James Track Moves Up To ‘B’ division for 2018 Season: 2017 Season Summary

The 2017 Track season was another step forward for the James Lick Comets. I am happy to announce that with the BVAL meetings having concluded, the James Lick track team will be officially be placed in the ‘B’ division for the 2018 season. The strength of the team’s past few seasons, especially  the 2017 season, is what catapulted the team out of the WVAL.

The old local leagues of the BVAL, the MHAL (Mount Hamilton Athletic League) the STAL (Santa Teresa Athletic League) and the WVAL (West Valley Athletic League) merged together in 1996 to form the BVAL (Blossom Valley Athletic League). The BVAL is a 24 team ‘power league’ with the 3 former leagues operating as an ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ division.

The BVAL formed at a point where James Lick was well past it’s heyday in most sports. The track team of James Lick for example, was placed in the ‘C’ division from the very beginning of the BVAL era (like most James Lick sports) and has remained there ever since. 20 seasons of the BVAL era have passed with James Lick in the ‘C’ division every single season. That is all set to change in the 2018 season.

James Lick will compete against the teams of the STAL, with Andrew Hill moving down to replace James Lick in the WVAL. The ‘B’ division was won by Pioneer on the boys side, and Evergreen on the girls side. Other teams in the STAL are: Prospect, Lincoln, Sobrato, Oak Grove, and Piedmont Hills. We will be fully focused on trying to prove we belong in the STAL division, by achieving a middle of the pack finish in our first year in the division.

Now a look back at the season that moved us up. With any luck, we will look back on the 2017 season as the last season James Lick was in the ‘C’ division for track and field.

Some of the Track Team after the Team Banquet in Alum Rock Park


We began conditioning as a team in January. At this early stage we had a large number of boys out, but the majority of our girls were participating in Winter sports. We had the goal all season of trying to win the WVAL on both the boys and girls side.

We came close, going a combined 13-1 for a girls title, narrowly missing the boys.

Here is a breakdown of scoring by event for the 2017 season:

Boys : 

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 24.31 27 90% 49
Hurdles 15.14 18 84% 22
Jumps 15 27 55% 17.5
Relays 5 10 50% 13
Sprints 13.14 27 48% 18
Throws 12.85 18 71% 8


Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 16.41 27 60% 32
Hurdles 14.35 18 79% 26
Jumps 17.85 27 66% 28
Relays 3.5 10 35% 10
Sprints 8.56 27 32% 0
Throws 17.27 18 96% 45

Both hurdle squads, the girls throws teams and boys throws teams were very dominant in the WVAL. They will look to lead the team next season as the team takes on the STAL.

The team’s top point scorers were:

  1. Valeria Cortez: 130 points 
  2. Cody Huoch: 99 points
  3. Arlet Miranda: 99 points
  4. Erik Olsvold: 80 points
  5. Lyndel Ventura: 75 points
  6. Nathan Bernardo: 70 points
  7. Azael Zamora: 65 points
  8. Alejandra Ceron: 63 points
  9. Jonathan Rodriguez: 61 points
  10. Ace Medina: 53 points

As the team heads up a division, an encouraging note is that all 5 of the teams top point scorers are not seniors, as are 8 of the teams top 10. The team will need a good returning group of athletes in order to compete at the next level.

At the Willow Glen Invitational, many athletes competed for the team and things looked very promising. Jose Limon began the season with times of 11.97 and 24.40 for 100/200 both of which were top 5 finishes for the meet’s frosh/Soph division. This was a fantastic start to the year as no Comet had run under 12 seconds in 2016. Unfortunately, at the very first dual meet of the season, Jose aggravated his hamstring running the 4×100 and never fully recovered, effectively losing his very promising sophomore year.

One of the sprinter’s who stepped up the most in Jose’s absence was Misael Herrera, the team’s next best Sophomore sprinter. Misael opened the season at 12.80 for the 100 and 26.70 for the 200. Over the course of the season, he worked his way down to big PRS of 12.30 for the 100, 24.56 for the 200, and 56.48 for the 400. By the end of the season, Ace Medina would be the team leader in the 100/200 with PRS of 11.68 and 24.17, despite opening the season at 12.70. Cody Huoch would run 24.40 as well to give the team 4 boys under 25 seconds in the 200, a big improvement over the 1 athlete from 2016. The team scored points at WVAL finals in all 3 boys sprint events for the first time since I’ve been coaching.

In the girls sprint events, the team lost their #1, #2, and #3 sprinters from 2016, putting the team in a tough spot. Silvia Amaya emerged as the team’s top sprinter on the side. She opened the season at 15.20 at Willow Glen and worked her way down to 14.30 by seasons end, scoring points for the team in many dual meets along the way. Freshmen Yeimili Adame emerged mid-season as a potential standout athlete, demonstrating impressive range in the two meets she competed in before becoming academically ineligible. We hope she’ll return as a force next season.

This was the first season that the team’s jumpers were under the tutelage of coach Christopher Turner. In this one season, the future strength of the team’s jumpers was shown through massive improvement. Juan Gutierrez opened his season with jumps of 15-2 for the long jump and 31-1 for triple jump. He would end up with PRS of 17-8.50 and 36-3.  Freshmen Jamie Vong had the most encouraging improvement, going from 31-0 at our first dual meet in triple jump, to 37-6 at WVAL finals. He also went from 14-4 in the long jump to 16-10. Hadji Yono-Cruz lead the team in long jump with a leap of 18-3.  Cody Huoch lead the team with a triple jump of 39-4 at WVAL finals.

On the girls side, Lyndel Ventura finally broke the 15 foot barrier officially with help from coach Turner. She started the season at 13-3 and 25-2, and worked her way up to 15-3 and 28-10.50 by WVAL finals. Kirsten Yutuc joined the jumps crew late in the season, but in a very short amount of time went from 12-10 to 13-9 and from 27-7 to 29-10. I’m very excited about the future of these athletes under coach Turner, only bigger things are ahead.

The team also had a much improved season in the high jump. Elyse Elder achieved a PR of 4-8 to take 2nd at WVAL finals, the highest placing by a JL girl at WVAL finals ever. Jonathan Rodriguez went 5-6 and Ace went 5-8 to give the team two boys who scored pints at WVAL finals, after having none the year before.

The hurdles team also took a big step forward. Two boys ran 44 seconds for the 300 hurdles, and Cody Huoch won the team its first ever league title in the event at WVAL finals. Cody also ran the best 110 hurdles time in years for the Comets, clocking 17.16. Hadji also broke the 18 second barrier running 17.83. Jonathan and Gustavo Aguilera ran under 19 seconds to give the team 4 boys under that mark, compared to only two last year.

Valeria Cortez captured the WVAL title in the 100 hurdles with a PR of 16.75, good for #3 in school history. She also brought her 300 hurdles PR down significantly to 52.12. Susie Peterson did the same thing by running 58.99, and Kirsten Yutuc ran a strong freshmen time of 54.44 in the event, as well as running under 20 seconds for the 100 hurdles.

The girls distance team stared the season with some difficulties. Arlet Miranda opened her season at Willow Glen with two great performances, running 5:41 and 2:34, nearly PRs for both events. She suffered injuries the rest of the season which greatly impacted her training. She was eventually able to run a PR in the 800 however, qualifying for CCS by running 2:28.42 at BVAL championships. Belen Sanchez stepped up to be a contributor for the team. She began the year at 7:05 at our first dual meet, and worked her PR all the way down to 6:12 by the end of the season.

On the boys side, the team was lead by Erik Olsvold. Erik took his freshmen year PRs of 4:54 for the 1600 and 10:36 for the 3200 down to 4:37 and 10:20 despite missing time due to a few different issues. While he was able to capture the WVAL title in the 3200, to some extent this was a disappointing season that Erik will be looking to bounce back from in XC. Azael Zamora took his 1600m PR down to 4:40, even though he too struggled with injuries through most of the season.

The freshmen boys were a highlight of the distance team. Hugo Marquez, Melvin Estrada, Daniel Portillo, Nien Tran and Mark Orpia all finished a full year of distance training between XC and track with great results. Hugo’s ran the mile trial for us in August and ran 7:37. He ended track season with a PR of 5:21. Similarily Melvin started off at 6:50 (though he actually had summer training) and ended Track at 5:20. Daniel started off at 7:23 and worked his way down to 5:52.

Mark and Nien did not have as much training time as they both came out from Wrestling late, but they enjoyed big improvement as well. Mark worked his way down from 6;06 to 5:06 and Nien from 6:20 to 5:28. This young group of boys figures to be a strong FS team in XC.

The throws team was improved on the boys side, and exceptional on the girls side. 3 boys threw above 100 feet in discus on the same team for the first time under coach Vela. Alex Alonzo lead the group at 111-4, a 10 foot PR from 2016.

The girls side was the truly remarkable group for the team however. Alejandra Ceron improved her Shot Put PR from 31-9.50 to 35-8.75, a new school record. She also improved her Discus from 90-10 to 95-11. Valeria improved from 99-8.50 to 108-3 in discus, and from 31-1 in Shot Put to 33-4. Charli took her PRS up to a whole new level after missing her Sophomore season. She went from 29-10 to 32-5 in Shot Put, and from 79-0 to 109-4 for discus. With her throw of 109-4, she took the school record from Valeria and became made CCS finals. A  fitting end of the season for a strong team.

The team ends this season with a lot to be proud of, and a big season ahead in 2018 with the ‘B’ division on the horizon.

A few notes looking ahead

For the first time this summer, James Lick athletes who join the East Side running/track club will compete in all comers meets in preparation for the 2018 track season. My club is open to anyone who wants to join of any age group, and the only fee is the USATF registration fee.

Some of the team’s athletes will begin preparation for their fall sports in a few weeks time as well. Coach Turner is the JV girls volleyball coach, and Coach Vela is the JV boys football coach (and I think Coach Steve may join him as a positions coach this year).  I will begin cross country conditioning with the oh so lovable distance rascals in a few weeks, and am happy to say I will be joined by two new coaches this season who have served as volunteer coaches this past track season.

Lastly, I’m very happy to announce that I will be beginning my teaching career when the 2017/2018 school year begins (teaching world history). 90% of my students grades will be participation in cross country or track! (just kidding of course).

I’ll do a general recap of JL sports for the school year if there is an interest in one. This was the best year we’ve had as a school this decade in terms of championships/overall record. Please comment if you’d be interested in such a blog.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves


James Lick Track season ends with Charli Chircop 10th place at CCS Finals


Coach Vela instructing Charli Chircop after her 2nd attempt 


Charli Chircop became just the 25th member of James Lick High School to make section finals with her performance at CCS trials last week. Charli qualified for CCS finals after throwing a new PR and school record of 109-at CCS trials. She entered the final ranked 12th, and competed well to place 10th at 104-7.

This means all 4 girls who competed at CCS this year, placed better than their ranking in every competition, a very positive trend that the team will look to continue in future seasons. A 10th place finish at CCS finals is a very impressive performance for Charli as a junior. She missed all but one week of her Sophomore season due to a knee injury. Her PR entering the season was 79 feet. Coach Vela’s tremendous coaching saw her improve 30 feet from a borderline to BVAL qualifier, to a CCS finals qualifier.

The season ends for the team on a strong note, and with the school year now over for James Lick, it is time for many of the team’s athletes to take a well deserved rest.

A full recap of the team’s season, as well as news about my new “East Side Running/Track Club” will be coming soon.


The CCS meet is special because of the fact that the best athletes from all 8 CCS track leagues come together to compete. That means strong athletes from schools as far south as King City HS of the MTAL clash with team’s as far north as Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco. As a result, some of the best athletes in the entire State compete for victories at CCS finals.

The most impressive CCS performance from a BVAL athlete might have been from Maya Cook of Branham. Maya was a double CCS champion, winning the 100/200 and helped the Branham team to a 2nd place performance in the 4×100.  The Bruins came in 2nd overall on the girl’s side, scoring 38.50 points to Mountain View’s 42 points.

Right behind Branham was Silver Creek at 38 points for 3rd as a team. They were lead by standout athletes Jazlynn Shearer and Arianna Fisher.  Jazlynn won the girls 100 hurdles in 14. 69, and took 2nd in the triple jump at 39-0. Arianna won the triple jump in a very impressive jump of 40-7.

Jorge Estrella of Andrew Hill really emerged this season as the top distance runner in the BVAL. In XC, He, Zack Walker of Willow Glen, and Julian Adam of Westmont were frequently battling it out for victories. Estrella narrowly missed winning the CCS title in the 1600, running 4:14.76 and leading with only 80 meters to go before being run down by Alex Scales of Bellarmine. Jason Gomez of Westmont also narrowly lost a victory to scales, coming in 2nd in the 800 in 1:52.37 to Scales’ 1:52.34.  Santa Teresa placed 6th on the boys side to be the highest placing BVAL team (and the #2 public school) at CCS finals.

The meet was a high quality display of many high quality athletes. As I said earlier, a full JL season recap will follow this post soon.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves



4 Comets Compete at CCS Trials 1 Comet on to Finals

It was a very hot day at Gilroy High School on Saturday May 20th for the CCS (Central Coast Section) semifinals competition. The CCS is made up of 8 different leagues in track, with roughly 150 member schools. These days, qualification works in the following format:

Each of the 8 leagues has their own league championship which serves as a qualifying meet. Each league advances a certain number of athletes to CCS trials, these numbers are based on the size of the league. The BVAL is the largest league at 24 schools, so the top 8 athletes from BVAL finals advance to CCS. The WCAL (West Catholic Athletic league, containing teams like Bellarmine and Valley Christian) gets 6 CCS qualifications. The same goes for the SCVAL (teams like Los Gatos and Palo Alto). The smaller leagues like the SCCAL (Santa Cruz Athletic League) only get two CCS qualifiers.

Altogether, 32 athletes compete at CCS trials in each event. It is possible for an event to have more than 32, in the rare case that an athlete achieved the CCS qualifying mark/time in their event without achieving the necessary place at their league finals, though this is very rare. Some league are stronger than others even with the adjustments for population, so some CCS qualifications are stronger than others. In any case, hundreds and in some cases thousands of athletes in the CCS alone contest each event every season, and being one of the final 32 athletes competing at CCS trials is a tremendous honor.

According to my records, over the many years of James Lick track, the Comets have had 120 different CCS competitions from 69 different athletes. Several of the Comets this year deserve distinction however.

The meet began with the Girl’s Shot Put. Alejandra Ceron and Valeria Cortez both competed, the 5th and 6th James Lick Shot Put competitions at the section meet (the 2nd and 3rd on the girls side). Alejandra threw 34-2 and Valeria threw 32-11. This is the first time that two James Lick Shot Put throwers made CCS in the same year. Alejandra placed 18th and Valeria placed 23rd, solid mid-pack placings for both girls. They entered the meet ranked 19th and 25th respectively, so both out performed their rank slightly. In the field events and distance events, the top 12 athletes advance to CCS Finals on May 26th, while in the lane events, the top 8 do the same.

Valeria went from the Shot Put to the 100 hurdles. She competed very well here, placing 19th in 16.93, running into a headwind. Valeria’s PR of 16.75 would likely not have been wind legal if the WVD meet had a wind gauge. This is her 2nd ever sub 17 second clocking, and the fact that she ran it into a headwind is  a very encouraging end to her season. She qualified in the event after not coming close to CCS last year. She was ranked 25th entering the meet, so her 19th place performance exceeded expectations.

Arlet competed in the 800 next, and many distance runners were wilting in the cloudless 90+ degree heat. Arlet competed very well however, running 2:29.06 to place 25th overall.  She was ranked last in her heat and 29th overall, but immediately put herself in the middle of the pack, and beat several girls from her heat. The last 100 meters saw her very close to a PR and school record, but she struggled over the final stretch, a very impressive end to her season in my book considering how much time was spent battling injury this season.

Arlet Miranda (3rd from right) approaching 200 meters in the 3rd heat of the 800m


The Girls discus was the final event for the team on the day. It has been the team’s best event all season. The team scored 62/63 possible dual meet points in the girls discus this West Valley season. They swept the WVD finals with a 1-2-3 performance, and added a 7th place scoring as well. They placed 3rd, 4th and 8th at BVAL finals to send 4 girls to CCS in the same event for the first time in school history. Very few teams can boast 3 athletes in a single event at CCS trials. Essentially 3 of the top 32 athletes out of over 600 CCS athletes this year, go to James Lick.

Alejandra Ceron managed a small PR of 95-11, placing 26th. Another good performance considering she entered ranked 30th. Valeria Cortez was the team’s lone CCS qualifier last year, placing 22nd in the girls discus with a throw of 99-5. She improved upon that performance, throwing 105-4 for 18th place. Valeria is the first Comet athlete in school history on either side to compete in 3 different individual events at the sectional meet. She placed 18th in the girls discus, 19th in the 100 hurdles and 23rd in the Shot Put, an asset to any team, Valeria is quite clearly our strongest overall athlete for her versatility.

Alejandra Ceron (Left) and Charli Chircop (right) preparing for the girls discus 


The performance of the day came from Charli Chircop however. Entered at 18th after a PR of 106-0 last week, Charli began her competition poorly with a throw out of sector. Her 2nd throw was better, though still not near her best, landing around 83 feet. Her 3rd throw was fantastic, a toss of 108-8 to take the school record from Valeria by 4 inches. She improved on the record with her 4th and final throw of 109-4. Charli would need every inch of this throw as girls continued to compete. When all was said and done, Charli sat in 12th place with her 109-4 toss, the final qualification spot for CCS finals was hers. 13th place had a best throw of 109-3.

Azael Zamora, Arlet Miranda and Alejandra Ceron “watching” Charli and Valeria in the discus 

Charli has improved her discus PR by nearly 30 feet this system, a testament to Coach Vela and how much he has grown as a coach over the past 4 seasons as well.

Charli will compete next Friday at Gilroy HS at CCS Finals, the first Comet since Ruth Lebeau in 2008 (Ruth advanced to the State Meet in the triple jump that year). Charli will be the 26th Comet to compete at CCS finals and only the 4th girl to do so.

Very proud of her season.

A recap of her performance at CCS finals will follow soon.

If you have an interest in reading a general recap of the meet, citing particularly impressive performances from other schools at CCS finals, please comment indicating this. I’d be happy to do so, just not sure how interested you readers are in the general quality of the meet.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

Ryan/Oyama Award Ceremony 2017

One of James Lick’s best traditions, the Ryan/Oyama Award ceremony was held on Tuesday May 16th in the James Lick gym. The Ryan award is given every year to the male Comet athlete who best exemplifies what being a scholar athlete is all about. The award is named Thomas P. Ryan, the first principal and Superintendent of James Lick High School. Past winners include James Lick greats such as CCS champion Joe Amendt, and Superbowl/Heisman winning quarterback Jim Plunkett.

The Oyama award is the female equivalent of the award. It is much younger, with many Ryan awards having been given out before girls had High School sports competition. Joyce Oyama was a James Lick teacher who created an unofficial league for Lady Comets to compete in before official girls competition began in the mid 70s.

The past two Oyama award recipients have also been the past two girls Track MVPs, Paloma Contreras (2015 WVD 400m champion) and Andrea Ortiz (300 hurdles school record holder).

The ceremony honored the fact that James Lick won 3 titles as a school this year. The boys cross country team won the STAL (‘B’ division), while the Badminton team and girls track team won the WVAL (‘C’ division). This is the first school-year that James Lick has won 3 sports league titles in the entire BVAL era (since 1996).

Several Comet athletes got special honors. Mariah Santos, the team’s top freshmen thrower won the school’s freshmen of the year award on the girls side.

Misael Herrera won the school’s Sophomore of the year award after winning freshmen of the year last year. Misael worked hard in Track, taking his 400m and 200m times both down by over a second. Misael was also a starting running back/ wide receiver for the school’s JV football team (under Coach Vela, our highly esteemed throws coach).

After winning Sophomore of the year a year ago, Valeria Cortez did not win the honor, a testament to the excellent Sophomore year of winner Marquise Nelson. Marquise was a star for the school’s Volleyball, Basketball and Softball teams. The softball team especially had a strong season, narrowly missing winning a 4th title for the school on the year with a loss to Independence in the final game of the season. That’s two titles those 76ers cost us this year as a school! (I’d like to note for the record that Independence has over 3,000 students in their school to draw from while we had barely over 1,200 this year. Just saying.)

The junior of the year award went to Inteus Castro-Lopez on the boys side. Inteus was a huge part of our 2016 XC championship, typically finishing as our 4th runner but placing in the top 10 of STAL races overall. His strong season in Track saw him score a personal best, 30 points for the team, a big improvement on the 6 points he scored as a Sophomore.

Senior of the year on the boys side went to Jonathan Rodriguez. Jonathan was an excellent member of the track team for 3 years and was the starting quarterback for the Varsity football team the past 2 seasons. He also played for the school’s basketball team. Jonathan will be attending San Jose State next year.

Daisy Nava, Myself, and Nathan Bernardo following the Ryan/Oyama Award Ceremony

Daisy Nava was the 2nd runner up for the Oyama award, after a senior year where she was the captain of the WVAL champion track team. Daisy had a tough year competitively, having to balance a job as well as her school work and captaincy. She nonetheless acquitted herself well and will be attending UC Merced next year.

Nathan Bernardo won the Ryan award, in what I would call a very deserved victory. Natan has exemplified the kind of person we hope to produce as a program. He was not only a quality athlete for us, but a selfless leader who always put the needs of his teammates above his own needs. People like Nathan are rare, and the success of the program from here is in large part thanks to his outstanding leadership. Nathan will be attending UC Irvine next year.

 Another school year is coming to a close and our seniors are getting ready to move on to new adventures.

4 Comets will compete at CCS trials this Saturday at Gilory HS.

Recap of that meet coming soon.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

New Blog Adress

The blog is now at a different domain.


This change is so that I can better support both the James Lick XC/Track teams, AND the East Side running/ track club.



More info on the East Side running club soon…

4 Comets on to CCS Semi-Finals after BVAL Finals

Girls 4×100 team left to right: Justine Austria, ELyse Elder, Susie Peterson, Lyndel Ventura



The 2017 BVAL Finals were held at Westmont High School on Thursday May 11th. All 3 BVAL divisions sent athletes to the meet, with all 24 schools being represented. The top 8 athletes in each event advance to CCS trials on Saturday May 20th, an accomplishment which is always worth striving for.

In 2016, the lone CCS qualification for the team was Valeria Cortez throwing 99-8 in the girls discus to place 6th place. The girls discus was again one of the first events, and the event did not disappoint for the team. Valeria threw a new PR (and school record) of  108-3, placing 3rd overall. Charli Chircop placed 4th in 106-0 a PR by almost 3 feet as well. Alejandra Ceron took 8th place in 94-4, giving the team 3 CCS qualifiers in just the girls discus.

Much of the school’s track/xc history is unavailable, but the section meet qualifiers are available virtually every year dating back to 1952. This is the 2nd time in school history that the Comets have had 3 CCS qualifiers in the same event. In 1975 the lady Comet throwers accomplished the same feet, sending 3 discus throwers to the CCS regional meet. This was just after girls competition became commonplace, and it was much easier to qualify back in those early years. Kathy Shelby was the team’s best thrower that year at 89 feet, while Alejandra was the final CCS qualifier this year at 94 feet.

Elyse Elder ended her high jump career for the Comets, clearing 4-3. It was a disappointing performance for Elyse who was battling illness, but nonetheles a very solid career for her as a Comet. Lyndel Ventura jumped a solid 14-2 in the long jump, and Cody Huoch went 38-9.50 in the boys triple jump, his 2nd best ever performance in the event.

The running events started with the girls 4×100. Despite the injuries and grade issues the girls sprint team battled this season, the team ran a seasons best of 56.32 to end their year. This is especially impressive given the loss of top sprinter Silvia Amaya to injury just minutes before the meet began.


The boys 4×100 had a very disappointing race. A collision on the first leg handoff due to missed timing resulted in the Comets being put out of the race early. The team went on to run 48.24, but looked to lose over 2 seconds due to the poor handoff (Youtube video will up soon).

Erik Olsvold ended his season strong by running a PR of 4:37.19 for the 1600. Azael Zamora ran 4:44.06 as well.

Valeria became the first Comet since Ruth Lebeau to qualify for CCS in two events by placing 6th in the girls 100 hurdles, running 17.19. Cody missed qualifying in the boys 110 hurdles by 1 place, taking 9th in 17.43. Gustavo Aguilera ran 55.27 to end his season in the 400, a solid performance as well.

Arlet fought through her injury plagued season to run 2:28.42 in the 800 for a new PR and a CCS qualification in a gritty performance. Arlet is the first outright CCS qualifier in a girls distance event in school history.  Nathan Bernardo ended his season with a small PR of 2:07.85.

Kirsten Yutuc managed a small PR of 54.44 to end her season on a strong note in the 300 hurdles. Cody ran 44.59 to place 10th, a better final hurdle may have put him in a CCS qualifying spot, but he had an outstanding season overall considering it was his first season of track.

Kirsten jumped a PR of 29-10 in the girls triple jump, giving her two PRs on the day. Alejandra and Valeria placed 5th and 6th in the girls Shot Put to qualify for CCS. Valeria did so with a PR  of 33-4. Charli threw 31-7 for 9th place. With her 6th place throw in Shot Put, Valeria is the first James Lick track athlete ever to qualify for CCS in 3 different individual events. She is rapidly building a case as one of he best Track athletes in school history on the girls side, if not overall.

Azael had a rough race in the 3200, running 10:45, well off of his PR. The girls 4×400 team ran a seasons best of 4:43 to end their season. The boys race was a let-down for the team. The team was in a position to compete for a CCS trials performance, but Gustavo suffered a calf cramp on the 2nd lap. This forced him to run a 60 second leg, 5 seconds off of his 55.27 open 400 from earlier in the meet. 3:41 was the last time in, meaning the team would have been very close to making CCS.

The team emerged from BVAL finals with a total of 7 CCS qualifications from 4 different athletes. These ladies will compete next week at Gilroy High School for CCS trials, in pursuit of some final PRs.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves


Comets win Second Consecutive Girls Track Championship, Boys finish 2nd.

The Comets Who Stuck Around for the final results after the meet was over

Day 2 of the 2017 WVD (West Valley division) finals took place on Friday May 5th 2017. The teams contested 4/15 events on the girls side, and 3/15 on the boys side two days earlier. The remaining events were contested on day 2, making it a day jam packed with meaningful competition.

The day

The meet began with the girls 4×100. The team of Lyndel Ventura, Susie Peterson, Silvia Amaya and Justine Austria ran 57.72 and succeeded in helping the Comets qualify for BVAL championships in the event for the 4th concessive year. The boys 4×100 made BVAL champs for the first time since I’ve been coaching. The team of Hadji Yono-Cruz, Cody Huoch, Misael Herrera and Ace Medina ran 46.88 despite poor handoffs to finish 4th.

Coach Steve (Left) looks on as Justine Austria (Front) and Lyndel Ventura (Back) prepare for the 4×100


Field events were kicking off at the same time. The girls would go on to dominate the discus impressively. Despite the fact that they were throwing directly into the wind, Charli Chircop would win the discus in 103-5 a new PR, with Valeria Cortez 2nd in 103-4. Alejandra Ceron  threw a new PR of 95-3 for 3rd place to complete a 1-2-3 sweep of the event. This is the first 1-2-3 sweep of any event at WVD finals in school history for the Comets. Freshmen Mariah Santos also threw 71-4 for 7th place, giving the team a whopping 26 points in the discus alone, another school record for points in a single event at WVD finals. Adriana Marcelino also competed for the team, throwing 55-10.

Daniel Medina took 7th place in 35-10 for the boys Shot Put. This is Daniel’s first time scoring points at WVD finals. Roger Alonzo threw 34-1 as well for the team, just missing his PR.

The next running event on the track was the boys 1600. After an impressive victory over Overfelt’s Jesse Cruz in the 3200 on Wednesday, Jesse was the victor in the 1600 running 4:43 to win the race. Erik was 2nd in 4:46.81 and Azael Zamora was 4th in 4:48. Inteus Castro-Lopez and Mark Orpia also competed though neither boy PRd, Inteus just missed scoring by placing 9th overall.

Jesse Cruz of Overfelt leading the 1600 with Erik Olsvold and Azael Zamora following 

Valeria Cortez was ranked #1 in the girls 100 hurdles fresh off a PR of 17.07 from Wednesday. She shattered that mark to run 16.75 and capture the WVD title, the 4th title of WVD finals for the team to that point. Her time was likely wind aided, but was nonetheless an impressive breakthrough. Susie Peterson and Kirsten Yutuc placed 6th and 7th to give the team 15 points in the event.  On the boys side, Cody Huoch ran 17.19 to take 3rd place in the 110 Hurdles. Jonathan Rodriguez ended his career with a PR of 18.52 for 7th place.

The boys 400 saw a huge upset win for the Comets. Gustavo Aguilera was ranked 4th entering the event, but after his mistake in the 300 hurdles likely costing him a shot at a WVD title there, he put all of his efforts into winning a title in his secondary event. Gustavo pulled it off, storming out of the blocks into the lead early on in the race, and holding off challengers down the final 100 meters to run a PR of 54.70 for the victory on the windy day. Misael Herrera placed 6th in 56.63. This put the Comets at 5 total WVD titles. Ace Medina matched his 100m time from trials in 11.80, taking 6th place for the team.

The girls 800 was next, and Arlet Miranda stormed out from the gun and won a decisive victory in a 2:34 solo run, 2nd place ran 2:40. This was a nice victory for Arlet after battling injuries throughout the season, a well deserved first WVD title for Arlet. Daisy Nava ran a seasons best 2:47 for 7th place and Belen Sanchez a PR of 2:50 for 8th place. Justine also competed for the team in the event running 2:58.

Valeria ran a 52.77 in the 300 hurdles for 3rd place in the event, ending her WVD finals with a grand total of 29 points to lead the team. A massive total, matching Ruth Lebeau’s 2008 WVD performance for the highest point total at WVD finals in school history. Ruth is pretty clearly the greatest track athlete in school history on the girls side, but Valeria is slowly building a pretty good case herself. Kirsten Yutuc ran a big PR in the race, running 54. 93 for 5th place, a nearly 2 second PR. Susie Peterson took 8th to score once again for the team.

Cody blew the field away to win the WVD title in 44.99. His final hurdle clearance was very poor and likely cost him a PR, but he was so far ahead that the title was his regardless. Jonathan ran 47.89 for 5th place in the event as well, a 14 point haul for the team in the event. Cody’s victory gave the team their 7th WVD title for the 2017 season, 4 on the girls side and 3 on the boys side, a great improvement over the 1 title a year ago, and the pre-season goal of 5 titles.

Ace ran 24.46, well off of what he ran on Wednesday but still secured 5th place for the team in the 200. The boys sprint team had a greatly improved performance over last year. In 2016, the sprint team managed only 8 points between the 3 sprint events. This year they knocked down 20 points despite the loss of Jose Limon to start the season. Next year’s team is poised to be a force. This shows the progress the team has made under Coach Steve’s sprint training.

The field events continued with a very strong day for the Comets in the jumps. Ace and Jonathan both had somewhat disappointing days in the high jump, only clearing 5-3.50. They took 7th and 8th, becoming the first Comets to score points at WVD finals in the boys high jump in several years. Juan Gutierrez competed as well.

In the girls long jump, Lyndel Ventura took 2nd overall with a huge PR of 15-3. Yaliza Cortez took 6th in 13-2.5 narrowly missing her PR. Kirsten scored as well, taking 7th in 12-11 though she scratched on a much bigger jump. Elyse Elder competed as well.

The boys triple jump was one of the biggest performances for the team as well. Cody jumped a 2 foot PR of 39-4 to take 2nd place. Freshmen Jamie Vong scored the first points of his JL career going 37-6.5 for more than a 2 foot PR and 6th place. Hadji Yono-Cruz jumped 36-10 for 8th place to give the team 12 points in the boys triple jump, the most points for the team in the event in over a decade.

Jamie Vong in the final phase of his Triple Jump. Jamie placed 6th by PRing by more than 2 feet. 

The girls 3200 was one of the final events on the track. Arlet ran strong, placing 2nd in 13:19, a seasons best despite a not all-out effort. Denisse Calixto just missed scoring in 15:41, a 20 second PR for Denisse.

Girls 4×400 team Left to right: Justine Austria, Daisy Nava, Belen Sanchez, Arlet Miranda 

The girls 4×400 was a struggle for the team to qualify for BVAL championships. Justine, Daisy, and Belen all ran admirable 400 legs, but the team handed the baton to Arlet (fresh off of her 3200) in 5th place behind 4th place by more than 2 seconds. Arlet was able to run down 4th place however, sending the 4×400 team to BVAL champs for the 3rd consecutive year.

Boys 4×400 team left to right: Misael Herrera, Erik Olsvold, Nathan Bernardo, Gustavo Aguilera


The boys 4×400 went in aiming for the win even though they were ranked 4th. Misael started the team off in 5th place, running a 57 second leg. Gustavo worked the team up into 3rd place on his leg, splitting a 55 second leg. Nathan Bernardo moved the team into 2nd place on the 3rd leg, running a high 54 split, and Erik held that position with another 55 split on the anchor leg.

When all was said and done, the team scores for the WVD finals were as follows:


  1. Independence 139
  2. James Lick 127.5
  3. Overfelt 96
  4. Del Mar 55
  5. Gunderson 51
  6. Live Oak 47
  7. Yerba Buena 43.5
  8. San Jose 17


  1. James Lick 141
  2. Yerba Buena 107
  3. San Jose 100
  4. Del Mar 71
  5. Overfelt 49
  6. Independence 42
  7. Live Oak 40
  8. Gunderson 19

The final scores mean that the girls clinch their 2nd consecutive WVD title, the 2nd in school history, and the boys clinch 2nd place for the season. While the boys were unable to win the WVD title, James Lick was by far the best combined team in the division all season.

Their 13-1 record beats both Del Mar and Independence who had combined records of 10-4.  Between both boys and girls divisions, The Comets scored a total of 268.5 points. No other team scored above 200 total points.

The team’s top point scorers were:

  1. Valeria Cortez: 29 points
  2. Arlet Miranda: 27.25 points
  3. Erik Olsvold: 27.25 points
  4. Cody Huoch: 25.25 points
  5. Alejandra Ceron: 16 points
  6. Charli Chircop: 14 points
  7. Kirsten Yutuc: 13 points
  8. Lyndel Ventura 12.25 points
  9. Azael Zamora: 12 points
  10. Gustavo Aguilera 11.25

A very encouraging point about the list is the fact that the team’s top 9 point scorers are all not seniors. For the strength of the combined team, and the fact that so many of our athletes should be back next year, we will be making the case at the BVAL league meetings that we should move up to the Santa Teresa Division.

We would have loved to have come away with a title on the boys side, but the progress I think it is time for us to test ourselves against a new level of competition.

Over the past four years, our point totals at Division Finals have skyrocketed.

2014:    Boys: 35 points (6th)    Girls: 28 points (8th)   Combined: 63 points (8th)

2015: Boys: 51 points (5th)      Girls: 91 points  (3rd)   Combined: 142 points (4th)

2016: Boys: 78 points (4th)      Girls: 127 points (1st)  Combined: 205 points (2nd)

2017: Boys: 127.5 points (2nd)  Girls: 141 points (1st)  Combined: 268.5 points (1st)

This year also is the first time that more than 20 Comets will advance to BVAL championships, with a grand total of 27 total BVAL qualifications, another school record.

If the BVAl decides we should remain in the ‘C’ division we will attempt to succeed in winning the title on both sides next year, but my perspective is that our growth as a team is more important than titles, and the ‘B’ division will push us to grow rapidly if we hope to compete at that level.

Overall it was a very good season for the team. The team will head to BVAL championships next Thursday (May 11th) at Westmont HS, where they will hope to have multiple athletes qualify for CCS trials.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves




Comets Win Two Titles on WVD Finals Day 1

Day 1 of the West Valley Division Finals took place on Wednesday March 3rd at Overfelt High School. It was a very hot meet, with the temperature sitting at 93 degrees for the majority of the meet. The hot weather made for good sprint times, but a tough day for distance times. Of the 15 events contested in the WVD, the girls saw 4 event finals completed, while the boys side had 3.

The Comet hurdlers warming up before the meet. 


The meet began with the girls 100 hurdles. Unfortunate timing issues gave the meet an auspicious start. Both girls  100 hurdles heats had to be rerun due to timing issues. Susie Peterson looked to be running a huge PR in her heat, but was given no time and had to rerun the race at the end of the day. Valeria Cortez ran a PR of 17.07 despite having to run the race twice. She is ranked #1 for the final on Friday after running the fastest qualifying time. Susie made the final despite having to run the event after the 300 hurdles, running 20.08 to qualify.  Kirsten Yutuc made the final as well to give the team 3 girls in the 100 hurdles final for the 2nd consecutive year.

Cody Huoch managed a huge PR in the boys 110 hurdles, running 17.16 to beat his PR of 17.71. Cody also heads to Friday ranked #1 in the WVD. Jonathan Rodriguez ran a PR of 18.70 to nab the 8th qualification. Luis Escamilla also competed, though he did not PR.

The next event was the girls 400. Justien Austria and Denisse Calixto competed for the team. Justine placed 10th, not far from a qualifying spot as a freshmen. Gustavo Aguilera ran 55.71 to qualify for the final on Friday, where he will be ranked 4th. Misael Herrera ran 56.96 to make the final and is ranked 7th. This is a massive improvement over the 12th place 58.88 performance from Misael a season ago. David Bejines competed for the team as well.

Silvia Amaya ran very close to her PR clocking 14.34 in the girls 100. Aliana Santos ran under 16 seconds for the 2nd time in her career as well. Ace Medina made the 100m final by running 11.80, the 2nd sub 12 second clocking of his career. He is ranked 6th for the final on Friday. Hadji Yono-Cruz ran 12.34, his 2nd best ever 100m time, and Adrian DeLaRosa ran a seasons best 12.56.

At this time, field events were coming in as well. After placing 4th in the girls high jump a year ago, Elyse Elder placed 2nd this year, clearing 4-7.25. This event was a final, making Elyse the team’s first BVAL championships qualifier of 2017. Kirsten Yutuc went 29-3.75 in the girls triple jump to place 4th, and qualify for BVAL champs as well. Lyndel Ventura went a  seasons best 28-10.50 for 7th place. Yaliza Cortez just missed scoring after jumping a seasons best 27-8.50.

Hadji ended his James Lick long jump career at 18-1 in the boys long jump final. Juan Gutierrez managed a big PR of 17-8.50, his first time over 17 feet. Jamie Vong competed as well, jumping 16-7.

In the boys discus, Alex Alonzo came out with a PR of 111-5, his first time throwing above 100. He placed 5th, missing a BVAL champs qualification by 1 foot. Alex’s brother, Roger Alonzo, tossed the discus 101-8, placing 7th. The 6 points out of discus from two different scorers, represent a big improvement for the team from last season where no boy scored in discus at WVD finals.

The girls Shot Put had been one of the team’s most dominant events all season. Alejandra Ceron captured the team’s first WVD title of the season and her 2nd career division title after winning the discus a year ago. Her throw of 34-3 beat the 2nd place competitor by more than 2 feet. A slightly disappointing performance from the lady throwers saw Valeria Cortez and Charli Chircop placing 4th and 5th, both throwing a bit over 30 feet. Mariah Santos and Ruth Rodriguez also competed for the team.

Valeria, Kirsten and Susie all made the 300 hurdles final, sweeping their heat along the way. Susie ran a PR of 58.99 despite the hot weather, her first time under 59 seconds. The boys 300 hurdles saw Cody once again dominate the field, running a PR of 44.31 to head into the final on Friday ranked #1. A painful error lead to a disqualification for Gustavo, who’ll have to re-focus his efforts on the 400. Jonathan also edged into the 300 hurdles final, ranked 7th for the Friday.

Cody Huoch leading his heat in the 300 hurdles by a huge margin. 


Silvia ran a 200m PR of 30.71, and Aliana ran the 2nd best time of her career as well. Ace ran a 200m PR of 24.17 to make the 200m final, once again ranked 6th for Friday. Misael did not make the final, but he ran a massive PR of 24.56. Chris Okoro also competed for the team, running a  PR of 26.63 in the event.

The girls 1600 began with temperatures still sitting at 88 degrees. Arlet Miranda placed 2nd overall in 5:56. Belen Sanchez stormed from 9th to 6th place over the 400 of the race, running 6:15. Daisy Nava ran 6:22 in 9th place. Belen and Daisy had their best performance of the season in the 1600 when factoring in the weather. Valerie Flores ended her season running 6:47, and Analilia Regla ran 6:59 as well.

The boys 3200 was a fairly grueling race given the conditions. Jesse Cruz of Overfelt, the fastest WVD boy in the 3200 last year, lead the majority of the race. With 250 meters to go, Erik Olsvold passed him. Jesse stayed close but Erik opened up a 3 second gap in the final 100 meters of the race to give the team their 2nd WVD title on the day. Erik’s PR of 10:20.70, gives him the team’s first division championship in any boys running event since Ricardo Flores won the 3200 in 2011. Azael Zamora placed 3rd in 10:33, locking down a  BVAL qualification spot for himself as well. Nathan Bernardo and Inteus Castro-Lopez placed 6th and 7th for the team. This is the first time in school history that the boys have had 4 athletes score in the same event at WVD finals, in over 20 years of contesting the meet.

Last year the team had only one individual WVD championship, and the team has 2 already despite being less than 25% done with the meet.

After day 1, the team scores stand as follows.

Boys (3 of 15 events completed) 

  1. Independence 34 points
  2. Overfelt 31 points
  3. James Lick 27 points
  4. Live Oak 10 points
  5. Del Mar 6 points
  6. Yerba Buena 5 points
  7. Gunderson 4 points
  8. San Jose 0 points

Girls (4 of 15 events completed) 

  1. James Lick 45 points
  2. Yerba Buena 32 points
  3. Live Oak 23 points
  4. Overfelt 17 points
  5. Del Mar 15 points
  6. Independence 14 points
  7. San Jose 6 points
  8. Gunderson 0 points

The team will take to an even bigger day of finals Friday, and the weather is expected to be much more mild. The team is in pursuit of PRS as always, as well as WVD titles, BVAL qualifications, and points for the team.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for a full WVD finals recap after the meet on Friday.