It’s the middle of February and the track season is rapidly approaching! The 2015 season was a huge step for the team, finishing a combined 10-4, (girls 6-1, boys 4-3) for the teams first winning season in over a decade. The upcoming season is a promising one. As always the primary goal of JLTF is to foster as much improvement, both as an athlete and as a person, as possible. The team has the competitive goal this year of winning the WVAL on the girls side, a feat which has never been accomplished in school history. A strong returning group of athletes, several promising freshmen, and the addition of Sprints and Jumps coach Steven Nichols, has the team looking at an improved season on both sides. The program building which has been taking place since 2014 is in full swing.
A group of roughly 20 athletes began conditioning in January, and that group has swelled to around 30 total athletes now that official practice is underway. This is with the team still awaiting the finish of the Winter Sports season, which much of the track team is busy participating in.
On February 22nd, the team will participate in 400m time trials to evaluate the fitness of each individual athlete. Then on Saturday February 27th, many members of the team will compete for the first time at the final Los Gatos all comers meet of the season.
Official Action will kick off March 5th at the Willow Glen Invitational, and the team will have its first Dual Meet of the Season on March 10th, hosting Gunderson.
Here is a breakdown of the Top 14 ReturninG Athletes in the WVAL in each event. This list was complied using the best marks in the WVAL from 2015 for all non seniors. This list will not include freshmen, newcomers to track or outside of WVAL transfers, but it serves as a decent picture of what the WVAL competitive level will be this season, and how the James Lick returners stack up in each event. (I have included marks set in Cross Country for the James Lick distance runners.)
The girls sprint team has some talented returners such as junior Maria Mendoza, Senior Andrea Ortiz and Senior Karen Montes. Other hard at work rascals include athletes like Elizabeth Perez. The boys group is composed mostly of freshmen runners who in their short time as members of the track team have demonstrated great work ethic. Freshmen such as Danny Nguyen, and Adrian DelaRosa have shown an aptitude for learning quickly and have the potential to develop into great sprinters/ jumpers.
We are very happy to have Coach Steven Nichols aboard this year to join the staff of myself and Coach Vela. Coach Steve has had success coaching sprints and jumps at numerous top programs of the SCVAL, and he will be working to get the most out of our young sprint group.
The team’s distance runners were the track team’s greatest strength this year. The loss of Daniela Camacho on the girls side, and Karan Singh on the boys side mean that the rest of the group will need to work hard to pick up the slack and fill in for their now graduated teammates. Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez, both already with PRS in the low 4:50s will look to threaten sub 4:40 times this season and be a force in the league, aided by teammates such as Guillermo Villalobos, Inteus Castro-Lopez and Gustavo Parra who all showed strong growth in Cross Country. Newcomers Erik Olsvold and Vincent Giglio who had strong XC seasons, will help build the team’s depth and prepare for when they will take the reigns, along with speed orientated teammate Jesus Deloya.
On the girls side Freshemn Arlet Miranda has the potential to be a huge force in league this year. I believe her to be capable of running well under 6:00 for the mile this year. Senior Elizabeth Guevara and Junior Jennifer Custodio both had great XC seasons and are poised to threaten sub 6 themselves, as is junior Julia Cruz. Freshmen Raquel Rodriguez and Carla Manzanares will provide depth for the distance girls who managed to place 4 girls in the top 8 in the WVAL Finals over 800m last year.
In hurdles, athlete like Hadji Yono-Cruz will look to have a strong season after adjusting to high school hurdle heights. he will be helped along by Gustavo Aguilera and Jesse Chircop who both aim to score points at league finals in the 300 hurdles. The boys haven’t scored any points in hurdles at league finals in several years.
The girls hurdlers are a different story. With a talented group like this, there are a number of exiting individual goals set for this season. Andrea Ortiz is the #2 ranked 300m hurdler in the WVAL this year, and has the goal of improving on her school record, and becoming the first girls 300m league champ in school history. Maria Mendoza should be right behind her and after a strong XC season, Daisy Nava will also look to score points at league finals. Susie Peterson had a solid freshmen season and has a good shot at making the 100h final as well.
Much like in sprints, the boys jumps group is young and developing under the stewardship of coach Steve. The girls have a strong core already. Lyndel Ventura despite only being a sophomore, is the #3 ranked long jumper in the league, and also has a good chance at a league championship in the event. Teammates who also scored at league finals in jumps, junior Elyse Elder and sophomore Crystal Nguyen give the team a very strong girls jumps group.
In the throws, sophomore Daniel Medina has a bright future, he is ranked highly in shot put and is growing in strength by the day. Hard working teammate Alex Alonzo will look to be a factor in the league scoring as well. The girls side has the return of 2 athletes who managed to score points as freshmen, Alejandra Ceron and Charli Chircop. This dynamic duo will look to help spearhead a very well rounded girls team, with talented freshmen such as Valeria Cortez joining the group.
2016 is shaping up to be a very exiting year for the James Lick Track and Field Program. We are only a few weeks away from our first track meets, stay tuned for more comets news.