guevara 5.Gabriela Aguilar 6. Jennifer Custodio 7.Daisy Nava 8. Raquel Rodriguez  9. Julia Cruz and 10. Analilia Regla.

While the team will miss their 3,4 and 5 runners next year, the young group will work to improve and cover their losses, particularly with the young talent of runners like Arlet and Raquel.


Overall it was a great XC season for the team and now the group will start to look ahead to track season. Any interested comets can feel free to join. Conditioning will officially begin at 3:30 everyday starting January 4th by the track. Recruits are always welcome! Great season team.

Team record and other XC History can be found Here:


Youtube Videos and race results can be found here:



Comets Wrap up Season at BVAL Finals


BVAL Finals in Cross Country is a day of  intense competition. The three BVAL power league, A (MHAL) B (STAL) and C (WVAL) all race together, demonstrating each teams proficiency compared to the teams in higher or lower leagues. James Lick has the second smallest student body in the entire BVAL, and as a result, it is in the ‘C’ league for most of its sports. In cross country however, it moved to the ‘B’ League this year following its girls league championship season in the WVAL in 2014. The Comets of 2015 came into the season eager to prove their placement in the STAL was correct, by finishing solidly in the middle of the pack despite their small student body to draw from.

For most members of the team, the season came to an end this Monday at BVAL Finals. It was a day of both excellent performances and disappointing ones, but each and every member of the team gave an effort to be proud of.

The reserve girls race saw the extremely strong performance of Christine Young, who ran 27:47 minutes faster from last year when she could not break 30 minutes for the 2.95 mile Crystal Springs Cross Country Course.

The JV Girls race had the teams highest overall finish much like in 2014. This year the JV girls placed 7th out of the 24 BVAL teams and ran a team time of 2:05:48. This is faster than the Varsity girls teams James Lick could produce a few years ago. They were lead by Julia Cruz in a strong PR of 23:19. Since Julia beat every other runner in the B division, she is the STAL JV girls league champion.  Evalilia Garcia and Carla Manzanares followed her in 24:52 and 25:04, very strong JV times. Jocelyn Aguirre was the 4th girl across the line in 25:41. This gives the Comets a total of 11 girls under 26 minutes, the most for a single day in school history. Raquel Rodriguez and Analilia Regla finished the team’s scoring in 26:48 and 26:49. Susie Peterson also competed though she had an off-race, running 28:41.

The Frosh/Soph Boys race was next. Perhaps the strongest performance of the day came from freshmen Erik Olsvold who ran 18:14 to place 9th for the race, only losing to A division runners. This means that Erik is the STAL Frosh/Soph league champion. The other frosh/soph boys struggled, but still managed to place 12th as a team.

The Varsity Girl race was recalled due to a misshapen, causing the Boys varsity race to be run first. For a boys varsity team who had hoped to finish in the top 10, their placing of 13th was disappointing, especially because they missed a CCS qualification spot (top 12 teams) by 4 points. They were not the victims of choking under pressure however, but rather by the fastest overall season in BVAL history. Never before since the BVAL’s consecration in 1996 had a team run under 90 minutes for a combined time and failed to make CCS. The most teams to ever run under 90 minutes in the same league finals race in BVAL history had been 11, and even this is a rare occurrence. This year however, 15 teams accomplished this feat. This means the JL team time of 89:07, would have made CCS any year in BVAL history except this year. A tough break for the team.

Nonetheless, the team has a lot to be proud of. The current group of boys, lead by captain Hector Ramirez, has been determined to bring about the return of James Lick’s XC excellence from it’s creation through 2003, when times at Crystal Springs in the mid 80 minute range were a regular occurrence. The first sub 90 minute clocking for the team since 2003 earlier this season (89:53 at the Crystal Springs Invite) was a great step. The 89:07 by the team at league finals was another step in the right direction.

The team was lead by junior, Nathan Bernardo who ran 17:02. Nathan qualified as an individual for CCS in the process, and  is poised to become the first Comet to break 17 at Crystal Springs since Erik Herrera in 2005. Inteus Catsro-Lopez lead a pack of Comets across the line next, with Inteus running 17:55, Hector running 17:57, Gustavo Aguilera 18:00, and Azael Zamora 18:13 to complete the team. Gustavo Parra and Jesse Chircop ran small PRS of 18:40 and 19:06 respectively to give 6/7 varsity boys personal bests for the course.

The Varsity girls delivered the best team performance of the year despite the recall mishap. The top 6 girls all had the best races of their entire XC career at the moment that mattered most. Maria Mendoza ran 20:35, the 5th fastest time in JL history (for a course they’re run every year since 1978) and ran under 7 minute mile pace for the first time in a cross country race. She qualified for the CCS meet as an individual. Andrea Ortiz and Elizabeth Guevara were the 2nd and 3rd comets in at 22:03 and 22:30, (7:28 pace and 7:38 pace respectively). Neither girl had ever run under 7:40pace before. Jennifer Custodio ran 22:36 and Gabriela Aguilar ran 22:43. Daisy Nava was the 6th girl in running 22:56 (7:46) pace. All 3 girl shad never run under 7:50 pace before. Arlet Miranda made her return from injury though was not fit running 23:01.

The girls were also victims of the leagues incredible performance. Last year’s team ran a team time of 1:50:00 and made CCS comfortably at 8th place, a fairly normal placing for the team time. This years team, despite losing last years #1,2,3,5 and 6 runners, ran only 5 second slower per girl on average for a team time of 1:50:27. This time netted them 14th, but much like the boys, would have made CCS in any other year in BVAL history.

The reserve boys finished the day with strong performances of their own. Guillermo Villalobos won the entire race with a  time of 18:07. Kevin Arenas, Ryan Puzon, Miguel Chavez and Ivan Morales all ran strong times to help the reserve team to finish 12th as a team in combined scoring.

Nathan and Maria will be running Crystal Springs again at CCS on November 14th.

With a team full of strong returning runners, such as Nathan, Inteus, Guillermo, Azael and both Gustavo’s along with talented youngsters such as Vincent Giglio and Erik, the team will be strongly in contention for a CCS spot next season, and hopefully top 10 finish s well, with a team time in the 87 minute range. While the girls will miss the services of Andrea, Elizabeth, and Gabby, the strong performances of their inexperienced team gives the team confidence to run well under 1:50:00 as a team next season and to make CCS as well.

While it lead to slightly disappointing placings this season, the improvement of the BVAL as a whole and narrowing of the gap between it’s strength and the the strength of neighboring leageus such as the SCVAL is a great thing. The Comets are ready for the challenge the leagues continued improvement will pose, and will be ready to take on all comers in 2016 with even more ambitious goals.

Any Comets who loved their XC season should STRONGLY consider joining Track this spring. We will be aggressively pursuing the first ever team title in girls track and field in school history.