JLXC Course History: Half Moon Bay High School

The Half Moon Bay High School Cross Country Course, site of the famous and historic Artichoke Invitational, is one of the Comet’s  most raced courses. The 17 team Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) uses the course for some of its league meets, and many schools trek to it yearly for the Artichoke Invitational in the cool and scenic city. The Comets will do so on Saturday October 1st, so now is a good time to look back over the school’s history on the course.

James Lick first ran the Artichoke Invitational in 1979, and ran it every year through 1989. Those 10 years provided a strong foundation of the team’s all time lists for the course. After a hiatus, James Lick returned to the Artichoke Invitational in 1997, and has run the invite every year since. 2016 Will be the 29th time the Comets race the course, and the all time list for the course is very strong given all the years of history on it.

The Half Moon Bay HS course was 2.25 miles for most of it’s history. Construction on the baseball field which neighbors the starting line in 2006 made it so there was no invite that year, and in 2007 the invite returned with it’s current 2.33 mile course. The course is very similar to it’s original format, the only difference being that runners now run up a small hill to go around the baseball field before heading to the track, compared to early years where runners would run straight across the field to the track. The course is mostly flat, save for the famous “Cougar Hill” a short but steep excursion a little more than half way through the race.

Rather than have 2 separate all time lists, times from before 2007 have been converted to the 2.33 mile format. This has been done with the use of the XC stats course converter,basically taking the pace of runners form the shorter course, and calculating what that pace would achieve for the longer course, with a few seconds added to account for the small added hill.

Overall, the course is a great chance for athletes to go out and run fast paces on a fun short course with a great atmosphere. The fact that we now take the team to the beach following the meet has strangely down wonders for our meet attendance…

Here is a history of James Lick Cross Country at the Artichoke Invitational, collectively the team’s favorite invitational.

1979 was the first year the Comets ran the course, and it saw some of the earliest quality times on the course. Paul Simmons ran what equates to a converted 12:56 for the course, and teammate Jose Ruiz ran 13:12. The Team also won the small schools team title that year, with a  team time of 1:04:35 (64:35) for the course. The Artichoke invite has always divided the meet into a small schools section and a large schools section, giving smaller schools like ours the chance to compete against fellow small schools directly.

1980 was perhaps the best year competitively in JLXC history. The team ran what stands as the team course record that year of 1:02:55 (62:55) to win the meet for the 2nd year in a row. That year the team had what stands as the #2 time in school history, Frank Munoz ran 11:44 which converts to 12:14 (and 5:15 mile pace) for the all time list. Ben Trujillo ran 12:36(c) and Gilbert Zaragosa ran 12:47 (c) for 8th and 11th on the school’s all time list. Adam Flores nailed down the 20th place on the school’s list as well by running 13:13 (c).

1981 saw the additions of strong times from Randy Pangelina, 12:22 (c) Rich Diaz 12:46 (c) and Jim Saldivar, 12:49 (c). Their team time of 1:02:57 (62:57) is the #2 team time in school history and gave the team their 3rd straight team title at the Artichoke Invitational, and no Comet team since has won the team title at the invite. The James Lick boys teams of the late 70s and earlier 80s were some of the school’s best, seeing MHAL league titles in 1978, 1980 and 1981.

1981 was also a good season for the girls team. The girl’s team would win their first ever league title in the season, their only MHAL title in school history and only the second championship in JLXC history on the girl’s side. Kim Willoughby ran a converted 16:02 that season, which stands as the #3 all time performance for the school to this point. her teammate, Silva, also ran 16:32 (c) for the #4 time on the course for JLXC. While the girls team has never had the competitive strength of their male counterparts, the early 80s and recent years have yielded quality times. Thanks to the abundance of years run at the Artichoke Invitational, the girls all time list for the course is one of the few in which all 20 members ran under 8 minute mile pace for the course.

As the 80’s rolled on, so did good times on both lists. 1982 saw Lisa Murphy run 17:54 (c) for #16 on the school’s all time list. 1984 saw Michelle Ruiz run 17:23 (c) which stands at the teams 7th best ever time. Greg Machado also ran the boys #7 time in this year, clocking in at 12:33 (c)

1986 saw Joe Amendt run 12:18 (c) for #3 all time, and teammate jim Strachan run 12:26 (c) for #6 all time in school history. The team clocked in with a combined team time of 1:05:41 (65:41) as well, for #4 in team history. in 1988 Lanoura Goulart ran 17:51 (c) for #14 on the girl’s list, and the year before the #20 entry of 18:06 (c) was made by Heather Haney.

Following the hiatus of the early 90s, where JLXC experienced a few down years as a team, the team came on strong with some quality times in the 90’s. in 1998, Will Crane ran what stands as the school record. His 11:43 converts to 12:13 (c) which I will use as the course record for the team at a blazing 5:14 mile pace.

The strongest team of the 2000s was the team of 2000, managing a team time of 1:05:39 (85:49) for the #5 combined team time in school history. The team was lead by Eric Santos at 12:22 (c). Teammates Ivan Navarro and Brent Nichols would run their PRS in 2001, with times of 12:50 (c) and 13:13 (c). In 2002 Jose Gutierrez ran 12:42 (c) and a few years later Erick Herrera ran 13:04 (c). No addition to the boys list would be made for a full decade, until Nathan Bernardo ran 13:12 in 2015.

The girl’s list by comparison saw many of it’s best times in the mid-current 2000s. Christina Avalos: 17:32 (c) Elizabeth Topete 17:33 (c) Joanna Rabano 17:34 (c) and Anita Castillo 17:43 (c) filled out the 9-12 all time performances during the early 2000s. The team of 2003 ran a team of 1:29:40 (89:40) for what stands as the #2 team time in school history, one of only 3 times that the team averaged under 18 for their top 5 girls. Kayla Matusda ran a then course record of 15:45 (c) in 2005, the only one of the 10 team course records she set during her career to have fallen since her graduation. Teammate Elsie Carillo, currently the XC coach at Shepherd middle school, ran 17:51 in 2007 for #15 on the school’s all time list as well.

2009 saw the 16:42 of Ana Tapia, but the 2014 season, where the girls won the WVAL, the second championship in school history in the girls side, yielded dramatic improvement to the list. Daniela Camacho set a new school record, running 15:38 for the course. Paloma Contreras at 17:25, Evalilia Garcia at 17:47 and Julie Cruz at 17:54 all added their names to the list this season as well. Maria Mendoza ran 17:55 to finish that teams combined time of 1:26:39 (86:39) a school record by 3 minutes. A year later, Maria would improve her time to 16:42, moving her to #6 all time and helping her team run 1:29:43 (89:43) for the 3rd best team time in school history.

What does this all mean for this year’s team? 

The class of 2004 was a key turning point in JLXC history. While the program began gradually weakening in the late 80’s and 90’s, it still produced very competitive season through most of the late 90’s and early 2000s.The team of 2003 was very strong, lead by Jose Gutierrez, the team went 7-0 in the MHAL (A league of the BVAL) but failed to win the league championship, because they lost to two teams at BVAL finals. James Lick in it’s heyday would consistently run in the mid 80 minute range as a team at Crystal Springs (83 minutes to 87 minutes with 85 being very typical) and during the 80s, the team would consistently run in the mid 60 minuet range for Artichoke (after converting time to their current format). The team of 2003 ran a team time of 67:27, slightly better than the #10 team time of 1987 at 67:39.

A time in this range would represent the team truly having returned to the form it showed consistently throughout much of it’s history. The team would also likely have to run this time without aid of Erik Olsvold, one of the team’s top runners. If  the Comets taking to the course this Saturday can combine to add their names to the top team times list, they ill be well poised to restore James Lick’s status as a leading school in distance running at bigger courses like Crystal Springs. The team is in a good place to see several additions, as Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo are likely to be the team’s first athletes under 13 minutes for the course since 2002.

On the girl’s side, the team will look to run a solid team time, with the goal being another sub 90 minute clocking. Arlet Miranda will go after the school record for the course, and runners like Daisy Nava and Milka Perez should have a good chance to add their names to the school’s all time list.

The Artichoke Invitational is just days away, and the Comets will have the benefit of 2 hard weeks of training in their legs since their last meet. Look for the invitational to be a great indicator of the team’s status and fitness. Recap will be up soon after the race, (either Saturday evening or Sunday morning).

Thank you for reading.

-Benny Reeves
















Comets have fun day at annual Watermelon Run

The team running along “service road” in Alum Rock Park


The Comets participated in the JLXC annual Watermelon run on Friday 9/23. This event has been a team tradition for over a decade now. Athletes contest the North Rim Timed course, the 3.03 mile version of North Rim, which starts and ends at the park entrance. This is our standard time trial course, and It  has proved useful as a means of tracking improvement, and doing course conversions for different athletes.

Athletes earn watermelon slices for participating in the run, and the winner of the run (calculated by time that day, improvement from original time trial, dedication, leadership etc) gets the biggest piece.

The run itself yielded many of the best North Rim timed performances we’ve seen in the 7 years of the courses use. The North Rim timed course, due to it’s hilly nature yields the teams slowest times on any course each season. In Short, whatever an athlete can do for North Rim Timed, they should be able to run faster on any other course we race, and multiple minutes faster on the shorter league race courses.

Nathan Bernardo finished the run first in 17:42, a terrific time, becoming the first athlete to break 18 minutes for the course. This was a poignant moment for Nathan, whose first ever timed run for the team was North Rim Timed during his freshmen year, where he ran 24:27. We have never done the Watermelon run so early in the season, meaning that athletes should still improve considerably from here, but Nathan’s time indicates that he is already in shape to run under 16 minutes at Montgomery Hill. Teammates Azael Zamora and Erik Olsvold were not far behind, running strong times of 18:08 and 18:19 for the #2 and #3 best times on the course all time.

After a few off races, Inteus Castro-Lopez redoubled his focus on training this week, and was looking to run a low 19 while staying relaxed the entire run. He did so with a time of 19:02, 40 seconds better than last year’s Watermelon run in a season where he went on to run 17:00 exactly at Montgomery Hill. Gustavo Parra continues to progress rapidly in his senior year, running 19:10, the first time he’s broken 20 for the course, nearly breaking 19 in the process.

Jesus Deloya ran a small PR of 21:30, and Arlet Miranda ran a big PR of 21:47 to be the first girl in. The freshmen boys began to stream in afterwards. Jerricho Ventura and Mark Orpia came in at 23:33 and 23:36, with Nien Tran at 22:46 close behind. This indicates that all 3 boys should be able to run in the low 20 minute range at Montgomery Hill (Mark has already run in the 20s for STAL 1 and 2). Austin Swank and Isaak Herrera ran big PRS of 23:18 and 23:35 to lead the reserve boys. Melvin Estrada had an off race, but nonetheless ran a nearly 2 minute PR of 24:13, with Hugo Marquez at 24:14 right behind him. Kevin Bach came in with a huge PR of 24:37 as well. With Melvin already having run in the low 20s for STAL 1, and with Vincent Giglio likely being added to the team, the 2-2 Frosh/Soph Boys will be looking to end their season very strong, and should have the goal of getting 5 boys under 20 by STAL #5.

Manuel Villalobos was next in 24:55, a good reserve time. Daisy Nava and Milka Perez streamed in at 26:24 and 26:25, good PRS for the two, though I think they could have run faster. Denisse Calixto ran a solid 27:38, continuing to progress as a varsity girl, and Analilia Regla ran a solid PR of 28:40 despite feeling sick.

Susie Peterson, Aliana Santos and Ashley Preciado clocked in with times of 35:33, 35:55 and 37:03 respectively. Finally, the biggest PRS on the day came from Joseph Allen and Jocelyn Rios. Joseph ran a time of 52:08 at North Rim Timed a month ago, and at the Watermelon run he worked his way down to 42:24. Jocelyn’s improvement was even more colossal, from 55:58 at North Rim timed to 42:29 at the watermelon run.

The Varsity boys at the top, and the reserve runners at the bottom both showed the indomitable spirit that XC runners need, and earned remarkable improvement over the course of the season.

The team has another week of training before heading up to Half Moon Bay for the historic Artichoke Invitational. Artichoke Course History will be up soon to give context to the race. Artichoke is the team’s 2nd or 3rd best all time course list, as the team has been running the invitational nearly every year since the early 1970s. The team will use the race as a final buildup to STAL #3 at Montgomery Hill, in a highly anticipated matchup with Pioneer.

Overall, the team ran very well at the Watermelon Run despite the difficulty of running all out without another team to race. The team is in a good place, particularly on the boys side, and will look to prove that again at the Artichoke Invitational.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves


STAL 2 and DLS Invitational recaps

This blog will summarize the team’s week, both at STAL 2 and at the DeLaSalle Invitational.

On Thursday 9/15, the team and their 2nd league meet of the year which was also the team’s final league meet of the season at Alum Rock Park. The team was facing both Prospect and Sobrato, two of the top girls teams in the BVAL last season. It being the team’s last meet of the year in Alum Rock Park, the Comets were looking to end on a high note.

The Frosh/Soph Boys started the team off well with a split meet. The team was lead by Mark Orpia who improved his PR a small margin to 20:45. Melvin Estrada was close behind him. Jerricho Habon was the team’s 3rd boy with a small PR of 21:11, and Nien Tran had a huge PR of 21:17. The absence of Rudy Peterson hurt the team however, with 5th boy Kevin Bach not crossing the line until 22:40. Hugo Marquez was just behind Kevin and Daniel Portillo rounded out the team with a huge PR of 23:18. The team was able to defeat Sobrato, but fell to Prospect, giving them a 2-2 record on the season.

The Varsity Girls team was the next group up. Arlet Miranda lead the team with a very strong time of 19:42, good for a 26 second PR and #2 time on the school’s all time list. Her time put her 4th place overall in the very challenging STAL division as well. The team and to deal with the absence of two teammates, Maria Mendoza and Analilia Regla.Daisy nava was the team’s second runner with a 14 second PR of 23:15. Mika Perez came in next, a bit off of her PR. Denisse Calixto came through with a big PR of 24:22, far better than her 25:38 from a week ago. Belen Sanchez also ran strong in her first ever XC race, finishing in 24:39 to be the team’s 5th runner.

The Varsity Boys team again came away with a pair of comfortable victories to move them to 4-0 on the season. Erik Olsvold lead the team with a very strong PR of 16:04, taking 2nd place overall. Nathan Bernardo was 4th in a small PR of 16:23. Azael Zamora battled through sickness to run 16:34 and finish 7th. Inteus Castro-Lopez and Gustavo Aguilera finished in 17:26 and 17:31, small PRS for the pair of them as well, they were 14th and 16th overall. Gustavo Parra finished in 17:59, and Jesus Deloya rounded out the team as the 7th boy. It’s shaping up to already be a strong season for the boys, this meet clinched a winning season for the boys team. Currently, the only team that looks to seriously threaten the Comets is Pioneer. The Comet boys ran a team time of 83:59 (1:23:59) and Pioneer was less than a minute back. No other team ran faster than 89 minutes by comparison. With a 2 week training period before STAL #3 at Montgomery Hill where James Lick and Pioneer will square off, the stage is being set up for a dramatic showdown. Had James Lick raced Pioneer on Thursday, the Comets would have prevailed 26-29, a very close meet.

The Reserve Boys had a good meet as a team as well. David Bejines once again lead the group in a small PR of 20:33. Isaak Herrea was next in 21:03, a 30 second PR and Austin Swank managed a small PR as the team’s 3rd boy. Esteban Garcia-Gomez, making his XC debut ran 21:59 to help the reserve team as well. Manuel Villalobos ran a small PR of 24:35, while Angel Hernandez and Joseph Allen made their XC debuts.

Susie Peterson lead the team in the girl’s JV race in 27:21. Camilla Hernandez, making her XC debut was just behind her in 27:25, a good opening time. Aliana Santos PRd to give the team 3 girls under 28 minutes. Diana Romero and Jocelyn Rios helped fill out the group, with teammates Ashley Preciado, 33:04, Ally Floreza, 24:09, and Brittany Salazar, 34:00 all running PRS. Valerie Flores and Nayley Flores rounded out the reserve team and finished the Comets day.


DeLaSalle Invitational 


Varsity Boys Left to Right: Nathan Bernardo, Gustavo Aguilera, Gustavo Parra, Inteus Castro-Lopez, Azael Zamora, Jesus Deloya


On Saturday September 17th, the Comets took to the DeLaSalle Invitational in Concord to compete in the very competitive Nike Sponsored race. The invitational takes place in Newhall Park, Varsity teams contesting a 3 mile race while all others run 2 miles. This being the 8th time in school history the Comets have contested the Invite, the team was looking to leave their best mark yet. Recent history has shown that a runner should be able to run faster at Crystal Springs, (The BVAL league finals and often CCS course) than they can for the 3 mile in Newhall Park, giving the team a good reference as to their fitness. David Bejines started the team off strong running a time of 13:08 in the boys JV race, his first time running under 7 minute mile pace for the team by a huge margin. Joseph Allen made his invitational debut in the same race, running 25:24.

The Varsity Girls were the next team to see action. Arlet Miranda ran a strong time of 20:23, her first time breaking 7 minute pace for a full 3 mile race. Arlet ran this strong time, despite a slow first mile of 7:06. Realizing her mistake, (after I yelled at her to start racing already…) Arlet ran 6:39 pace for the remaning two miles, good for the #2 time in school history on the course. Milka Perez was the next Comet in at 25:20, placing her 14th on the school’s all time list for the course. Her time is faster than athletes from last year like Andrea Ortiz and Jennifer Custodio, who went on to have very strong varsity seasons. Milk’s rehab from her torn ACL is going well. Analilia Regla finished off the Varsity girl’s day. Despite having been sick early in the week, Analilia ran the fastest pace of her XC career, finishing in 26:46, a faster pace than she ran for the 2 mile version of the course a year ago.

The Varsity Boys group was up next, and had their minds set on a team goal of under 90 mins, after setting a new team record of 96 min last year on a day where they underperformed. Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo lead the group in 17:11 and 17:13. Nathan ran nearly 20 seconds better than his 17:31 school record from last season, but the record now belongs to Azael. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran 18:23 for a solid time of his birthday, and Gustavo Parra ran a very strong 18:31 for his best ever 3 mile by far. Gustavo Aguilera finished off the group’s top 5 with an 18:45, a more than 20 second PR. The team rewrote the all time list, with Azael becoming the school record holder, Inteus becoming #5, Gustavo P #6 and Gustavo A #7 on the school’s all time list. Jesus Deloya rounded out the team at 20:16, and the group narrowly missed their team goal, running 90:04 as a group.

The JV girls race was also a success for the team. The team saw 4 performances, Valerie Flores, 19:34, Diana Romero, 20:58, Ashley Preciado, 22:29 and Ally Floreza in 23:10. All 4 girls ran the best pace of their XC career so far.

The Frosh/Soph Boys was the team’s final race on the day. Vincent Giglio made his 2016 XC debut in style with a strong season opening time of 12:56. Vincent’s time is good for 11th on the school’s all time list, and sets him up to be a big Frosh/Soph factor in the STAL. Mark Orpia ran 13:29, 6:45 pace to break the 7 minute mile pace barrier for the first time. Jerricho Habon was next in 14:12, and he was followed in by Nien Tran at 14:24 and Melvin Estrada in 14:34. Kevin Bach was the last boy in for the team in 16:08, rounding out a very solid day for the team overall.

It was a good week of racing for the team, and they will now have 2 full weeks of training to work towards faster times before heading to Half Moon Bay for the Artichoke Invitational on October 1st. The Comets will likely contest the team’s watermelon run before then, in preparation for a big showdown with Pioneer on October 5th.

Thank you for reading,

-Benny Reeves


Comets Rolling After Lowell Invitational

The Freshmen Boys Left to Right: Hugo Marquez, Jerricho Haobn, Nien Tran, Melvin Estrada and Daniel Portillo


The James Lick Comets took to the Lowell Invitational in Golden Gate Park this Saturday for only the 2nd time in school history. The event went so well however, that it may become a yearly one for the Comets. The Lowell Course is clearly a fast one, with the  2.13 mile FS Course, and 2.93 mile JV/Varsity Course both being overall very flat. The 61 degree weather at race time, also made for great distance running conditions. Overall the Comets capitalized on these factors, running very encouraging times, though the lack of JL history at Lowell makes contextualizing these results a bit tricky.

A relatively small group attended the meet, with the Comets only forming two full racing teams. The first race of the day saw one, where 5 Comet Boys ran the Freshmen race. Jerricho Habon and Melvin Estrada lead the group, finishing in 14:28 and 14:33. Both runners broke the 7 minute mile pace barrier for an XC course for the first time. Both boys worked hard all summer as incoming freshmen, and neither had broken 8 minutes for a single mile before this season. Nien Tran was the next Comet in at 15:17. Nien’s pace of 7:11, was also by far the fastest pace of his young XC career. Hugo Marquez clocked in at 16:08, 7:35 pace and Daniel Portillo finished the Comets race with a  16:53, also breaking the 8 minute mile pace barrier for the first time. With this being the Comets second year ever at Lowell, Jerrichio’s time establishes a new 2.13 mile course record for the team.

The next race for the team was the JV Boys, shortly followed by the JV girls. Isaak Herrera continues to build on a strong start to his season, running  time of 20:37 for the 2.93 mile course. Isaak had never run under 7:30 pace for an XC race before, but at Lowell he nearly broke 7:00 pace. Alfonso Farias’ time of 23:09, meant that every boy on the team ran under 8:00 mile pace for the day.

The JV girls race also saw improvements for the team. Aliana Santos built on a solid XC debut on Thursday, with a 27: 42 showing at the Lowell Invite. Aliana’s kick was something to behold (see video) where she passed over 20 girls in the final 500 meters of the race. Elizabeth Perez broke 30 minutes for the first time on a course longer than 2.5 miles. Her time of 29:43, was nearly the best XC pace of her career. Ally Floreza ran 33:21, all 3 girls ran faster for the Lowell invite than they did on the shorter Alum Rock Course on Thursday.

The Varsity Girls saw some very strong performances as well. Following her breakout run of 7:03 mile pace on Thursday, our goal for Arlet was to break the 7 minute mile pace barrier for he first time. Arlet’s time of 19:27 had her shattering that goal, with a mile pace of 6:38, and the establishment of her very first JLXC Course record (and hopefully not the last). Maria Mendoza rebounded from an off race on Thursday, running 21:19 and 7:16 pace compared to an 8:01 pace on Thursday. Her race, along with the strong time of Denisse Calixto (1:30 faster than she ran on Thursday) is a good sign for a girls team that started their STAL season 0-2. Denisse ran 24:16, her pace of 8:16 being the fastest of her career to this point.

The final race of the day, and the most anticipated with it being the team’s best group this year, was the Varsity Boys. Religious commitments prevent rising star Erik Olsvold from competing on Saturdays, but the team was eager to prove they could excel without the team’s #2 runner from Thursday (as they will likely need to do at CCS the year). The team has been hoping to not only win the STAL, but to break into the top 8 overall at BVAL Finals and beat some MHAL (‘A’ Division) teams in the process. No JL team since 2004 has finished in the top 10 at BVAL finals. The fact that the team had two MHAL teams in their race at Lowell was very motivating for them. Comparing themselves against two MHAL teams in the same race is a great way to asses their fitness against tough competition.  Evergreen (last year’s 6th team at BVAL Finals, and the #1 Frosh/Soph team) and Santa Teresa (last year’s #9 team at BVAL finals) both toed the line with the Comets. The sustained success of these two programs, both being in the MHAL for over 8 years in a row now, combined with student bodies which more than double James Lick’s in number, make the Comets a clear underdog against the two teams. It should also be noted that with MHAL #1 taking place last Thursday, both Evergreen and Santa Teresa’s Varsity boys teams showed their strength, starting off undefeated in the ‘A’ division.

At the Lowell Invitational however, the Comets defeated them both. The team will need to work extremely hard to stay up with these top teams, and will try to take them on at BVAL Finals where it counts. While Invitationals are more about experience and times than they are competition, this was a huge confidence building victory for the team. The team was spearheaded by the 1-2 punch of Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo, running 16:22 and 16:23 respectively despite running very different races. Azael ran a very fast first mile and may have exerted himself too much, he had to fight to hold off Evergreen’s best boy who ran 16:23. Nathan on the other hand, was well behind Evergreen’s best boy and Santa Teresa’s best boy (who ran 16:27), with only 200 meters to go, but managed to run them both down, finishing just behind Azael in the placings. Both boys ran under 5:40 pace for the first time in their XC careers.

Inteus Casto-Lopez was the team’s 3rd boy in 17:19, running under 6 minute pace for the first time this year and the second time in his career. This was a solid rebound from his 17:55 on Thursday. Gustavo Aguilera ran 17:34, breaking the 6 minute mile pace barrier for the first time in his XC career. Gustavo Parra nearly did the same as the team’s 5th boy, running 17:45 for 6:03 pace. Jesus Deloya rounded out the group with a time of 18:34 for 6:19 pace, the first time Jesus has broken 6:30 pace for any XC course. Their team time of 1:25:27 (85:27) is in line with the Comets goal of running in the Mid 80s as a team for 3 mile/near 3 mile courses this season.

Overall the race was a fantastic day for the team. Some of the paces/times the team achieved at Lowell were almost too good to believe. The Comets will look to build on their performance at Lowell, and the athletes who managed to run faster times at Lowell than they did for STAL 1, will look ahead to next Thursday’s matchup with Prospect to end their Alum Rock racing season strong.

Things are looking bright for the Comets.

Thank you for reading,

-Benny Reeves


Comets Open Season With First League Meet

The Varsity Girls on the Starting Line 


STAL # 1 took place on September 8th, with the Comets facing off against Branham and Leigh. The temperature at the start of the first race was 82 degrees (Fahrenheit) making it a bit warm for very fast times, but not too bad compared with some of the practice temperatures this season.

The Frosh/Soph Boys kicked off the action on the 2.85 mile course. Melvin Estrada and Mark Orpia came up big, running 20:43 and 20:46 to lead the team. With Jerricho Habon 3rd in 21:14, it became clear that the team’s strength would come from having  tightly-nit pack. Jerricho was the team’s expected number one runner, but a fall earlier in the week resulted in a bruised hip, and he ended up running a much slower pace than he did at last weeks Alumni Race.  Lone sophomore, Rudy Peterson and Hugo Marquez sealed off the team’s top 5, with times of 21:23 and 21:46, giving the team it’s whole top 5 within about a minute of each other. Kevin Bach and Nien Tran ran 22:29 and 22:39 to rap the race up for the Comets. Melvin, Hugo and Mark all ran significantly faster mile paces at STAL 1, than they did at the Alumni Race, showing that they are progressing rapidly. The Frosh/Soph Boys beat Leigh solidly, by a score of 26-33. They were narrowly defeated by Branham, with a  final score of 27-28, giving the a 1-1 start to the season.

The Varsity girls were the next team up. Arlet Miranda opened her season with a very strong 20:08, a huge improvement from her 21:55 to open last season. This time makes her #3 in school history and placed her 6th overall in the extremely competitive (on the girls side) STAL division. Maria Mendoza was second for the team in 22:51. Daisy Nava and Milka Perez came in together in 23:29 and 23:34, both runers finishing in the middle of the pack. Denisse Calixto was the 5th girl at 25:36 and Analillia Regla was 6th in 25:47. Both girls ran huge PRS, but the lack of depth to support the 5th girl role on the varsity team was evident. The Comets fell to both Branham and Leigh on the Varsity Girls side.

The Varsity boys team was another story however. Based on time trials and the Alumni Race, as a whole several of the boys underperformed somewhat severely, but the team nonetheless won the meet comfortably against both Branham and Leigh. In fact, the boys would have beaten any team in the STAL, despite the fact that several boys had bad races. Azael Zamora lead the group in 16:17 in what was a solid performance and a Huge PR for him. Erik Olsvold was just behind him in the same time, the two boys were 2nd and 3rd overall. Azael and Erik ran 17:55 and 18:14 to start last season, showing their remarkable development of the past year. Nathan Bernardo had an off race, failing to improve on his time from last season, but still placing 5th overall in a very strong 16:34. Gustavo Aguilera crossed the line in 17:44, and Inteus Castro-Lopez was 5th in 17:55. All things considered, this was probably the worst Cross Country race of Inteus’ career, but he was 16th overall as the 5th boy nonetheless. By the time Inteus finished as the 5th boy, only one other team (Pioneer) had 3 boys in. Gustavo Parra was the 6th boy in 18:10 and Jesus Deloya the 7th in 19:15, both boys improving on last years season opening times. The Varsity boys start 2-0 overall. Their teaam time of 84:46 (1:24:46) is the second best team time in school history, and 2 minutes faster than last season already.

The Reserve boys were the next team up. David Bejines lead the group in 20:38, a strong reserve time. Isaak Herrera ran a huge Pr to finish in 21:29. Austin Swank rounded out the team’s captains in 21:55. Daniel Portillo 24:15, Alfonso Farias 24:18, and Manuel Villalobos in 24:32 were next. Jesse Friaz rounded out the group in 25:57, giving the team 7 Reserve boys. While reserve boys is ethnically “non scoring” They beat Branham and lost to Leigh giving them a record of 1-1 though the league will not officially score them.

The JV/ reserve girls was the final race race of the day. Susie Peterson lead the group in 27:08, a 3 minute PR to start the season. Ariana Santos ran a solid 28:05 in her XC debut. Valerie Flores lead the reserve girls in 28:49. Diana Romero and Elizabeth Perez ran 31:19 and 32:57 respectively. Freshmen Ashley Preciado was the 5th JV girl in 33:25. Brittany Salazar and Ally Floreza ended the Comets day with times of 34:51 and 35:36. The JV girls fell to Branham but beat Leigh, opening the season 1-1.

Overall it was a good day for the Comets. The team competed well, especially on the boys side, and went home with a lot of PRs. The Comets who had an off-race will look to rebound Saturday in Golden Gate Park, and then the team will prepare for one more meet at Alum Rock Park on Thursday 9/15.

JLXC History: Alum Rock Long Course / STAL League Meet Previews

This blog contains both a course history of Alum Rock Park’s Long course, and a breakdown of the upcoming STAL league meets, including a cool ( I think so anyway) competition chart.  

With just two days left until the 2016 Season opens for the Comets, now is a great time to look over the school’s history at the current Alum Rock race course. Alum Rock Park, only 2 miles away from James Lick, has always given the Comets a home field advantage. Just yesterday, the Comets did hill repeats up the signature North Rim hill, in preparation for their league race.

Alum Rock Park’s short course (the 2.25 mile version which you can read about here: https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/jlxc-historyalum-rock-short-course/)   was used for MHAL Finals and the Alum Rock Invitational, from 1966-1990. The league switched to the current 2.85 mile version, using a farther back starting/finish line, in the early 90s. 1996 saw the formation of the BVAL, in which 3 of San Jose’s leagues (the MHAL, STAL, and WVAL) were merged to create a 24 team power league. The BVAL gradually moved away from Alum Rock Park as a race course. While it was still raced on most years in the 90s, it was usually used exclusively by the MHAL (‘A’ division). By 2001, the entire BVAL was using Montgomery hill as the leagues only course (with Crystal Springs as the league finals course).

Alum Rock Park was not used for any races from 2001-2007. In 2008, the WVAL held two races at Alum Rock, bringing the course back into activity. In 2010, with James Lick moving up into the STAL (‘B’ Division) 3 Alum Rock races were run. Alum Rock was raced on again in 2012, 2013, and 2015 in only one BVAL division, (It’s likely not a coincidence that the only division to run Alum Rock in the 2000s is always the division that James Lick happens to be in…). We have two races at Alum Rock on the ledger in 2016 (our first two league meets) and I for one will fight to keep races at Alum Rock as long as I am coach.

With a total of 9 seasons on record, the Alum Rock Long Course is no where near as impressive as the Short Course, but it continues to grow stronger each season the Comets run on it, and some notable additions should be made this year.

The team saw it’s earliest strong times in 1993. This team saw Onofre Navarro run 15:36, and Jaime Recondez run 16:05, these times still stand as the team’s #3 and #6 all time marks respectively. The current school record was set in 1995, by star runner Alberto Meza. Meza ran 15:15 for the course at MHAL finals. Despite running a few years after the end of James Lick’s golden era, Meza is a JLXC all time great. In addition to holding the course record at Alum Rock Park for the long course, with a PR of 15:53 at Crystal Springs, Meza is in the top 10 all time on James Lick’s most impressive all time list.

The team of 1997 ran some strong times on the course as well. Will Crane, another all time JLXC great ran 15:36 to tie Navarro’s mark for #3 all time. In addition to Crane, the team had 3 runners make the all time list, with Daniel Rendon at 16:16, Sham Parmar at 16:27 and Rubalcalva at 16:29. These late 90s years marked the beginning of the decline of James Lick’s prolonged Cross Country success. The team of 1997 sent 4 runners to the State Meet, the most in school history. The team of 1996 won the STAL, to win James Lick’s first championship in the BVAL era in it’s very first year of existence.

The team of 1999 won the STAL again, moving into the MHAL, though Alum Rock Park was not run in 99. The year 2000 was the last time Alum Rock Park would be used for several years, and the Comets made it count. Eric Santos ran a very strong 15:28, and Ivan Navarro ran 15:47. This marks the only time in school history where two Comets broke 16 for Alum Rock long course in the same race ( a feat which this years group, Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora in particular, is trying to replicate). Brent Nichols at 16:21, Nelson Funston at 16:27, and Jerry Reyes at 16:55 capped off a very strong top 5. This group combined for a team time and school record of 1:20:58 (or 80:58) This team had tremendous potential, and went on to run a very strong team time of 1:25:46 (85:46) at league finals at Crystal Springs to place 3rd in the BVAL. They did this without the benefit of top runner Eric Santos, who may have helped them win the whole thing. Santos would go on to have a great track season, running a 4:25 1600m, the 2nd best time in school history (on record).

The only girls time on the all time list set prior to 2000 was Emel Kayer’s 22:14 in 1997. The team time on the girls side in 2000 was 2:16:44 (136:44) a far cry from the team times of recent years, consistently well under the 2 hour mark.

James Lick remained in the MHAL from 2000-2003, but has not been back in the ‘A’ division since. Nor has the team been able to match the spectacular ‘5 guys under 17 minutes’ for a league race course that teams of the early 2000s were able to achieve. From 2001-2007, the BVAL used only Montgomery hill as a race course. The course returned to Alum Rock just in time for Kayla Matsuda to run the course as a senior. Kayla ran the school record of 18:56 to win a WVAL race in 2008, making her the school record holder on a total of 9 different courses, by any measure, she is without a doubt the best JLXC runner on the girls side in history.

The team of 2008 lowered the team record to 2:09, a 6 minute improvement on the team of 2000. In addition to Kayla, 2008 saw Elsie Carillo run 22:03, currently the 9th best time in school history. The team of 2008 also saw Carlos Montes run 16:52 on the boys side, adding his name to the all time list.

The team of 2010 had numerous additions on the boys side. Currently the #2 team time by JLXC was run in 2010, 1:26:11 (86:11). I ran 16:28 for the course that year, and my teammate Ricardo Flores also broke 17, running 16:40. On the girls side, Ana Tapia ran 20:48, the #3 time in school history. She and teammates Teresa Farias and Melissa Cabrera at 23:5 and 24:02 respectively, helped lower the team record to 2:00:35. The team of 2012, would lower the mark even further to 1:57:12 (117:12) breaking 2 hours as a team for the first time. Alma Padilla ran her PR of 22:41 to be the #2 girl on that team to Daniela Camacho’s 21:25. Armando Aguilar at 17:04, Isaac Sanchez at 17:14 and Luis Carrasco at 17:15 added their names to the all time list for the course that season as well.

The 2013 season saw the girls setting the current team record of 1:49:16 (109:16). They were lead by Daniela’s #2 all time clocking of 19:53. Karla Rodriguez and Paloma Contreras ran strong times of 21:54 and 21:58 to give the team 3 girls under 22 on the course. The 2015 team had the benefit of only one race at Alum Rock Park, their very first race of the season. Even so, the team ran strong, with Arlet Miranda running 21:55, and Elizabeth Guevara running 22:55. Maria Mendoza and Andrea Ortiz would go on to run 20:54 and 21:17 at the post season time trial of the course.  Nathan Bernardo ran 16:33 to add his name to the all time list in 2015, as did Hector Ramirez running 17:02.

Despite the team having only their first league meet at Alum Rock, the boys ran the 3rd best team time in school history in 2015. With only 2 early season meets scheduled at Alum Rock this year, the team of 2016 will be hard pressed to beat the school record, but they should come closer than any team ever has by a long shot.


STAL League Race Preview


With the team on the verge of facing Branham and Leigh to begin their STAL season, now is a good time to look into an explanation of the significance of various times. As always, our focus is on each athlete being a positive representative of James Lick high school, and improving as much as they can over the course of the season. In my opinion, the most successful runner on the team is the one who improves the most from where they started, not necessarily the team’s fastest runner. If every runner on the team experiences significant improvement,(both as a runner and as a person) and has fun doing so, I will consider our season a success. In terms of competition however, it’s natural to also go after wins, just not at the expense of our team culture.

Here is an explanation of various levels of competitive times in the BVAL:

My hope is that the following information will give athletes who are very competitive context to go with their times, as well as the ability to set goals based on places and tiers, in addition to time and process goals.

The return of the use of the Alum Rock Long course in 2008, has illustrated to me (though some other coaches disagree) that Montgomery Hill and the Alum Rock course are essentially equal in terms of time. The Alum Rock course is .11 miles longer than Montgomery, though the overall hillier Montgomery course makes times turn out very similar on either course. It goes without saying that some runners are stronger on a particular course, and each Course needs to be treated distinctly as it’s own entity. I do think that we can compare Montgomery and Alum Rock fairly closely, and use the common times to establish “league race PRS” based on a runners fastest time between the two courses.

I believe in most cases that the disparity in time between the two courses is due more to the point in the season that each course was run, rather than one course being slower than the other. Last year for example, Nathan ran 16:33 at Alum Rock and 16:10 at Montgomery. His Montgomery time however was run a month after his Alum Rock time, with him closer to peak form.  Montgomery is undoubtedly the slower course in terms of mile pace, but the shorter distance of the course should equate to roughly equal times for the two courses, varying by each runners specific strengths.

In any case, the past decade has indicated the following in terms of competetiveness:

BVAL Competitive Times Chart

These competitive times charts are based on the past 10 seasons, with an emphasis on the past 3. Times are sorted into categories or tiers based on how rare each time is.

Each division has different levels of strength, as you’ll see below, a Strong time in the STAL is only a decent time in the MHAL and so on.

Very Elite: Less than 1% of runners run this fast each year.
Elite: less than 5% of runners run this fast each year.
Near Elite: less than 10% of runners run this fast each year.
Very Strong: Less than 25% of runners of runners run this fast each year.
Strong: Less than 40% of runners run this fast each year.
Solid: Less than 50% of runners run this fast each year.
Decent: Less than 70% of runners run this fast each year.
Respectable: Less than 90% of runners run this fast each year.

Varsity Boys

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
15:00 or faster Elite, usually 1-3 boys a season Very Elite, usually 1-2 boys, if any, run this fast. Very Elite, usually no boy runs this fast.
16:00 or faster Strong, usually 15-20 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 3-5 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 2-4 boys will run this fast
17:00 or faster Decent, usually about 30 boys will run this fast Strong, usually about 13-18 Boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 10-15 boys will run this fast
18:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 50 boys will run this fast. Decent, Usually about 30-35 boys will run this fast Solid Usually about 20-25 boys will run this fast

Varsity Girls

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
18:30 or faster Elite, usually 1-3 girls a season will run this fast. Elite, Usually 1-2 girls, will run this fast. Very Elite, usually no girl runs this fast.
20:00 or faster Strong, usually 10-15 girls will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 6-10 girls will run this fast Elite, Usually about 2-4 girls will run this fast
21:30 or faster Decent, usually about 28-33 girls will run this fast Strong, usually about 15-20 girls will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 6-10 girls will run this fast
23:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 45-50 girls will run this fast. Decent, Usually about 30-35 girls will run this fast Very Strong Usually about 10-15 girls will run this fast


Frosh/Soph Boys

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
17:30 or faster Near Elite, usually 4-8 boys a season will run this fast. Very Elite, usually 1-2 boys, if any, run this fast. Very Elite, usually no boy runs this fast.
19:15 or faster Decent, usually about 35-40 boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 10-15 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 3-6 boys will run this fast
21:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 50 boys will run this fast. Decent, usually about 28-34 Boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 12-16 boys will run this fast
22:45 or faster Usually every FS Boy who races runs this fast. Respectable, Usually about 40-45 boys will run this fast Solid Usually about 19-25 boys will run this fast


A team’s varsity group will always be the thing people focus on. The BVAL division placements are based almost entirely on varsity team strength. The BVAL hold 6 different races at any given league meet.

Varsity Boys (Top 7 Boys)

Varsity Girls (Top 7 Girls)

Frosh/Soph Boys (Top 7 Freshmen and Sophomore boys, not on Varsity)

JV Girls (Top 7 Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors not on Varsity).

Reserve Boys (All remaining boys)

Reserve Girls (All remaining girls).

While Varsity teams are the true focus of a competitive season, the Frosh/Soph and JV teams are also scored, meaning a team can achieve a championship in one of those divisions as well, though only a Varsity Championship will be widely acknowledged. The reserve teams are technically non-scoring, though with the help of XC stats, I will score the meets personally to see which team wins in those races as well. I see no reason why an athlete who works hard to better themselves shouldn’t be able to be a part of a scoring team simply because they were too old for Frosh/Soph or not fast enough for Varsity. Some of our reserve boys the year would be Varsity runners at other schools.

And finally an explanation of how our league meets are scored (If you’ve read this far thank you for your interest).

All 8 teams in the STAL will race at the same time this Thursday at Alum Rock Park. The current schedule indicatesVarsity girls start at 3:30, boys at 3:40 and so on. For STAL #1, we are facing both Branham and Leigh. The BVAL uses head-to-head scoring to determine league meet results. This means that even though 8 teams are racing, our race will be scored first as if only James Lick and Branham ran, and then as if only James Lick and Leigh ran.

Each runner is assigned a point value based on their place in the meet. For example last years STAL 1, which also featured James Lick vs. Leigh, looked like this in terms of scoring.

  1. Nathan Bernardo 16:33 JL
  2. Alec Reynolds 16:49 LE
  3. Hector Ramirez 17:02 JL
  4. Jason Morway 17:14 LE
  5. Inteus Castro-Lopez 17:27 JL
  6. Gustavo Aguilera 17:38 JL
  7. Pearson 17:52 LE
  8. Azael Zamora 17:55 JL
  9. Hisamura 18:06 LE
  10.  Mead 18:07 LE
  11. Jesse Chircop JL 18:15
  12. Gustavo Parra JL 18:38
  13. Carlen LE 19:33

Once a race is finished the top 5 runners places are added up to calculate a team score. In Cross Country the lowest score wins. The 6th and 7th runners displace, so while they don’t affect their own team’s score, they can add points to the other team’s total.

The results of the meet listed above were:

JL: 1,3,5,6,8 (11) (12) for a total of  23 points.

LE: 2,4,7,9,10 (13) for a total of 32 points.

If Jesse as the 6th boy had run 18:05, he would have added two points To Leigh’s score, while not affecting ours.

Hopefully this blog was helpful in understanding how our STAL meets work. The Comets will look to start off strong against Branham and Leigh. The opportunity to take on two larger and more affluent schools is an exciting one for this group of Comets, looking to represent the Eastside well. Branham will be an extreme challenge on the girls side, having placed 2nd at BVAL finals last year and both teams will need to be taken seriously.

STAL #1 recap coming soon. Thank you for reading.

-Benny Reeves

Boys All Time List Alum Rock 2.85 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Alberto Meza 15:15 5:21 1995 MHAL Finals 6th 11
2 Eric Santos 15:28 5:25 2000 MHAL # 1 1st 12
3 Onofre Navarro 15:36 5:28 1993 MHAL Finals 6th 12
4 Will Crane 15:36 5:28 1997 STAL Meet 2nd 11
5 Ivan Navarro 15:47 5:28 2000 MHAL # 1 4th 11
6 Jaime Recondez 16:05 5:38 1993 MHAL Finals 12th 12
7 Daniel Rendon 16:16 5:42 1997 STAL Meet 5th 12
8 Brent Nichols 16:21 5:44 2000 MHAL # 1 8th 10
9 Sham Parmar 16:27 5:46 1997 STAL Meet 8th 11
10 Nelson Funston 16:27 5:46 2000 MHAL #1 10th 11
11 Benny Reeves 16:28 5:46 2010 STAL # 4 3rd 12
12 Rubalcalva 16:29 5:46 1997 STAL Meet 11th
13 Nathan Bernardo 16:33 5:48 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 5th 11
14 Ricardo Flores 16:40 5:51 2010 STAL # 4 5th 12
15 Carlos Montes 16:52 5:55 10/10/2008 WVAL # 2 2nd 11
16 Jerry Reyes 16:55 5:56 2000 MHAL # 1 16th 12
17 Hector Ramirez 17:02 5:59 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 9th 12
18 Armando Aguilar 17:04 5:59 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 18th 11
19 Isaac Sanchez 17:14 6:03 09/20/12 STAL # 2 19th 12
20 Luis Carrasco 17:15 6:03 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 23rd 12


Girls  All Time List Alum Rock 2.85 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Kayla Matsuda 18:56 6:38 10/01/2008 WVAL # 2 1st 12
2 Daniela Camacho 19:53 6:59 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 8th 11
3 Ana Tapia 20:48 7:18 10/05/2010 STAL # 2 8th 12
4 Maria Mendoza 20:54 7:20 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 1st 11
5 Andrea Ortiz 21:17 7:28 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 2nd 12
6 Karla Rodriguez 21:54 7:41 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 17th 11
7 Arlet Miranda 21:55 7:42 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 21st 9
8 Paloma Contreras 21:58 7:42 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 18th 11
9 Elsie Carrillo 22:03 7:44 10/01/2008 WVAL # 2 6th 12
10 Emel Kayer 22:14 7:48 1997 STAL Meet 12th 11
11 Jennifer Custodio 22:40 7:57 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 3rd 11
12 Alma Padilla 22:41 7:58 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 33rd 10
13 Gabriela Aguilar 22:43 7:58 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 27th 10
14 Karen Ruiz 22:48 8:00 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 28th 12
15 Elizabeth Guevara 22:55 8:02 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 30th 12
16 Teresa Farias 23:08 8:07 10/19/2010 STAL # 4 34th 11
17 Destiny Lopez 23:52 8:22 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 37th 12
18 Melisa Cabrera 24:01 8:26 09/21/2010 STAL # 1 2nd 11
19 Andrea Romero 24:02 8:26 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 39th 11
20 Daisy Nava 24:23 8:34 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 41st 11




Comets Ready For Season After Strong Alumni Race

JL Comets and Alumni after the race



With less than a week before league meets officially begin, the JLXC Alumni Race was the perfect opportunity for the Comets to test their fitness, and practice racing in the park. The Alumni Race at 2.25 miles, is a great tuneup for the current league race version of North Rim, which at 2.85 miles, just uses a different starting and ending point than the Alumni Course. In running the 2.85 mile version, you will also cover all of the Alumni Course.

With the Varsity Boys actively chasing a STAL Championship, the team knew they’d have to be ready to race fast from day 1. The team was able to do just that. Azael Zamora won the race, finishing in 12:57 to become the first Comet (on record) to break 13 for the course since it was eliminated from official race use in the early 90s. The race demonstrated just how far Azael has come in the last year, from a strong 14:28 as a sophomore to run sub-13 as a junior. Nathan Bernardo was close on his tail, running 13:07 for a roughy 20 second PR. Erik Olsvold also ran a huge PR, crossing the finish line in 13:26 after running 15:01 as a freshmen last year. The first Alumni in was next, with JLXCTF all time great, Joe Amendt finishing in 13:36. Inteus Castro-Lopez was right behind in 13:40, running a 36 second PR despite being sick.

Gustavo Aguilera and Gustavo Parra finished the race in strong times of 14:18 and 14:27. During the past few seasons, a time of low 15 or better generally translated to a runner being a decent varsity boy at the STAL (B Division) level. Times under 14:30 have almost always translated into above average STAL runners in recent years. The team’s depth is a strength with a 6th boy under 14:30, though narrowing the gap between the 5th and 4th boy will be a point of emphasis for the team going forward. Sophomore Vincent Giglio ran 15:37, and continues to work towards improving his freshmen times. Alumni, Coach Q was next in, finishing in a strong 16:14. Coach Q is currently at Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy, a new East Side Charter school and has formed it’s first ever Cross Country team! We will be keeping tabs on the Jaguars as they begin their program.

Freshmen Jerricho Ventura and Arlet Miranda finished together in 16:25. Jericho continues to develop at a stellar rate, and Arlet is more than a minute ahead of her times from last year. She is poised to place highly in the STAL league meets, her 16:25 moving her to #4 on the schools all time list for the course. David Bejines and Isaak Herrera were next in 16:33 and 16:34, strong reserve boys times. A trio of boys came next, with Rudy Peterson, freshmen Mark Orphia, and Austin Swank all finishing in 17:05. Two more freshmen, Melvin Estrada and Nien Tran finished in 17:29 and 17:34. Esteban Garcia-Gomez, brother of JL soccer star and now UC Davis soccer player, Kevin Garcia-Gomez, clocked in at 17:54. Hugo Marquez finished just under 18, with a time of 17:59. This gives the team 5 freshmen boys under 18 minutes for the course, and exciting potential for the Lowell Invitational’s freshmen race in a week if all 5 boys attend. More freshmen strength was close behind. Kevin Bach finished in 18:06, and Maria Mendoza was the team’s second girl at 18:11. Daniel Portillo ran 18:27, yet another solid freshmen time for the team. Alumni Edgar Centeno, and Paloma Contreras were next in 18:36 and 18:41.

Alfonso Farias clocked in at 19:02. Alumni Alejandro Arteaga finished in 19:26, with #3 girl Daisy Nava running 19:28 for a PR right behind him. Alumni Oscar Sanchez and Ivan Morales streamed in at 19:45 and 19:54. Denisse Calixto ran 20:03 for a 4 minute PR, and has worked her way onto the team’s varsity plans. Alumni Ivan Luna and Brianna Flores ran 20:17 and 20:21 respectively, and Analilia Regla also ran a huge PR for a varsity caliber time of 20:21. Juan-Carlos Rios finished in 20:32, a nearly 3 minute PR as well.

Three alumni were next,with David Solorio Teresa Farias and Jose Contreras finishing in 21:08, 21:37 and 21:55 respectively. Susie Peterson and Aliana Santos both ran solid JV times of 23:22 and 23:36. Diana Romero ran nearly a 2 minute PR of 24:46, and Elizabeth Perez followed her in at 25:05. Final Alumni, Christian Orozco and Vivian Ngo came in at 27:56 and 28:19. Jocelyn Rios and Brittany Salazar came in together at 28:59. Joseph Allen and Ally Floreza wrapped up the Comets day with times of 29:26 and 29:34.

Overall the Alumni Race was a great day for the Comets. The current members of the team had the privilege of meeting star runners of the past in Joe Amendt, and Greg Machado who was also in attendance.

The team’s first league meet is on Thursday 9/8 at 3:30 in Alum Rock Park, and the varsity boys look very ready to attack the team title. With a good amount of depth especially on the freshmen side, the Frosh/Soph Boys and Reserve boys also look to be very competitive within the STAL.

The girls side lacks the depth of the boys, but is lead by a strong front 4, (including Milka Perez who was sick and unable to run the Alumni Race). The current 5th and 6th girls will need to work hard to close the gap until strong athletes not in attendance like Julia Cruz and Evalilia Garcia can get their grades up. The girls JV team however, should be competitive in a league thats struggles to field full JV girls teams.

In just a few days the Comets will officially open their season at STAL #1! Then two days later, the team will head to San Francisco for the Lowell Invitational in their first invite of the year. JLXC history of Alum Rock’s 2.85 mile course, and race preview coming soon.

Thank you for reading.

-Benny Reeves