Comets Take Home Hardware from Firebird Relays

Left to Right: Bryan Cuevas, Alejandra Ceron, Coach Vela, Valeria Cortez, Josh Garcia, Charli Chricop, ad Daniel Medina.

The struggles of the James Lick Track team throughout the early 2000s are seeming more and more distant by the meet. While the team remains in the West Valley League, (C League) of the BVAL, they are among its most competitive teams, compared to just 3 years ago when James Lick was unquestionably the weakest. The team is not only a combined   6-0 between girls and boys, (with the girls team looking particularly strong) they are proving to be a factor at Invitationals, competing well and scoring points in meets with more than 40 teams, and beating out teams in far more competitive leagues.

The Firebird Relays are a unique invitational hosted by Fremont High School in Sunnyvale. Several distance relays are available, as are combination relays in the field events and 300 hurdles. The combo relays require 3 athletes in a division. For example, by entering 3 Frosh/Soph Boys long jumpers, you qualify for the relay. The best jump from each athlete will then be added up and compiled as a team total. If three boys jump 15 feet, the team total would be 45 feet, and that 45 foot total would be scored against every other team with 3 athletes. The team took many of its members with this in mind, seeking to compete well in various relays.

Hadji Yono-Cruz kicked off the meet for the team, though he had a poor race by his standards running 19.76 for the 100 hurdles. Gustavo Aguilera ran 11.85 for a PR in the 65m hurdles next.

The Comets then began contesting the Frosh/Soph Girls Discus. This event was a huge oppurtunity for the team, with a very strong group of young girl throwers. Alejandra Ceron lead the group throwing 74-11 for a Seasons best, less than a foot off of her PR. Valeria Cortez, 73-2 and Charli Chircop 66-9, did not enjoy their best days but did enough to lock up 3rd place in the discus relay with a total of 214-10. Lesymi Saldana also got a PR throwing 54-3.

Next up on the Track was the rarely contested, Distance Medley Relay. The relay consists of a 1200m leg, a 400m leg, an 800m leg, and an anchor leg over 1600m, for a total of 4000 meters. The school record of 11:30 was set at the 1985 Stanford Invitational, in the height of James Lick’s Cross Country distance running dominance. This team likely featured top runners like Joe Amendt, Carlos Alterez and Greg Machado, all three of whom were sub 2 800m runners. The 2015 team ran 12:09 at The firebird relays, and the 2016 team took a huge step towards ushering in a new era of distance dominance, running 11:45. Hector Ramirez started the team off strong running 3:32 for 1200 meters. Gustavo Parra ran a 58 second 400 leg for an unofficial seasons best, and Gustavo Aguilera ran an unofficial 2:17 split for the 800 which would be a PR. Nathan Bernardo brought the team home with a 4:57 1600 leg.

The Frosh/Soph team narrowly missed beating last years Varsity time. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran a 3:45 1200, Misael Herrera ran a very strong 58 second 400 leg, Vincent Giglio fresh from return from injury ran a 2:26 800 split, and Azael Zamora finished the team’s run with a 5:04 1600 to stop the clock in 12:14. The only girls DMR in school history was last year at the end of TKA distance carnival, after many runners had already run multiple events. That team featured Brianna Flores, Daisy Nava, Andrea Ortiz and the best distance runner in lady comets track history, Daniela Camacho, who combined for a 15:18 time.

This years team showed dramatic improvement. Elizabeth Guevara started the team off strong with a 4:28 1200. Andrea Ortiz ran well faster than her official 400 PR, splitting a 66 second lap, while Daisy Nava ran a 2:45 800 split, unofficially beating her PR. Last year Daisy and Andrea combined to run the middle legs of the DMR in 4:19, this year however they accomplished the feat in 3:52. Maria Mendoza ran a weak 1600 by her standards, bringing the team home in 6:07 for a 14:26 clocking, a new school record. The Frosh/Soph girls also beat last years time, running 15:16. The team of Raquel Rodriguez, 4:45, Belen Sanchez, 1:16, Analilai Regla 3:24 and Arlet Miranda, 5:51 rounded out the group.

In the 400m run, every Comet who ran achieved a PR. Isaak Herrera ran a 1:05.40, 2 seconds better than his PR which was set last year at the same invite. Karen Montes took a full 8 seconds off of her PR, running 1:11.62. Denise Calixto took 2 seconds off of her PR, running 1:15.77. On the boys side, Jesse Chircop broke 60 seconds for the first time running 58.96.

Meanwhile the Frosh/Soph Boys began throwing Discus.  While the team was not ranked very highly, all three boys achieved PRS. Josh Garcia threw 91-10 to place 7th overall. Daniel Medina threw 86-6, and most critically, Bryan Cuevas threw 71-1 for a 21 foot PR. If Bryan had only PRd by a few feet, the team would not have been able to secure three 3rd place finish with a total team distance of 249-5.

The Varsity Boys threw Shot Put next with Alex Alonzo throwing a PR of 32-4.75.  Pablo Segovia also threw a PR of 31-6. Nathan Bernardo competed in place of Osman Lopez, throwing an impressive mark for a distance runner of 29-3.

Much of the distance crew finished their day with a fun run over the 4×800 relay. The Varsity girls team of Daisy, Andrea, Eli, and Arlet ran 10:58 as a team to finish 3rd place. They averaged 2:44.5 a girl. While the boys have a proud distance tradition they are trying to revive, the girls are writing a stronger history meet by meet. Of the 16 girls in school history to run under 3 minutes for 800, 10 of them have broken the barrier in the last 3 years. Eli’s 2:53 leg is much better than her official PR of 3:00, as is Andreas 2:45 leg compared to her 2:59 PR. Arlet brought the team home in a very strong 2:36 leg, showing that all 4 girls are ready for 800m PRS.

The boys team was exactly the same as the DMR on the varsity side. Gustavo Parra ran an unofficial seasons best of 2:17, while Hector Ramirez ran an unofficial PR of 2:16. Gustavo A ran a decent 2:21 leg and Nathan anchored the team in 2:15 to give the team a time of 9:08, far better than the 9:28 from last year and good enough for 3rd place. The Frosh/Soph team was very lacking in speed, but Inteus, Isaak, Vicent and Azael competed and ran 10:10 for the sake of adding more 4x800s to JL school history.

Misael ran a strong 100m of 12.84, narrowly missing his PR despite running the 400 on the DMR earlier. Jesse did similar, running 12.57 for his first post-400 100m race of the season. Hadji ran a solid 12.68 for a big official PR, he long jumped 17-5 soon afterwards. On the girls side, Karen ran 14.71, a strong time after running the 400.

The team’s best showing of the day was in the Frosh/Soph girls Shot Put. Alejandra lead the group again at 28-2.50 for 4th place. Valeria took 5th in 27-9.25 and Charli took 6th in 27-8.25. The team combined for 83-8 to win the Frosh/Soph Girls Shot Put relay! They edged out the 2nd place Santa Teresa team by 8 inches, an impressive victory considering Santa Teresa is the reigning A league champion of the BVAL and has an impressive girls team all around.

The Frosh/Soph Boys Shot Put team acquitted themselves nearly as well. Josh threw a huge PR of 37-0.50 with the 10 pound ball. Daniel threw 34-8 and Bryan  threw 29-5. This gave the team a total of 101-.50 good for 2nd place in the FS boys Shot Put relay.

The 300 hurdles has been one of the teams best events on the girls side over the last few seasons, and it is continuing to grow stronger. Belen Sanchez lead the FS girls 300 hurdles team with a 2 second PR for a time of 56.10. Arlet was not far behind her at 56.99 and Valeria ended her day with a PR of 57.67. They combined for a time of 2:50.76 for 3rd place.

The Varsity girls also took 3rd place in their 300h relay. Andrea ran 51.37 for a seasons best, as did Maria at 53.12 Daisy did not have a great race, running 1:02.99 but it was enough to lock up a team time of 2:47 to clinch 3rd place. On the boys side Jesse broke 50 seconds for the first time, running 49.40 despite his already busy day. Gustavo Parra also PRd running 53.96.

The team ended their day with a few runs over 200m. Jesse and Hector managed PRS of 26.24 and 28.32 respectively. Arlet ran a solid 31.34 for her first ever 200, and Denisse ran a PR of 34.39 to end her day. Maria ran a strong 29.44 to end her long day.

All in all, the Firebird Relays held great result for the team. Now the Comets will look ahead to a week off from racing, where the teams most dedicated members will buckle down to get ready for a tough matchup with local rival Independence on April 7th. Feel free to come support the team at 3:30 on that day at the James Lick Track.







Comets Extend Record to Combined 6-0


The James Lick Track team took to Morgan Hill to take on the perennially strong Live Oak Acorns. The team entered with 2-0 records for both the boys and girls, and with a win, knew they could start 6-0 for the first time on over a decade.

The meet began with some stellar performances in the field events. Nathan Bernardo, returning to the site of his freshmen year BVAL jumps qualification, seemed to capitalize on his nostalgia, jumping 18-7 for Long Jump, and 38-3 for Triple jump to win both events (all jumps marks are edited to account for a lowered landing pit). Hadji Yono-Cruz had his best day jumping in high school, taking 2nd with marks of 17-8 in long jump and 38-10 in Triple. Chris Okoro scored his first point for the team long jumping 16-2, while teammate Adrian De LaRosa 16-0, and Manuel Villalobos 15-6 achieved PRS as well. Manuel helped complete the 3rd straight triple jump sweep by the team to open the season, going 31 feet.

On the girls side, Lyndel Ventura had the best meet of her life. She filled in admirably for the injured Elyse Elder, clearing 4-2 in high jump for 2nd place. She then broke two huge barriers, jumping 15-4 in long jump and 30-0.50 in triple jump. Lynden is now the school’s #2 triple jumper all time, and the 6th girl in school history to jump 15 feet for long jump. Crystal Nguyen had a strong meet as well, jumping 13-7.50 for a small PR in long jump and 27-4 for a seasons best in Triple Jump.


Charli Chircop, returning from injury had a huge day, winning Shot Put and Discus in PRS of 29-1 and 79-4 respectively. Valeria Cortez took 2nd in both events, with a Shot Put PR of 28-7, and a strong discus mark of 78-6. Alejandra had a rough day in comparison, though she took 3rd in Shot Put with a seasons best of 28-2. Valerie Flores threw a discus PR of 46-4, and Leysmi Saldana threw 20-1 and 50-1 in her Track debut.

The boys had a tough day competing against a Strong Live Oak boys side. Daniel Medina managed 2nd in Shot Put with a toss of 33-8, and Alex Alonzo threw 32-1 for a PR for 4th. Josh Garcia also threw a solid 30-6 in his Shot Put debut. Nathan Rios netted a small PR of 22-2 and continued to achieve steady improvement.

Alex had a huge day in discus, throwing 101- 5 to break the 100 foot barrier for the first time. Alex becomes the 3rd member of the 100 foot discus club under the team’s throws coach, Coach Vela, in only three years. This is especially impressive considering that in the 3 years prior to Coach Vela’s arrival, no Comet threw even 80 feet for the event. Daniel managed a small PR of 83-8 and Nathan threw a big PR of 62 feet as well.

The running events kicked off with both relay teams struggling, losing to strong Acorn teams. The girls 1600 was won by standout BVAl athlete Kaylah Grant, though Elizabeth Guevara and Daisy Nava filled in for 2nd and 3rd. Carl Manzanres ran a PR of 6:47 for the event as well.

The boys distance side had a true show of force, sweeping the 1600 without top runner Nathan. Erik Olsvold won the race with a PR of 5:07 while Azael Zamora and Hector Ramirez crushed in behind for 2nd and 3rd. The hurdlers on both sides achieved sweeps as well. Andrea Ortiz lead the girls sweep in 18.40, a PR by .01. Maria Mendoza and Valeria took 2nd and 3rd. On the boys side, Hadji won in a small PR of 18.88. Hadji is making more progress towards a 3 step stride pattern event meet. Gustavo Aguilera ran 19.69 for 2nd, a huge pr and Jonathan Rodriguez placed 3rd in just outside of 20 seconds.

Arlet Miranda ran a PR of 1:06.80 to win the girls 400. Fellow Freshmen Jackie Landa follow her in 2nd, showcasing the team’s youth and strength. On the boys side, Nathan managed a single point for 3rd place, running  57 second lap. The 100 meter runners saw tough competition from the acorns, getting swept in the girls 100. Even so, the team netted several PRS with Liliana Diaz running 14.65, Belen Sanchez running 15.35, Susie Peterson running 15.78 and Aliana Santos running 16.30. Jesse Chircop placed 3rd in the boys race with a small PR of 12.43. Adrian managed a solid PR of 12.69. Misael Herrera also ran a strong PR of 12.80. Bryan Cuevas, and Chirs both ran solid PRS of 13.35 and 13.55 respectively, as did Isaak Herrera in 14.06.

Arlet took 2nd place behind Kaylah Grant in the girls 800, and Raquel Rodriguez ran her best high school 800 of 2:57 for 4th place. The boys distance team managed their 2nd sweep of the day, with hector winning the 800. Jesus Deloya took 2nd and Gustavo Parra 3rd. Maria and Andrea repeated their 1-2 success in the 2nd hurdle event, this time with Maria taking the win and Andrea placing 2nd. In the boys race, Gustavo Aguilera placed 2nd in a low 47, with Jonathan taking 3rd in a seasons best of 50 seconds.

Andrea ended her day with a very strong 2nd place in the 200.  She ran 29.54 for a seasons best in the process. Lilliana ran a very strong debut  of 30.45 and Jackie managed a PR of 31.67 as well. On the boys side, Misael ran a strong PR of 26.17, while Jesse ran a PR of 26.28 for 3rd. Adrian ran a huge PR of 26.95 as well.

Both boys and girl steams swept the 3200, with Azael, Hector and Inteus Castro-Lopez working together to achieve the feat on the boys side, while Eli, Carla and Analilia Regla did the same on the girls side.

The team ended the meet with the 4×400 team of Maria, Raquel, Jackie and Arlet running 4:49 for the teams sole relay win on the day.

The final scores of the meet were:

67-59 for the won on the boys side, and 82-43 for the win on the girls side. As has been discussed, a league title on the girls side is looking like well within the teams grasp, as the team has opened the season with three dominant performances.

The team will send a group of athletes to compete in the Firebird Relays Saturday, and then will get a hard week of training in during spring break. The team will then enjoy its next dual meet at home on April 7th against the local rival Independence 76ers. The 76ers look to be very strong on the boys side, and the team will need to prepare well to keep their undefeated season alive.







Personal Records Achieved at De Anza Invitational


The James Lick Track Team took a small group of athletes to the De Anza Invitational for the Varsity Only invitational. The day started very strong with the Varsity Boys 3200. Hector Ramirez ran 10:42, a 15 second PR. Azael Zamora ran 10:49, and Inteus Castro-Lopez ran 10:59, both sophomores breaking the 11 minute barrier for the very first time. Despite the fact that the varsity 1600 was run only an hour later, the group managed to run solid doubles, near their PRS. Azael made it an extremely impressive day, coming back with a 4:58.70 1600 to break 5 for the first time. Gustavo Aguilera ran a strong 5:01 for a seasons best in the same race. Nathan Bernardo did not have a great day by his standards, running 4:55.

The Varsity Girls 4×100 team competed, running  solid 56.96 with the team of Maria Mendoza, Liliana Diaz, Elyse Elder and Andrea Ortiz. Maria would run a 5:58 1600 not long afterwards, breaking 6 minutes for the first time this season and giving the school 2 girls under the barrier in the same season for the first time in school history.

All of the straightaway hurdlers had a very strong day. Andrea ran a PR of 18.41 despite using a 5 step rhythm for the first 3 hurdles, before switching to the 4-step rhythm she has been working on for the final 7. Her time moves her up to 4th on the schools all time list. Susie Peterson ran 19.98 for the 100 hurdles, breaking the 20 second barrier for the first time. Jonathan Rodriguez did the same in the 110 hurdles, running 19.87.

The Comets had two athletes compete in the 400m run. Arlet Miranda ran 1:07.53 for a 2 second PR and the 6th fastest time in school history, .01 second faster than hallowed distance runner Daniela Camacho. Gustavo Parra ran the boys 400 in a time of 59.97, breaking 60 for the first time this season. Andrea followed up her strong hurdles performance with a solid 100m pr of 14.05. Maria followed her in a solid 14.20 clocking.

In the girls 800, Arlet ran 2:37.62, a 4 second PR moving her up to 5th on the schools all time list. Daisy ran 2:46.82, moving up to 9th on the schools all time list with the two second PR. On the boys side Nathan ran a decent 2:13.41 to match his seasons best.  Gustavo P ran a 2:19.06 for a 2nd seasons best on the day.

The team ended their running day with a run over the 400 hurdles. This event is contested in college and the Pros, but not in California high school competition. Nonetheless Andrea competed excellently, running 1:10.91. The meet was contested at De Anza college, the strongest Track program among all Bay Area Community colleges. Despite this, Andrea’s time for the 400 hurdles was better than all of De Anza’s 400 hurdlers to this point. Andrea is looking ahead to next week where she will run her first invitational 300 hurdles race of the year and attempt to break the 50 second barrier. Maria also ran a solid time in the race, clocking 1:15.79.

On the boys side, Nathan ran for fun, running a time of 1:09.30 to lead the group. Jonathan and Gustavo A, followed him across in 1:12.69 and 1:14.33. Gustavo P ran 1:20.62 to add a 6th time to school history.

In the field events, the few comets who competed achieved bests as well. Elyse Elder got PRS in both horizontal jumps, going 14-3 in long jump and 28-3 in triple jump. Alex Alonzo threw 31-6 in Shot put for a 6 inch PR as well.

Overall it was a great day for the team, nearly every athlete who attended achieved a PR.

The undefeated team will take to Morgan Hill next Thursday in a tough matchup with an always strong Live Oak team. The team will then hope to take a large group of athletes to the Firebird Relays next Saturday, before having a week off of meets during Spring break.







James Lick Track Team Rolls to Combined 4-0 Start


Following their win against Gunderson to open their season, the James Lick Track Team headed west to Del mar High School to take on the Dons. The meet opened with the 4×100 team of Maria Mendoza, Liliana Diaz, Karen Montes, and Andrea Ortiz running a seasons best of 55.99. Though the time was only good for 2nd, the team did not break 56 seconds until April last year, and are progressing very well.  The boys team of Hadji Yono-Cruz, Jesse Chircop, Adrian DeLaRosa and Jonathan Rodriguez  managed their first 4×100 win of the season, also running a seasons best of 49.52.

The distance team was coming off of a very heavy week of training.Despite this, Arlet Miranda and Eli Guevara took 1st and 2nd place in the girls 1600, running low 6:20s on the warm day. On the boys side Nathan Bernardo was narrowly out kicked by talented Del mar freshmen Chris Solarzano. Hector Ramirez filled in behind Nathan for 3rd place.

The hurdlers had a strong performance next. Andrea Ortiz ran a PR of 18.63 to win the 100 hurdles, Maria followed her in 18.70 for a seasons best, and Valeria Cortez took 3rd in a huge PR of 19.24. On the boys side, Hadji Yono-Cruz took 1st in a PR of 18.97. Hadji is getting closer and closer to being able to maintain a 3-step stride pattern between each hurdle, holding it for 6 hurdles to achieve his PR. Jonathan took 2nd running a small PR of 20.21 as well. Josue Marcelo ran a full second PR for 22.92 in 4th.

The girls 400 was swept by a strong Del Mar contingent. The James Lick crew ran well however, Jackie Landa ran 1:10.94 for a PR, Daisy Nava ran 1:11.16 for a PR of her own and Belen Sanchez ran a 1:11.96 for a very string 400m debut. On the boys side Nathan secured the win following his mile, running home with a 57 second lap.

The 100m dash was won by Maria in 14.00 a seasons best. Andrea placed 3rd in 14.26. Karen ran a very strong PR of 14.45 as did Denisse Calixto who ran 15.57. Aliana Santos also ran a solid PR of 16.43, compared to a previous best of 16.77. The boys 100 showed dramatic improvement. Last week only one runner broke 13 seconds, and the team got 1 point in the event. Versus Del Mar however, Jesse Chircop placed 2nd in 12.46, Danny Nguyen placed 3rd in 12.71,  Adrian placed 4th on 12.76 and Misael Herrera ran 12.98 in the 2nd heat. Guillermo Maciel had a strong debut time of 13.12 as well.

The girls 800 was again a 1-2 finish by Arlet and Eli. On the boys side a 1-2 finish was achieved by Gustavo Parra and Nathan, both groups ran to win, not running particularly strong times. Isaac Herrera nearly placed 3rd n the 800 running  solid PR of 2:39.

The 300 hurdles saw sweeps on both sides. Andrea lead the group in a 52 second victory, as she continues to ramp up preparations towards the gaol of winning the league title in the event. Valeria and Belen followed her across in 58.14 and 58.15 for 2nd and 3rd. This makes them the 6th and 7th fastest 300 hurdlers in school history. The boys side saw a huge breakthrough for Gustavo Aguilera who ran 46.87, a 2 second PR.  Gustavo now ranks 6th in school history in the 300 hurdles. Jesse and Jonathan followed him home in 2nd and 3rd to complete the sweep, Jesse doing so in a PR of 50.62.

Karen ran a huge 200 PR of 30.31, breaking 31 for the first time to place 2nd in the event. Ariana ran a solid 34.95 debut for the race. On the boys side Misael ran a small PR of 26.56 for 2nd place. Adrian ran 28 seconds for his debut in the event and 3rd place. Bryan Cuevas ran a solid PR of 28.72 for 4th.

The girls swept the 3200, running as a group. Raquel Rodriguez won in 15:30, getting her first ever event win. Eli placed 2nd in 15:32 and Carla Manzanares scored her first point in 15:32. A very solid showing for the group of girls. On the boys side, Hector Ramirez lead from gun to tape, running an impressive 10:57, to break 11 minutes for the first time and win the race. He did so with a first mile of 5:28 and a 2nd of 5:29. Del Mar’s strong distance runners were not able to hold on to Hector, placing 2nd and 3rd.

The girls 4×400 team of Denisse, Daisy, Jackie and Arlet ran 4:48 for a seasons best finishing 2nd to Del Mar. The boys netter their first 4×400 win of the season in 4 flat. Jesse, Gustavo A, Gustavo P, and Nathan made up the team.

Once again the girls jumpers and throwers performed in fantastic fashion. Long Jump was swept by Lyndel Ventura, Elyse Elder, and Crystal Nguyen. All three managed seasons bests of 14-8, 13-8 and 13-3 respectively. Lyndel and Crystal went 1-2 in Triple jump as well. Elyse had to leave the meet early, but won the high jump before doing so.

On the boys side, Hadji won both Long Jump and Triple Jump against the Dons who were thin in the jump events. Once again the Comets swept triple jump by simply having three jumpers, Manuel Villalobos and Misael took 2nd and 3rd. Adrian took 3rd in Long Jump with a PR of 15-6. Jonathan again won the high jump by clearing 5-2.

Alejandra and Valeria took 1st and 2nd in shot put once again, with throws of 27-7 and 27-4 respectively. Valeria PRd in discus, throwing 79-9 to win the event. Alejandra placed 3rd in 74-0 a seasons best. Karen threw 51-7 for a PR as did Valerie Flores who threw 44-1.

Daniel Medina recorded the first Shot Put victory of his career with a throw of 33-8. Osman Lopez showed strong progression, throwing 27-11. Nathan Rios also PRd throwing 21-10. In the discus Alex placed 2nd with a new PR of 93-6. Daniel took 3rd with a PR of 83-4. Osman managed nearly an 8 feet PR, throwing 78-11 in discus. Nathan R also netted a small PR of 52-1.

The team won the meet by scores of 86-40 on the boys side and 89-36 on the girls side. A small group of athletes will head to the De Anza Invitational on Saturday in pursuit of good times on the fast track, and the team will head to Live Oak high school next Thursday in a very challenging matchup.




Huge day for Comet distance crew at TKA Distance Carnival

Nathan Bernardo, Arlet Miranda and Erik Olsvold all earned Medals at the TKA Distance Carnival

The James Lick Track team saw 13 members of the distance squad take to the TKA distance carnival for an exciting night of competition. Intermittent rain was  not enough to dampen the strong performance of the team.

The meet kicked off at 5:40 PM with Elizabeth Guevara and Daisy Nava running the 1600. Both girls ran very well, with Eli finishing in 6:15, bettering her PR of 6:21, and Daisy taking her PR from 6:32 to 6:21. Arlet Miranda and Raquel Rodriguez followed up the performances of their more senior teammates with very strong PRS of their own. Arlet, who took 3rd place overall ran a 5:46, breaking 6 min for the very first time. This moves Arlet to 3rd on the school’s all time list, becoming the 6th girl in school history to break 6th and the fastest freshmen miler in JL history.  Her 1:19 final lap took her from 7th to 3rd place and indicates she is ready for a big 800m PR. Raquel ended the girls’ 1600 by running a 6:33, beating her own PR by 12 seconds. Both freshmen girls are now dramatically faster than they were in middle school. This is especially encouraging given that both runners struggled with injury in Cross Country.

The Varsity Boys 1600 was next. Nathan Bernardo not only started off ahead of last season, but ran a 2 second PR of 4:50.02 in his first competitive 1600 of the season. Hector Ramirez followed him to an impressive 4:54 clocking. Gustavo Aguilera and Gustavo Parra ran 5:06 and 5:09 respectively to round out the varsity group. Both boys look poised to break 5 minutes very soon.

The Frosh/Soph Boys 1600 was equally impressive. Azalea Zamora took his PR of 5:12, set only days before, down to 5:04. Inteus Castro-Lopez who has had a PR in the mid 5:20s since last season, busted through for a 5:09. Jesus Deloya rounded up the group  running 5:18, a seasons best over 10 seconds ahead of his TKA time from last year.

Hector managed to follow his strong 1600 with a 2:17.24, a PR by half a second. Azael ran 2:18, a very solid 800 time for his first competitive race. Inteus also managed a small PR running 2:25. The most impressive 800 on the day however was freshmen Erik Olsvold running 2:15.13 to win his heat and earn a medal placing 5th overall.

The day concluded with strong performances in the 3200. While the boys track team is working hard to restore a tradition of excellence, the girls side of history is far less impressive, and the team is working to build it every meet. As such prior to this TKA 2016, only 5 girls in school history had ever broke 14 minutes for he 3200. Arlet, Andrea Ortiz and Eli were all able to do at TKA, running 13:01, 13:49 and 13:50 respectively. Daisy ran a very strong 14:17 which would have been the 8th fastest time in school history, had her teammates not so dramatically improved the list.

Nathan managed a second PR on the day, running 10:41.90 for the 3200. He did so in a very even split race, running  5:21 first half and a 5:20 2nd half. Erik followed his strong 800 with an 11:33 3200, a strong freshmen time. The two Gustavo’s crossed the line in 11:44 and 11:49 both treating the race as a workout, and achieving seasons bests in the process.

The TKA Distance carnival proved to be a historic meet for the team. The distance runners will look to lead their team to a 2nd early season victory at Del Mar on thursday.

Comets Open WVAL Season with double victory over Gunderson






On March 10th, James Lick played host to the Gunderson Grizzlies for the Comets first league meet of the 2016 season. Gunderson came in with momentum, having dispatched Overfelt decisively the week before.

The meet kicked out with the 4×100 relays. Gunderson won both the girls and boys relays, in times of 46.9 and 57.2 respectively. The Grizzlies are typically strong in sprints and relays. Next up the distance runners took to the track trying to cut into the Gunderson lead. After much deliberation, we decided that following her excellent XC season Maria Mendoza would do distance training this track season. She played the part winning the 1600 in 6:02 and Elizabeth Guevara came in 3rd in a time of 6:21, a 2 second PR. Raquel Rodriguez placed 5th in 6:45, a 3 second PR.

The boys had a very strong showing with Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez dictating the race. They took the field through in a relatively slow first half mile of 2:40, then dropped a 2:29 second half to finish together at 5:09. Azalea Zamora narrowly missed 3rd place in a 9 second PR of 5:12. Erik Olsvold 5:18, Inteus Castro-Lopez 5:25 and Jesus Deloya 5:26, also started the season with solid miles.

The team took advantage of Gunderons weakness in hurdles. Andrea Ortiz, Susie Peterson and Valeria Cortez swept the event. Andrea is adjusting to a new stride pattern and rode it to a solid time of 18.75.

The boys swept the 110 hurdles as well with Hadji Yono-Cruz, Gustavo Aguilera and Jonatahn Rodriguez taking the points. Josue Marcello ran a pr of 23.94 in 5th place despite falling down. Jackie Landa ran a very strong debut 400 time of 1:11.25 for 2nd place in the girls 400. The boys 400 was swept by a strong Gunderson contingent.

Andrea and Karen Montes took 1st and 3rd in the 100m with times of 14.20 and 14.65, PRS for both girls. Freshmen Liliana Diaz ran a very strong 14.85 despite not having track spikes. Jackie and fellow freshmen Belen Sanchez ran small 100m press of 15.47 and 15.65 respectively. Ariana Santos also had a strong PR of 16.70, running under 17 for the first time. Mamarya Morfin and Elizabeth Perez both ran under 19 seconds for the first time this season.

Freshmen Adrian DeLaRosa was the team’s top performer in the 100m dash, placing 3rd in a time of 12.94. Austin Swank had a sizable PR of 13.55 as did Isaak Herrera who ran 14.34. Chris Okoro and Bryan Guavas made their debuts over the distance in 13.72 and 13.78, and Jaime Gomez ran over a second faster than at last weeks mini meet, clocking 14.80. Former Comet, Davion Thomas, won the 100 in 11.89 for the Grizzlies.

The team asserted themselves again in the 800m. Arlet Miranda and Daisy Nava coasted to victory in 2:53, holding hands across the finish line. On the boys side, Nathan ran a very strong even split 2:13.15 to hold off a hard charging Gunderson runner. Gustavo Parra placed 4th in a season best of 2:19 and Erik Olsvold ran a pr of 2:25 in the same race.

Andrea  won the 300 hurdles in 52.35 a very strong dual meet time. Susie took 3rd in 1:04. Andrea has her sights set on the league title over 300 meters. On the boys side, Gustavo A narrowly lost to Gundersons best 300 hurdler in 50.30. Jesse Chircop placed 3rd, and Josue ran 53.6 for 5th place in his 300 hurdle debut.

Maria returned from her victory in the 1600 to win the 200 in 29.33. Andrea placed 3rd in 29.9 to give the team their first two sub 30 200s of the year. Karen ran a strong PR of 31.04 for 5th place. The boys side witnessed the second sprint sweep by Gunderson on the day. Isaak managed a PR of 30.24.

Meanwhile the Comets were having a field day in the field events. On the girls side, the team outscored Gunderson 38-6 in Field events. Lynden Ventura won both horizontal jumps, with Elyse Elder and Crystal Nguyen coming in next for a sweep in triple jump. Elyse also placed 2nd in long jump and won the high jump with a clearance of 4-4.

Hadji lead a sweep of the Triple jump at 34-4. Hector, desperately seeking triple jump glory placed 2nd in 31 feet and Manuel Villalobos scored a point with a PR of 30-4. Hadji also placed 3rd in Long Jump which was won by former Comet Davion Thomas. Adrian had a solid PR of 14-7 for 4th. One of the most pivotal victories of the day was Jonathan winning the high jump in a  close battle at 5-2. He was aided by the good sportsmanship of Gunderson head coach Joseph Miclette, who gave Jonathan key tips despite not being his coach.

The throwers pulled their weight as well. Alejandra Ceron threw 28 feet, a seasons best to win the Shot Put. fast rising teammate Valeria threw 27-2 for a new PR to place second. In the discus the results were flipped with Valeria wining in a big PR of 76-5, and Alejandra taking 2nd in 71 feet. Valerie Flores managed a small PR of 40 feet as well.

On the boys side, Daniel Medina had a big seasons best of 34-10 to place second in Shot Put. Pablo Segovia took 3rd with a throw of 31-2.50. Osman Lopez managed a small PR of 25-11 and would go o to throw a strong PR in discus of 70 feet. The boys came up strong in discus, sweeping the event. Pablo lead the group with a big breakthrough throw of 105-5.50 beating his PR of 98-1 from league finals 2015. Josh garcia and Alex Alnzo filled in behind him at 87-6 and 86-5 respectively. The team looks likely to have three boys above 90 feet for the first time in years.

The Girls 3200 had a miscue, where all but one girl only ran 7 laps. Elizabeth and Raquel were 1st and 3rd for the 7 lap run, but a Gunderson girl who finished the race was credited with the win. On the boys side, with the meet 55-57 in Favor of Gunderson, the trio of Hector, Azael, and Inteus swept the 3200 to put the team at 64 points and clinch victory. The Gunderson boys won the 4×400 making the final score a very tight 64-62 victory for the Comets. the girls side won the 4×400 rounding up their day with a decisive 87-35 victory, leaving several more points from the 3200 on the table.

The Comets started their season just how they wanted to, with a pair of victories and a great overall performance, both on the track and as meet hosts. The distance runners will take to the TKA distance carnival Saturday, and the team will head to Del Mar next Saturday to try to extend their record to 2-0.

Comets Fight Rain to Open Season at Willow Glen Invitational



The James Lick Comets took to the Willow Glen Invitational on March 5th to get some early season marks and times, in order to assess their fitness. Unfortunately, due to pouring rain which covered the track in puddles, and 20 mile per hour headwinds, fast times and marks were not in the offing. Even so the team left with a good idea of where they are at, especially in relation to rival athletes. We leave the meet knowing that significantly better marks are already possible with better conditions.

The meet kicked off with several field events in the pouring rain.  The Frosh/Soph Boys saw Misael Herrera and Adrian DeLaRosa compete for the first time. Adrian’s best jump was 14-2 while Misael was unable to get a legal jump in  on the soggy runway. Alejandra Ceron and Valeria Cortez tied for 6th place in the Frosh/Soph girls discus, with throws of 65-10, scoring the first points on the day for the team. Daniel Medina placed 8th in the Forsh/Soph Boys Shot Put with a throw of 32-8 for the 10lb. ball. Bryan Cuevas threw 29-5.5 in his first official competition. Later in the day Alejandra and Valeria both earned medals by placing 2nd and 4th respectively in the frosh/soph shot put. Alejandra threw 26-4.25 while Valeria threw 25-00.50

Alex Alonzo struggled with the rain, only throwing 29-1 for the varsity Shot Put, and Josh Garcia had a strong debut, throwing 77-7 in Discus and narrowly missing scoring a point for the team.

The running events kicked off with with the boys Frosh/ Soph 3200. Azael Zamora ran a very strong debut of 11:19, with Inteus Castro-Lopez not far behind at 11:33. Despite the extremely damning conditions, Hector Ramirez ran 11:06 in the Varsity 3200, and Guillermo Villalobos ran 11:20. Hector and Guillermo are way ahead of where they were at last year at Willow glen, when they ran 11:44 and 11:46 in far better conditions. Despite the wind and rain they missed their PRS by mere seconds.

The hurdlers and to endure the worst conditions of all the morning events. Andrea Ortiz ran 20.29 despite awful conditions, showing she is likely already in low 19 shape in decent weather. A young team of hurdlers followed her, with Susie Peterson clocking 22.64, Valeria running 22.94 and Thalia Petronelli running 23.68. The puddles on the track and intense wind likely added a nearly second to each hurdlers times. Josue Marcello ran 12.68 for the 65 hurdles, winning his heat in the process.

The 100m and 200m dashes saw a number of Comets compete in the difficult conditions. Josue started the group off with a time of 14.54. Manuel Villalobos ran 14.94, with Adrian and Misael pacing the group of freshmen with times of 13.42 and 13.70. Misael ran 13.02 only a week ago, demonstrating what an effect the wind and rain were having on athletes performance.

Elizabeth Perez ran 20.07, Aliana Santos ran 17.31 and Thalia ran 17.56 to get the girls 100 meters underway. Denise Calixto ran 16.65 for her first ever track meet, while Susie and freshmen Belen Sanchez ran times of 16.13 and 16.65 respectively, solid times for the conditions. Freshmen Jackie Landa had perhaps the most impressive performance, turning in a 15.73 with no spikes, a time only bettered by Andrea’s 15.32 among Comet athletes. Jackie followed her time up with a 32.94 in the 200 later. Andrea ran 31.09 for the event while teammates Denisse and Maria Mendoza clocked times of 35.63 and 30.57.

Misael wrapped his day up with a time of 27.02 in the 200. Bryan Cuevas also ran the 200 following his throwing of shot put and hit a time of 28.83, a solid time for a young thrower.

The team had a  large group of athletes contesting the 800. Daisy Nava started the action by winning her heat brilliantly in 2:50. Daisy ran a very smart race and nearly equalled her PR, with the downpour at its worst state of the entire day. Maria struggled with knee pain, but ran a soaking 2:49 in  the next heat. The girls 800 was concluded with freshmen Arlet Miranda placing 3rd overall for frosh/soph girls in a time of 2:41. This wrapped up the  meet for the frosh/soph girls with the team finishing in 7th place for the division out of over 40 teams. This indicates a very strong future for the girls team, and after one week of compassion, Arlet, Maria and Daisy will start next week as the #1, #2 and #3 ranked 800m runners in the WVAL.

The boys 800s saw strong performances from Gustavo Aguilera and Gustavo Parra, who both ran 2:21 in the pouring rain. Nathan Bernardo had an off race to finish with a time of 2:17, and Jesus Deloya battled his way to a 2:28. Following the 800m runs, the meet director made the decision to cancel the remaining events because of the dramatically bad weather.

The team will be hosting Gunderson on Thursday March 10th in their first league meet of the season. Last year the Comets beat Gunderson on both sides, but they look to be a strong challenge based on the Willow Glen Invitational. The Comets will battle them hard this Thursday and work to start their league season 1-0!