For the first time in the BVAL’S more than 20 seasons of history, the James Lick Track team will be not be competing in the ‘C’ division this year. Most of the 2000s have been a struggle for James Lick sports in general, with track being no exception. The team has been in the WVAL (‘C’ division) ever since the 3 division format was created in 1996.
The combined 35-7 record over the past 3 seasons (20-2 on the girls side) have propelled the team into the STAL division for the first time. This means the 2018 season will be an exciting season of facing new teams, tougher competition, and even an event the team hasn’t contested in decades, (pole vault).
Coaching Staff Shakeup
The season will not be without extra challenges. Unfortunately, both Coach Steve Nichols and coach Jon Vela will be unable to return to our coaching staff this season. Both coaches were extremely important towards developing the team over the past few seasons. Coach Christopher Turner did a tremendous job coaching the horizontal jumps for us in 2017, and he will now take over sprint coaching duties. As a head coach at Yuma HS in Arizona, coach Turner sent multiple athletes to the State meet, and he himself was an outstanding 400m runner in HS and college. Our sprinters will not miss a beat with him at the helm.
While coach Turner can take over coach Nichol’s sprint coach duties, the loss of coach Vela is a huge one. The school Shot Put record, and the school Discus record on the girls side both fell in Coach Vela’s 4 year tenure. In fact, the top 3 discus throwers in school history on the girls side, are still active at James Lick. Girl’s throws figure to be our strongest area again this season. Coach Raul Lopez will take on the bulk of the throws coaching duties this season. Raul threw Shot Put an discus for James Lick in 2011, and proved himself to be an extremely hard working and dedicated coach in cross country. He will strive to keep the success of our throwers going with the same vigor. Raul will also be the primary pole vault coach for the team, and be the assistant distance coach.
I will continue to fulfill Head coaching duties, as well as being the primary distance coach, hurdles coach and high jump coach. I will be aiding Raul in coaching pole vault and throws as well. Coach Ruth Perez hopes to be back as a volunteer to occasionally help with hurdles as well.
Returning Athletes and the ‘B’ division
While the coaching staff has been shaken up, we have a very strong group of returning athletes ready to take on the ‘B’ division teams. The 7 other teams in the division are as follows:
Evergreen: 13-1 in 2017 (Girls division champs)
Pioneer: 12-2 in 2017 (Boys division champs)
Lincoln: 11-3 in 2017
Prospect: 6-8 in 2017
Sobrato: 4-10 in 2017
Oak Grove: 4-10 in 2017
Piedmont Hills: 3-11 in 2017
We moved up in place of 3-11 Andrew Hill. With this all new challenge, our team goal in terms of dual meets is to go a combined 5-9 or better. While this record wouldn’t blow anyone away, it would prove that we belong in the STAL division.
The team will look to be lead by the efforts of some of its top returning athletes, such as:
Azael Zamora: Azael is ranked 4th among all STAL boys in both the 1600 and 3200 and he is coming off of a tremendous XC season. He will aim to place top 5 at STAL division finals and earn a 3rd consecutive trip to BVAL Championships.
Jose Limon: Lemon had a tremendous freshmen track season and then lost his Sophomore season to injury. Now after a healthy XC season, we have big goals for him in the sprint events. Despite not running the 400 at all last year, his PR puts him ranked 10th in the STAL.
Cody Huoch: Cody joined track last season as a junior but is now one of the team’s biggest stars. He is ranked 3rd in both hurdle events among STAL athletes, and he is also ranked 6th in the triple jump.
Valeria Cortez: The team’s best all around athlete. Valeria was a CCS qualafier in the Discus, shot put, and 100 hurdles as only a sophomore. She goes into the STAL division ranked 2nd in Discus (to teammate Charli Chircop) 2nd in Shot Put (to teammate Alejandra Ceron) 5th in the 300 hurdles, and 1st in the 100 hurdles. She was the 100 hurdles division champ for the WVAL in 2017, and she will already be aiming to be the STAL champ in 2018.
Charli Chircop and Alejandra Ceron: Our two senior girl throwers were among our most accomplished athletes. Charli achieved a school record in the discus last season, and became the first Comet to make CCS finals in years. Aleajndra set the school record in the Shot Put last year and was the first Comet in years to medal at the CCS top 8 meet. These girls are ranked 1st in their respective top events, and will be a huge source of strength for the team this year.
Arlet Miranda: Despite battling injuries over the past few seasons, Arlet heads into the STAL ranked in the top 4 in all 3 distance events. She is aiming for a bounce back season that could see more BVAL qualifications and even school records being set. Last year she qualified for CCS trials in the 800 for the first time in her career. She’ll look to make a second trip this year.
The team has a number of other top returning athletes and promising newcomers all dedicated to the goal of proving the Comets belong in the STAL.
Official track practice begins on Monday January 29th.
Our first meet is a little over a month away. Track season is here at last!
Updates will come soon.
Thanks for reading,