Comets Scrimmage With Season Hanging In the Balance

We often don’t fully appreciate the bliss and relief from everyday life that sports can bring. They can provide a distraction from our problems during hard times, a way for young people to learn life lessons and skills, and a positive outlet. The past 6 years of coaching track have been exceptionally fun for me as well as my athletes. I’ve enjoyed every bit of the challenge of trying to help the athletes of James Lick compete against larger and more affluent schools. Several former Comets are competing athletically in college right now, and we have several seniors on the team looking to reach the next level as well. As of right now, our entire season is up in the air.

Given the current state of the country following the outbreak of Covid-19 Santa Clara County has given the order to suspend all school related activities till April 13th at the earliest. There is a very real chance that our track season may be over just as it was beginning. Obviously the public health is far more important than any athletic event, but our entire team is hoping the situation will be under control a month ago, and that we can hopefully return to finish our track season.

We were informed around noon on Friday March 13th that our school, along with every school in the county would be closing beginning next week. As a result, we shifted from a normal practice to an inter-squad scrimmage, a chance for our athletes to compete, knowing that it’s possible they would not get another meet this season.

It was uplifting end to the day for an upset track team, and we had a lot of good results and improvements on the day. We began the meet with the 4×100 relay. For the first time this season we ran the ‘A’ team of Jamie Vong, Geovanny Campos, Rodolf Ocamp and Raven Alcantara. They coasted to a time of 46.73. This time puts the Comets ranked #4 in the entire BVAL through 1 week of season, without any competition. Our girls team of Jenny Gomez, Minhy Pham, Emily DeLaRosa and Yeimili Adame ran a 57.1, a seasons best on the girls side as well.

We went straight to the hurdles after that. Emily D had the 1st of several strong performances on the day, running 21.19 for her first try at the full event, a very solid debut. Jenny Gomez also made her debut in the event running 21.93. Neither time may sound remarkable currently, but to me both are strong debuts.

The 4 fastest girls I’ve coached in the 100 hurdles are Valeria Cortez (16.75) Andrea Ortiz (17.10) Kirsten Nguyen (18.22) and Yesenia Martinez (18.43). All 4 girls share two traits with Jenny, Emily and Cecelia Usui who ran 21.59 for us last week at the Willow Glen Invite. They all began hurdling as a freshmen or sophomore, and they all ran slower than 21 seconds in their first try at the 100 hurdles. In short, I think that our 3 frosh/soph hurdlers, Jenny, Emily and Cecelia all have the potential to be BVAL level hurdlers like Kirsten and Yesenia, given the time to work on the event properly.

On the boys side, we had a very strong tail wind blowing, a 4.4 m/s wind, well over the allowable limit so the marks could not stand as official records. That being said, Rodolf lead the group with the best 110 clocking of his life under any conditions, a time of 15.75. This puts him as the #1 ranked BVAL hurdler 1 week into the season and the #2 ranked 110 hurdler in the entire CCS. Jamie Vong and Mark Orpia came in at 18.39 and 18.93, with Luis Escamilla streaming in at 20.55. If the season picks up, the Comets are likely to be one of the best hurdling teams in the BVAL.

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Rodolf Ocampo and Jamie Vong clearing the first hurdle together. Mark Orpia and Luis Escamilla approaching. 

The 100 meter dash was next, and it saw several strong performances as well. Raven lead the team in 11.91 in a heat with a 0.0 wind reading. Rodolf ran his fastest ever wind legal time of 12.12, just a tick off his PR under any circumstances of 12.06, which was run with a strong tailwind. Jamie got a PR of 12.14, putting both boys in striking distance of the sub 12 barrier. The next fastest Comet on the day was Eric Dang in 12.29 and then Jordan Lagura in 12.38, a PR. Both sophomores figure to be a huge part of the teams future plans. Angel Guerrero took .16 off his PR to run 12.54. Justin Nguyen (13.27) Mark ( 13.43) and Soreya Thach (13.55) all ran PRS on the boys side.

On the girls side, Emily made another very strong debut, clocking in at 14.35 in her first try at the event, finishing in nearly a dead heat with Yeimili (a PR by .10 for Yeimili) and their heat was wind legal. Azalea Galinato ran a seasons best 14.76 and Cecelia clocked in at 15.01 for her 100m debut. Several other Comets made their 100m debuts as well.

We did not run the 1600 or 800, but put the 3200 in the middle of the meet to give our distance crew the chance to contest it. Melvin Estrada lead the team in a solid season opener of 11:39. Omar Sanchez and Justin Nguyen ran 12:45 and 12:50 for their first try at the event. On the girls side, we went 4 for 4 on PRS. Lizbeth Espana (13:56) Jessica Cervantes (13:59) and Keyla Sifuentes (13:59) all cracked the 14 minute barrier for the first time,  and for Keyla it was her first time running the event at all. Ruth Rodriguez also managed a PR of 14:29. The 14 minuter barrier is significant in our league, a girl who can run under 14 can score points in the vast majority of dual meets.

Back on the track, Rodolf and Luis both ran the 300 hurdles. Rodolf managed a PR of 44.56, nearly a full second PR in his first try this season. Luis also cracked 50 to start the year with a time of 49.91.

We skipped the 200 at the Willow Glen Invite so it was the fist time contesting it for many athletes this year. Geo lead the Comets in a time of 25.38. Eric managed a big PR of 25.49 breaking 26 for the first time. Angel also got a big PR of 25.50 just behind Eric, and at this point they were running into a headwind. On the girls side, Yeimili lead the team, cracking the 30 second barrier for the first time in 29.96. Emily continued her strong debut in 30.78, a strong debut. Azalea and Minhy came in close to her in 30.80 and 30.85. It was a strong headwind at this point, and the Comets look poised to have several  girls under the 30 second barrier in the same season.

Meanwhile, the team had several strong performances in the field events. Adriana Marcelino lead the in 77-10 within a foot of her PR. Sara Hawkes and Jimmie Chircop both ha big PRS of 71-2 and 69-0. Emma Demblewski threw over 60 feet for the first time as well, chucking the discus 61 feet. Sandra Naranjo (58-0) and Kiely Leal (57-2) both managed PRS as well as Yesenia Martinez throwing 48-10. Clarissa Morales made hr discus debut with a solid throw of 56-0.

In Shot Put, Sara lead the team in 24-7 , with Clarissa close behind in a PR of 24-2.5. Kiely threw a PR of 21-8 as did Sandra (18-8) to end days for the lady throwers. Jose Uribe made his debut for the boys, throwing 47 feet in discus and 19 feet in Shot Put.

With all the wind, most of the jumpers had a rough day though Yesenia did clear 4-4, a seasons best in high jump. Rodolf also triple jumped for the first time since his sophomore year and went 36-3, a big PR. Eric in 15-6, and Soreya in 15-1 both managed PRs.

The final event for the team was the pole vault, where many of the vaulters working with coach Raul vaulted beginning at a lower height than usual. As such, Cecelia and Ruth both cleared the bar at 5-0 and Yesenia cleared it at 5-6. Omar cleared 7-0 for the first time, the starting height for a frosh/soph boy, showing good long term promise. Hector Hidalgo and Miguel Saldivar both cleared the varsity starting height of 8-0 and Jordan showeed great potential going 8-6 in his debut in the event. Mark and Rodolf both cleared 11-0 for the first time, strong PRS for both boys and an excellent way to end the scrimmage meet.

A total of 31 PRS make the scrimmage meet a very positive one, but a bittersweet one for many members of the team who now can only hope their season will resume. In any case, best wishes to all during this trying time. With some vigilance and luck, hopefully we as a society can get past the coronavirus and resume life as usual.

Thanks for reading and be safe,

-Benny Reeves

James Lick Track Team Opens 2020 Season Strong at Willow Glen Invitational

The 2020 Track season is oficially underway with the James Lick Comets joining 35 other track teams at the Willow Glen Invitational on Saturday March 7th. As has seemingly become a yearly tradition, the meet dealt with somewhat chilly conditions and bouts of rain throughout, at times making conditions very unsuitable to strong track performances. Nonetheless, the team had some very strong early performances, with a grand total of 27 PRS in the meet, more that at any invitational from the 2019 season.

The meet began with the frosh/soph girls 4×100. The team of Jenny Fimbres, Cecelia Usui, Daniela Huitron and Jenny Gomez combined to run 1:01.60 with some very rough exchanges in what was the first ever track meet for 3 of the 4 members of the team.

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Jenny Fimbres handing the baton to Cecelia Usui 

Field events were already ongoing at this time as well and saw a number of solid performances for the Comets. In the frosh/soph girls discus, Sara Hawkes lead the Comets with a PR of 65-8.5, a PR by over 5 feet. Jimmie Chircop cracked the 60 foot barrier for the first time as well throwing 60-5 for a 4 foot PR. Francia Castro PR’d by almost 10 feet, throwing 59-10 and Emma Demblewski got a small PR of 57-10.

At the same time, Frosh/Soph boys high jump was going on. Jordan Lagura, the team’s top frosh/soph athlete, cleared 4-10 in his first try at the event and clearly has a much higher ceiling. Chris Escobar, the starting center on the frosh/soph basketball team went 5-0 in his first ever track meet, and only 3 days of practice so far, showing great potential as well. Lastly in boys Triple Jump, Jamie Vong went 37-4, opening the season just 4 inches off his PR. Geo Campos went a solid 35-10 in the event as well.

Back on the track, Ruth Rodriguez was the only frosh/soph girl for the Comets, and she opened her season with a PR of 6:37. The frosh/soph boys 1600 saw all 3 Comets PR. Omar Sanchez and Justin Nguyen both ran 5:44, 13 second PRS for both boys who broke the 6 minute barrier for the first time at our end of XC time trial. Carlos Nava took 6 seconds off his PR to run 6:22, and he’s only been out at practice for a few weeks since he was wrestling in the winter.

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Justin Nguyen (Lane 2) and Omar Sanchez (Lane 1) Storming to PRS in the 1600 

Omar and Justin are following the path of great improvement to varsity levels laid down by Brandon Cruz, Jerricho Habon and others on the team. Both Comets ran with us all summer, yet by late August, Omar could only run 7:03 for the 1600 and Justin only 7:31. The fact that they lowered their PRS to under 6 by the end of XC, and now open track season with big PRS gives us great cause for hope for both boys futures.

The varsity girls 1600 saw multiple PRS as well. Jessica Cervantes lead the team with a 2 second PR of 6:22. Next was Lizbeth Espana in 6:29, ripping 9 seconds off her PR. Keyla Sifuentes, a newcomer to track after an excellent first XC season took 13 seconds off her PR to run 6:33. Ashley Preciado and Emely Lopez came in together at 6:41. This was an 11 second PR for Emely, and while it wasn’t a PR for Ashley, she is more than 20 seconds ahead of her start from last year.

The boys 1600 saw Brandon Cruz lead the group in 5:06. Melvin Estrada also had a solid season opener of 5:14. Nien Tran ran 5:29, a long way from his 5:01, but we’ve learned that Nien takes a longer time than most to get in shape. Jerricho was off to a good start in his 1600 but took a fall and suffered minor injury, only running 5:32 despite going through 800 meters under 5:10 pace.

The hurdle races were next. Cecelia Usui made her debut in 21.58 despite a -1.8 m/s headwind. I’ve been fortunate enough to have coached 2 CCS Qualafiers in girls hurdles and 3 division champions between Andrea Ortiz and Valeria Cortez, and neither of them ran as fast as Cecelia did her first try at the event. Yesenia Martinez ran the varsity girls event in 20.25 into a -2.5m/s headwind. A wind this strong makes a big difference, as the wind conversion formula indicates that time would be a 19.53 under neutral conditions, a strong start to the season.

In the boys 110 hurdles, Rodolf Ocampo made his debut as the team’s highest ranked returning athlete within the CCS in the past decade. After some very strong 60 hurdles performances in early February, Rodolf had spent the last 3 weeks in the Philippines with family, only arriving the night before the Willow Glen Invite, hardly ideal for great performance. Even so, he ran 16.60 into a headwind to place 5th in the meet, narrowly losing to fellow CCS qualifiers. Jamie Vong made his debut in the event in 18.31, a very strong time for his first try. Dekota Castro-Lopez ran a big PR of 19.61, a PR by over 2 seconds despite the headwind. I feel very strong about our hurdles group heading into this season.

Ruth managed a small PR in the 400, running 1:22.01 and proving that she is truly a long distance runner. Hektor Olivera and Navbir Kahlon ran 1:04 and 1:05 in their first attempts at the event. Yeimili Adame managed a very strong season opener of 1:05.52 a PR by .13 to start the season. This is an excellent start, even faster than the season opener of Paloma Contreras when she won the WV title for the team in 2015 and qualified for CCS. In the boys varsity 400, Hector Hidalgo ran a 1:01 in his first attempt at the event and Angel Guerrero lowered his PR a full second from 59.40 to 58.28.

Rain began just in time for the 100s but the team still managed some solid early performances. Newcomer Jenny Gomez was the fastest lady Comet of the day, running 15.17, a very strong early performance. Jenny Fimbres was not far behind in 15.32, just .02 off her PR already. The flying Jenny’s will look to spearhead the frosh/soph girls 4×100 all season. The young lady COmet throwers also showed up strong in the 100, Jimmie Chircop ran 16.04 and Sara Hawkes 16.13. This pair looks to help form a formidable throwers 4×100. Franica Castro (17.67) and Daniela Huitron (17.80) rounded out the FS girls 100.

Jordan lead the team in the F/S boys 100 running 12.42, just .06 off of his PR. Justin took .3 off of his PR to run 13.41. Soreya Thach made his debut in 13.58. Jose Garcia took a big chunk off of his PR lowering his 100m best from 14.41 to 13.68 (and on his birthday no less).

Miny Pham and Azalea Galinato ran very similar times of 15.20 and 15.23 as the only varsity girls competing, solid early season times. Despite the bad weather, and the fact that he’s still dealing with a hamstring injury, Raven Alcantara ran 11.69 to open his season. In similar conditions in 2019, Raven ran 12.02 at Willow Glen, and managed to end the season with a best 11.47, so this 11.69 clocking is a very strong performance in my mind. Geo was the next Comet in at 12.09. Rodolf and Jamie ran 12.21 and 12.22, PRS for both boys though Rodolf has run faster with a big tailwind. These 4 figure to be the ‘A’ team for the 4×100 this season, and we’ll be aiming to soon have all 4 under the 12 second barrier.

More field events were being contested at this point. Jordan had a strong day in the frosh/soph long jump, going 18-5 to place 3rd overall. Soreya and Jose also competed with Jose managing a 6 inch PR. Yesenia went 27-2 in triple jump, and 4-2 in high jump to start her season. Minhy and Cecelia also long jumped, though both were short of their PRS.

In the varsity girls discus, Adriana Marcelino threw her 2nd best toss ever, 75-6 to place 13th out of 33 throwers. In the boys Shot Put, Hugo Marquez threw 23-6.5. Sara narrowly missed medaling for the team, placing 5th in the frosh/soph girls shot put with a toss of 24-4, 4 inches shy of 4th place. Clarrisa Morales also had a strong debut of 23-00.50.

Back on the track it was time for the 800. Justin and Omar both netted PRS with Justin running 2:32 and Omar running 2:36 in just their 2nd try at the event. On the varsity girls side, Mya Hammond lead the group with a seasons best 2:54. Emely managed a 2nd big PR on the day, running 3:05 for the event. Brandon barely missed his PR running a high 2:19 in the event. The final event of the day for the Comets was the 300 hurdles. Both Yeimili and Dekota achieved PRS despite some rain. Yeimili ran 55.53, and Dekota 51.32.

Considering the weather, it was a very strong meet for the Comets. The team will continue gearing up for their season with the K-Bell Invitational on Saturday March 14th. The team will have it’s first dual meet of the season at home on Thursday March 19th against the Prospect Panthers.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

James Lick Track Tunes Up with Scrimmage Against Independence

The James Lick Comets hosted a scrimmage against the Independence 76ers on Friday February 28th 2020. Both teams are a few weeks away from actual league meets, so both sides used this as an opportunity to compete and test their fitness.

We decided to run only “untraditional” track events in lieu of standard events. To this effect, the meet began with the 4×200 relay instead of the 4×100. It was a good race with Independence taking a narrow victory in 1:40.09 to James Lick’s 1:40.74. Both teams had sloppy exchanges as they were not used to the event. The James Lick team was composed of Jamie Vong, Jordan Lagura, Geo Campos and Raven Alcantara. The James Lick girls team stopped the clock in 2:03, a ways off of Independence’s 1:55. Jenny Fimbres, Minhy Pham, Emily DeLaRosa and Azalea Galinato made up the team.

 

The next event on the track was the 1000. Jessica Cervantes brought home victory for the Comets in 3:47. Ruth Rodriguez took 4th in 4:03. On the boys side, Jerricho Habon took 2nd for the team in 2:56, with Indy’s top boy running 2:55. Nien Tran, Melvin Estrada, Omar Sanchez and Justin Nguyen all competed in the event as well.

The 60 hurdles saw several lady Comets making their debuts. Yesenia Martinez took 2nd for the team in a seasons best 12.01 despite a headwind. Emily DeLaRosa, Jenny Gomez and Camila Abrego made their debuts in the event, all running in the 13-14 second range. Emily and Jenny are sophomores and Camila a freshmen. All 3 girls are in their first week of track, and I think in time they will make a strong hurdle trio.

Jamie Vong won the boys 60 hurdles in a PR of 10.21. Jamie is new to hurdles after being solely a jumper and sprinter over the past few seasons, but he is quickly becoming a  force in the event. Dekota Castro-Lopez also competed, running a solid 11.5 clocking.

The Indy girls swept the 300 though Mya Hammond ran a solid 50.04 clocking to lead James Lick. Jenny F, Ashley Preciado, Emely Lopez and Mariana Perez all contested the seldom run event as well. Jerricho won the boys 300 in 39.83 and Angel took 3rd in 40.58. This was nearly a 2 second PR for Angel and Jerricho becomes the first boy to crack 40 seconds in the 2 years we’ve contested this event. Alberto Trejo managed a solid 42.25 in his debut as well.

The headwind fluttered between a -0.7 m/s to -2.5 m/s wind throughout the meet, hampering the ability for sprinters to notch fast times. Even so, there were quite a few PRS in the event. Azalea lead the Comets in 9.25, a PR by 2 tenths of a second. Jenny F also lopped 2 tenths off her PR, clocking in at 9.56. Newcomer Kyla Eustaquino showed a lot of potential, running 9.31 despite not having spikes. On the boys side, Angel Guerrero and Jordan Lagura both ran under 8 seconds for the first time (both boys ran 7.95). Dekota took .11 off his PR to run 8.34. Jose Garcia also managed a small PR of 8.81 on what would be a very strong day for him.

Jessica Cervantes won the 600 in 2:10 for her 2nd victory on the day, though no athletes on either side ran particularly fast in this event. The 150s were the final event on the track. Azalea, Minhy and Jenny competed on the girls side, running in the 23-24 second range for the event. Geo and Angel lead the boys in 18.84 and 19.05 respectively, despite a headwind over 2 m/s by this time in the meet. Navbir Kahlon and Jose Garcia also contested the event for the team.

The field events saw a number of strong performances for the team. Jamie Vong won the long jump in 19-6, the 2nd best jump of his career and he is more than a foot better than he was at this time a year ago. Geo Campos had a strong start to his season going 18-7. Jordan PR’d by over 6 inches, going 18-6.25. Miguel Saldivar, a senior new to track managed to jump 18-3.75 in his first try at the event as well.  A pair of freshmen, Soreya Thach and Daniel Torres made their debuts jumping in the 14 foot range. Jose managed a foot PR of 13-1.5. On the girls side, Minhy made her debut jumping 12-1.

Jamie was the only boy to triple jump, but on the girls side the Comets saw the debut of freshmen Janelle So, who went 28-8, a very solid opening mark for a freshmen. Yesenia is already close to her PR as well, jumping 28-2.

Finally in the throwing events, the team had been a tremendous force in girls throws over the past 4 years through Alejandra Ceron, Charli Chircop and Valeria Cortez, all CCS level throwers. While the team doesn’t have any true standouts this year, a new crop of young lady throwers are vying to be a competitive team, spearheaded by team captain Adriana Marcelino. Adriana threw a PR of 78 feet in discus to lead the Comets and take 4th in the meet. A number of sophomore girls made their debuts as well. Sara Hawkes (60 feet) Emma Demblewski (57 feet) Jimmie Chircop, younger sister of Charli (56 feet) and Francia Castro (49 feet). These marks are not far off the beginning marks of Alejandra and Charli and all of these girls have a lot of potential.

Sara showed this potential already, with a massive PR of 26-8 after debuting in the event to the tune of 22-10 at last week’s all comers meet. The other sophomore girls threw in the 21 foot range. On the boys side Hugo Marquez was the only Comet to throw. Boys throws is again shaping up as our most glaring weakness across the board.

The scrimmage allowed the team to get its feet wet, and the season will officially begin on Saturday March 7th when the team heads to the Willow Glen Invitational. It has been a long buildup but Track season is almost here.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

JLXC All Decade Team 2010-2019

As we wind down the year of 2019, I thought we could take a look back at the decade and determine the James Lick Cross Country All Decade Team. Ultimately this a subjective list, based on the times of the runners of this decade with particular emphasis on Crystal Springs (our league finals course) and our league race course of Montgomery Hill and Alum Rock Park.

I was a senior on the 2010 XC team, and have been a coach on the team since 2013. As a result, I was either a teammate or coach of every member of this all decade list. This list will be my best attempt to give James Lick it’s best top 7 boys and girls of the decade with a few honorable mentions.

Boys Honorable Mention:

  1. Ricardo Flores Class of 2011

Ricardo really emerged as a senior running 16:22 at Montgomery Hill, the 6th fastest league race time of the decade. His struggles at Crystal Springs  (18:08) PR keep him off the list. Every other member of the all decade team managed a sub 18 3 mile, a feet Ricardo never quite managed.

2. Gustavo Aguilera Class of 2017

Gustavo really built himself into being a great runner through hardwork. As late as his sophomore year his PRS were 17:50 at Montgomery Hill and 18:47 at Crystal Springs. Over the next two years he took these decent but unspectacular times down to 16:53 at Montgomery and 17:39 at Crystal Springs. He was the 5th boy on the 2016 league championship team, the best team of the decade by far, but his PRS fall just short of some other members of the list.

The Boys list

7. Benny Reeves Class of 2011 

It’s always a weird thing to include yourself on a list like this but frankly I think it would be dishonest not to. At my best league meet at Alum Rock, I ran 16:28, the 7th best league race time of the decade for a James Lick boy. My Crystal Springs mark of 17:30 ties Inteus Castro-Lopez for 5th of the decade. The next few boys on the list I put above myself despite the fact that I was faster than them at Half Moon Bay HS, Newhall Park and Mt. Sac, all courses we had in common.

6. Karan Singh Class of 2015

Karan only makes this list because of his final month as a senior. He was a quality runner as a senior but really went off at the end of the season. With one month left in his career, he just barely managed to crack 17 minutes for a league meet, running 16:50 at Montgomery Hill, only the 12th best league race time of the decade for a Comet. At BVAL finals however, he ran 17:17 at Crystal Springs, the 4th fastest Comet of the decade at our most important course. He did even better at Toro Park, running 17:27 at CCS.

His lack of early performances keep him low on the list, but if this list was based on single most impressive performance he’d be #4 on this list.

5. Mark Orpia Class of 2020 

Mark may have gotten higher on this list if not for an injury plagued Senior year. He ran 16:19 at Montgomery Hill (the 5th best league race time of the decade by a Comet) and he did it as a junior. He also ran 17:34 at Crystal Springs, 7th best of the decade. Across the board he had quality invitational times as well. The fact that he didn’t get to run a single league meet hurts his case but the fact of the matter is he was our team’s #1 runner for two seasons in a row.

4. Inteus Castro-Lopez Class of 2018

Inteus was a runner who surpassed all expectations we had of him. He ran with a limp as a result of a metal plate in his leg, but still managed to run 16:17 at Montgomery Hill, the 4th best Comet league meet time of the decade. His 17:30 at Crystal Springs ties him for 5th best their as well. He didn’t have the high ceiling of the rest of the boys on this list but he was a reliable runner, exactly the kind of runner you want for a 4th or 5th boy. He was the #4 boy on the 2016 league championship team.

3. Erik Olsvold Class of 2019 

There is a very good case to be made that Erik should be #1 on this list. In an ideal world he definitely would be. As a sophomore he was the #1 boy on the 2016 league championship team. He was the individual champion for the ‘B’ division with a time of 16:22. He was also the only Comet to win a league meet with an outstanding 15:27 time at Montgomery Hill. That race is the #2 Montgomery time in school history, the best time of the decade and arguably the single most impressive performance of the decade by any Comet.

What hurts Erik’s case were injuries his junior and senior year that never allowed him to come close to this form again. This coupled with the fact that he was never able to compete in invitationals meant he was never as reliable as the next to boys on the list. In a single race where you needed any of these boys at their peak to try to win a race, Erik would be the best choice, but the reliability and consistency of the next two boys place him 3rd in my humble estimation.

2. Nathan Bernardo class of 2017 

Nathan’s leadership was essential to the championship of 2016. He had very strong times at every course he ran. 15:52 at Montgomery Hill, 16:45 at Crystal Springs and the best Mt. Sac time of the decade. He is #2 in the decade at De La Salle, Lowell, and Half Moon Bay all because of the #1 boy on this list, but Nathan was as consistent  a competitor as a coach could ask for.

1. Azael Zamora class of 2018 

Azy as a senior was the most impressive male James Lick runner of the last 15 years. His 16:37 clocking at Toro Park was perhaps the most impressive Comet performance of the decade. His 16:17 at Crystal Springs was not only the best of the decade, but it put him on the top 20 list in school history at our area’s most historic course.

His best league race time was 15:41 at Alum Rock Park, and he is the only boy on the list to crack the 13 minute barrier at half Moon Bay, as well as the only boy this decade to run under 17 at Crystal Springs for 2 seasons in a row.  He also came the closest to making the State meet of any boy in the decade. For all of these reasons I feel confident in stating that Azael Zamora is the cross country runner of the decade.

 

Girls 

 

Honorable mention: 

1. Jessica Cervantes 

Jessica is only a junior now so she has one more season ahead of her. This year she established herself as a strong varsity girl, running 21:32 at Montgomery Hill  (7th best of the decade) although injuries stopped her from running at Crystal Springs, she is close to making this list for her reliability over the past two years, including being the #4 girl on the school record Montgomery team of 2018.

 

The Girls list

 

7. Milka Perez Class of 2018 :Milka was maybe the most talented girl runner I’ve ever coached, but she didn’t stick with it. As a freshmen she practiced only 1-2 days a week and still ran 21:12 at Montgomery Hill (7th best time of the decade and #1 freshmen time) and 21:38 at Crystal Springs ( 4th best time of the decade and #1 freshmen time). At Toro Park for CCS she ran 21:30 far more impressive as the #3 time of the decade. She didn’t run sophomore or senior year, and her junior year (after suffering an ACL tear in soccer) she was a quality runner but simply not at this level. So again, while her times indicate she is higher than 7th, the fact that she only competed for 2 years keeps her off this list in my opinion.

6. Yeimili Adame Class of 2020: Similar problems hold Yeimili down on this list. Her Montgomery Hill time of 20:13 is 4th best of the decade, and it was as a junior. She only ran a bit as a senior, and her Crystal Springs time of 22:12 is strong, (7th best of the decade) but she was capable of more, as she didn’t run league finals during her best season. This keeps Yeimili in the #6 spot.

5. Paloma Contreras Class of 2015: On the other side of the spectrum we have Paloma. She didn’t have a performance as impressive as Yeimili’s Montgomery or Milka’s Toro Park but she was very consistent and reliable, the #3 girl on the 2014 league title team. Her 21:02 at Montgomery is still the 6th best league meet time of the decade as is her 21:43 at Cyrstal Springs. Paloma’s reliability is exactly what you want out of a #5 runner.

4. Maria Mendoza Class of 2017: Maria, like Yeimili and Milka were not as strong as senior as they were earlier in their career. Maria was the 4th girl on the 2014 title team and was a strong runner but as a junior she blossomed. She ran 20:31 at Montgomery Hill, (5th best of the decade) but her Crystal Springs time of 20:35 is what really stands out. It’s the 3rd best of the decade and only 2 seconds from #2. It also puts her 6th in school history on our most historic course. Her struggles as a seniro hold her back from moving up even higher on this list.

3. Ana Tapia Class of 2010: Ana was always very strong at our league meets, winning several race in the ‘C’ division in 2009. As a senior, her best time of 20:03 was very strong, the 3rd best time of the decade behind only the two girls ahead of her on the list. Her best Crystal Springs time was only 21:52, 6th best of the decade, but her reliability and great league meet time make her deserving of the #3 spot on the list.

2. Daniela Camacho class of 2015: These top 2 spots were very easy to decide on. Daniela ran the 2nd best time of the decade at Montgomery Hill, Alum Rock Park, Half Moon Bay, Stanford, De La Salle, Mt. Sac, and Toro Park. Her highlights include a 19:33 clocking at Montgomery Hill in leading the team to a league title. She also held the Artichoke invite school record for 2 years at 15:38 until it was beaten.  She is undoubtedly the #2 James Lick girl of the decade behind the one girl who beat her on every one of those courses ^.

1. Arlet Miranda class of 2019: This was not a difficult call. Arlet was a varsity runner from her freshmen year on, and while she had an injury plagued career, she STILL managed to be very reliable. She was the fastest lady Comet of the decade on every course she ran and even set a school record at the Artichoke Invitational. On other courses she is #2 all time behind Kayla Matsuda. No James Lick girl has ever made the State Meet in cross country but Arlet came the closest, she ran 20:02 at CCS as a sophomore to miss making State by 1 place and 7 seconds (it still kinda haunts me).

 

As stated in the beginning, this list does involve a lot of subjectivity. One could debate several other runners as being on these lists, but this was my personal take on who should be considered the top 7 cross country runners of the decade.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown, I’ll try to do an “All-Decade track Team” before the year ends as well.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

Comets Show Season Long Improvements at Watermelon Run

The watermelon run has been a tradition on our team for the past decade or so, and it continued with the 2019 addition on Wednesday November 6th of 2019. The team runs the north rim time trial (3.03 mile) course, the same course we time the athletes on to start every season to see how much they’ve improved over the course of the season. It’s always a fun day to see just how radically some of the team’s athletes have improved.

The first big improvement was from junior Omar Fimbres who ran the course in 20:58 compared to a previous best of 23:17. It should be noted that this course should take longer to complete than any other course the team competed due to it being longer and hillier than every other course we run.

Abraham Benitez was the next boy in. He ran 22:58, a nearly 5 minute PR from his 27:40 clocking back in August. Luis Escamilla took 1:43 off of his PR to run 23:07 not far behind. A trio of freshmen were next. Justin Nguyen was the fastest of the freshmen throughout the year, and he began the season at 29:10 for the course. Fellow freshmen Carlos Nava and Omar Sanchez ran 30:06 to start the season. The boys finished with Justin leading at 23:33, Omar next at 23:41 and Carlos following at 23:43, huge improvements by the 3 boys who we’ll be counting on to be varsity boys sooner than later.

Another two frosh/soph runners, Ronaldo Castillo and Navbir Kahlon were next in 24:18 and 24:19. Both boys ran high 28s to start the season. Jessica Cervantes ran a 30 second PR to be the first girl in at 24:20. Mariana Perez and Josue Gomez came in next at 24:30, big PRS for both runners, with Mariana especially loping over 7 minutes off her time to start the season. Her time also indicates she’s ready for a huge PR at CCS.

Daisy Flores was next in 24:52, giving the team a 3rd girl under the 25 minute barrier. Ruth Rodriguez and Jason Madrigal came in close together at 25:27 and 25:35 respectively. Keyla Sifuentes and Estefani Herrera came in together at 26:20 and 26:24, Estefani taking nearly a full minute off of her PR. Melanny Sanchez took over 3 minutes off of her PR to run 27:34. Luis Gonzales and Kaylena Gil came in at 28:00 and 28:03. For Luis it was the best pace of his career, and for Kaylena it was a 3 minute PR. Deisy Carlos in 32:15, a 10 minute PR, and Huu Thai rounded out the Comets day. The team notched 15 PRS out of only 19 possible, a very solid way for most of the team to end their season.

The big improvements across the board give the team optimism as it looks ahead towards next year, and gives confidence to our athletes competing at CCS next week.

The top 3 varsity boys as well as the varsity girls team will compete at Crystal Springs on Saturday November 16th at CCS finals.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Comets Compete Well at BVAL Finals: Both Varsity Teams Qualify for CCS for 2nd consecutive season

The James Lick cross country team  competed at the 2019 edition of BVAL Finals on Monday November 4th at the historic Crystal Springs cross country course. BVAL finals is significant as the final race of the year for most runners, and the final determinant of team standings for the league season. It is also the CCS qualifying meet, with the top half of teams (24 total teams in the league so top 12 as long as full teams are run) qualify for CCS. Each of the CIF divisions are also guaranteed 1 representative team. With only 3 division schools in the BVAL, that meant the Comets just needed to beat San Jose and Gunderson to clinch a CCS berth, a feat the team managed to achieve.

Conditions were warm and many runners across the league struggled as a result, though we as a team competed quite well despite the heat.

The meet began with the varsity boys race. The varsity boys team has struggled this season with the loss of 1-2 runners Mark Orpia and Jerricho Habon since early in the season. The top trio of Nien Tran (18:20) Brandon Cruz (18:35) and Omar Fimbres (18:40) competed quite well with Nien and Brandon both breaking the 19 minute barrier for the first time. After that, the team’s lack of depth really stung with Geo Campos (20:30) and Jo-Jo Bradley (21:25) coming in next. Melvin Estrada rounded out the group. This was good enough for a 16th place finish out of the 24 BVAL teams. The team also defeated Sobrato, meaning that although the squad went 0-7, we will not be in last in the final standings.

The team did handily beat Gunderson and San Jose to clinch a CCS berth but in many ways it was a disappointing season. For reference, if Mark and Jerricho simply had been healthy enough to MATCH their finals times from last year (not ambitious as the top 3 boys all ran at least 30 seconds better than last year) the team would have finished in 9th place. This is the nature of sports, staying healthy is a big part of success and we were simply unable to do that this year.

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The varsity boys prior to the race

The next race was the varsity girls, a far greater source of strength for the team this season. The team placed 12th of the 24 BVAL schools. Though not every school had a full team, this was a solid middle of the pack performance and the team clinched a CCS spot by being the top D4 school.

Jessica Cervantes lead the team in a PR of 22:57. Keyla Sifuentes (23:49) Emely Lopez (23:55) and Daisy Flores (23:56) all broke the 24 minute barrier for the first time. Yeimili Adame ran 24:26 for her final high school race and Ahsley Preciado rounded out the team in 25:12. This was all without team #2 runner Mya Hammond who is recovering from injury, and Lizbeth Espana, the usual #5 who dropped out during the race due to ankle pain. The girls clinched a middle of the pack finish in the division and even defeated 2 ‘A’ division schools in Piedmont Hills and Andrew Hill. Perhaps the most exciting feature of the team is that the top 6 runners this year are non seniors, and they will look to get valuable experience at CCS finals in 2 weeks.

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The varsity girls before the race

The JV girls were next, and for the 2nd year in a row, they achieved the Comets top finish on the day. The team came in 6th in the entire BVAL and saw a few strong performances. The best performance was by Ruth Rodriguez who lead the team in 24:15, a PR by over 2 minutes and the 5th best JL time on the day. Mariana Perez (24:59) and Estefani Herrera (25:44) were next in as a solid 2-3. Melanny Sanchez ran a PR of 26:16. Kaylena Gil had a rough day but was the 5th girl in 29:20. Deisy Flores rounded out the team in 30:50.

The frosh/soph boys race was next on the docket. Justin Nguyen and Omar Sanchez lead the team, both running huge PRS of 21:22 and 21:26 respectively. Their previous bests were 22:46 and 23:07 respectively. Navbir Kahlon narrowly missed his PR running 23:08, fighting through leg pain to be the #3 boy. Josue Gomez took 30 seconds off of his PR to run 23:35 and Carlos Nava was the 5th boy in 24:03. Jason Garcia ended the frosh/soph day in 26:06, a 30 second PR.

The final race of the day was the reserve race, and it was combined between boys and girls. Abraham Benitez lead the Comets in 21:35 a very solid performance. Josh Merin was next in 22:10. Luis Escamilla took 48 seconds off of his PR to stop the clock at 23:05. Luis Gonzales and Yesenia Martinez ended the Comets day by squeezing under the 30 minute barrier.

Looking around the league, many teams struggled mightily, suggesting that our team had a great day in terms of improvement. For example, the 29 competing Comets achieved 14 PRS to end the season. Compared to Santa Teresa, a top level ‘A’ division team that achieved only 4 PRS from 25 athletes. I for one am proud of the fact that our team competed hard despite not ideal conditions and can say that every member of the team went out with an effort to be proud of.

The team will compete in a final team event, the Watermelon Race this week, before the top runners on the team prepare for CCS finals on Saturday November 16th back at Crystal Springs.

Fun Day for the Comets at the 2019 Artichoke Invitational

On Saturday October 5th, the James Lick Cross country team ran at the Artichoke Invitational in Half Moon Bay. It was the 33rd time that the team has competed in the always fun invitational over the 2.33 mile course. Since James Lick has run the course for so long, many of the greatest Comet runners in history have official times on the course, making the Half Moon Bay HS course one of the most difficult “all time-lists” to get onto for a James Lick runner.

The meet began with the freshmen boys race. Justin Nguyen once again lead the freshmen boys, running 16:53, keeping his string of low 7 pace clocking in tact. Omar Sanchez was next in 17:33, followed by Carlos Nava who narrowly missed the 18 minute barrier, running 18:01. Jason Garcia rounded out the group in 19:22.

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Freshmen boys left to right: Omar Sanchez, Justin Nguyen, Jason Garcia, Carlos Nava 

The frosh/soph girls race was next. Daisy Flores spearheaded the group with a varsity caliber time of 18:27. She ended up being the 2nd fastest lady Comet on the day. Ruth Rodriguez ran 19:03. Kaylena Gil stopped the clock at 21:17. Deisy Carlos rounded out teh group in 23:24, achieving the best pace of her career so far.

The JV girls race had one of the biggest breakthroughs of the day. Keyla Sifuentes lead the group in 18:44, 8:02 pace, by far the best of her career to this point. Keyla did not join the team until September but she is looking like a varsity caliber runner more and more as the season progresses. Estefani Herrera narrowly missed her PR, running 19:54. Yesenia Martinez took 20 seconds off of her PR running 20:03. Melanny Sanchez ran 20:58. Marisol Carlos clocked in at 23:29 and Adriana Marcelino rounded out the team’s day in 27:03.

The JV boys had one of the best spreads of the day, with only a little over a minute sperating the 1st and 5th runners. Abraham Benitez, Joshua Merin and Navbir Kahlon ran 17:05, 17:10 and 17:30 respectively. Hugo Marquez came across in 17:50 and Josue Gomez was the 5th boy in a big PR of 18:28. Luis Escamilla took 15 seconds off of his PR as well running 18:37. Luis Gonzalez made his debut for the team as well running 23:00 to finish the day for the JV boys.

All that remained were the varsity races at this point. Mya Hammond continued her breakout season, running 17:46, getting herself the #14 spot on the school’s all time list with a PR by over a minute. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez both broke 8 minute pace for the first time, running 18:27 and 18:33 respectively.  This was a massive PR for Emely after a previous best of 20:22, as she continues her own breakthrough season. Mariana Perez took 23 seconds off of her PR, running 19:17. Ashley preciado rounded out the varsity girls day in 19:59.

The varsity boys race was next and this is the group that as a team has really struggled all year. Brandon Cruz ran a strong 34 second PR of 14:06 to lead the group. Nien Tran was caught behind a falling runner and boxed in to start the race, and never got in rhythm, running 15:00 as the #2 boy. Omar Fimbres, Jonathan Bradley and Rodolf Ocampo rounded out the varsity group, though none of the boys ran a PR.

The team has yet another week without a league race and will take to Crystal Springs on Wednesday October 9th as a preview of the league finals and CCS course.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

Comets Have Best Meet of 2019 So Far at Scott Bauhs Invitational

For the first time in school history, the Comets took to the Scott Bauhs Invitational in Pleasanton on Saturday September 28th of 2019. The 2.95 Mile course at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park was mostly flat, and we chose this meet hoping for some fast times and personal breakthroughs for the Comets. We came out feeling emboldened by strong performances in what has been an uneven season so far for James Lick.

Since it was the team’s first time on the course, the fastest Comets would leave as school record holders. Justin Nguyen became the first Comet to hold the title, as the first James Lick runner in the freshmen boys race, coming across with a time of 21:18. The 7:13 pace is the best of his career so far and Justin continues to improve rapidly this season. For reference, when we first timed him in the mile in August, he could only run a 7:31.

The enxt boy in was Omar Sanchez, also with the best race pace of his career so far, 7:25 pace for a time of 21:52. Carlos Nava managed to run under 8 minute mile pace for the first time in his career: 22:49 and Jason Garcia did the same running 24:20. All 4 boys are improving quickly, and they set the tone for what would continue to be a day of breakthroughs.

Daisy Flores lead the frosh/soph girls in 23:21, the fastest race pace of her career so far and she continues to look like the team’s star of the future. Ruth Rodriguez was not far behind in 23:39 (8:01 pace, the best of her career) and Kaylena Gil rounded out the group in 26:27.

This course is exactly the same distance as our historic league finals course, Crystal Springs. If Daisy and Ruth manage to simply match their Scott Bauhs times at league finals, they would both be strong varsity runners.  Last year our varsity girls finished 12th of the 24 teams, exactly middle of the pack, and our 4th girl ran 23:36. A girl who can run under 24 minutes at Crystal Springs is very helpful to a ‘B’ division, and even some ‘A’ division teams.

The varsity races were next and Nien Tran ran a very strong 17:47, with Brandon Cruz not far behind in 17:58. Both boys broke the 18 minute barrier for the first time on a course 2.9 or longer, and both boys managed the fastest pace of their career to this point. Omar Fimbres performance was a big step up as he ran 19:10, well faster than his Montgomery Hill time on Thursday, and Jerricho Habon had a rehab race, running a decent time of 19:27. Nien and Brandon will be critical to the team’s success with some of the injuries the team has dealt with this year.

The girls varsity races saw the best performance of the day. Junior Mya Hammond ran 21:14, 7:12 pace, by far the best of her career so far. This has been a very strong season for Mya already. As a freshmen, Mya averaged 10:03 pace for her XC races. Last year she averaged 9:18 pace. So far this year, she is averaging 8:10 pace and is trending faster and faster. If she manages to run within 16 seconds of this time at Crystal Springs, she will make CCS automatically based on the “at-large” time standard. Mya has transformed herself rom a girl who could only run a 9:44 mile when we first timed her, to a borderline CCS caliber cross country runner with her hard work over these past few seasons.

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The team taking in the lake before the race

Jessica Cervantes has been the team #1 all season, and she had a strong race as well. She ran 21:31, 7:18 pace, also the best of her career. Her strengths as a hill runner give her one of the better odds on the team of matching this time at Crystal Springs. Lizbeth Espana (23:17) and Mariana Perez ( 23:38) were next, both achieving the best paces of their careers so far. Ashley Preciado ran 25:13, and Yesenia Martinez ran 25:54 to round out the group.

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Mya Hammond approaching the 1 mile mark in the race

The JV boys ran very strong as well. Rodolf Ocampo broke the 7 minute pace barrier for teh first time, running 20:26 for a 6:56 pace. Abraham Benitez was next in 21:20. Luis Escamilla, 21:37 and Josh Merin, 21:45 came in close behind him. For Luis, this was by far the fastest pace of his career, 7:20 pace whereas only a month ago he had never broken 8 minute pace. Navbir Kahlon (22:29) and Josue Gomez (23:25) rounded out the group.

The final race of the day for James Lick was the JV girls. Keyla Sifuentes lead the team in a near varsity level time of 24:28. 8:18 pace is a great place to be for the newcomer Keyla. Estefani Herrera was next across in 25:08. Melanny Sanchez in 26:38 and Adriana Marcelino in 33:53 rounded out the team.

The team will hope to build on the momentum from this race as they head to Half Moon Bay on Saturday October 5th for the always fun Artichoke Invitational.

Thanks for reading!

 

Comets Shake Off Rust at De La Salle Invitational

After a 2 week hiatus from any racing, the James Lick Comets began their busiest stretch of the season by competing at Newhall Park in Concord, in the hyper competitive De La Salle Invitational. This was the 9th time in school history that James Lick competed at this invitational, the first time being 2005. With less than 10 years on the course, every year the team improves the school’s all-time list on the course, an exciting prospect for many of our runners. The varsity runners contested the 3 mile course, while the JV and frosh/soph runners ran the 2 mile course.

The meet began with the varsity girls race. Jessica Cervantes lead the Comets with a strong time of 22:39, the 6th best time in school history. The Comets were without #2 runner Mya Hammond, but the other girls picked up the slack by running as a pack. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez came in together at 24:37. Mariana Perez ran 24:51 and Ashley Preciado 24:54. Yesenia Martinez ran 26:49 to round out the team. The times from Lizbeth- Ashley are actually quite encouraging. Over the years I have several examples of lady Comets who ran over 25 minutes at De La Salle, who would go on to run under 23 minutes at Crystal Springs for BVAL finals, a solid middle of the pack time. Despite Mya’s absence, the team ran the 2nd best team time on the course in school history, missing the mark of the 2014 squad by only 20 seconds.

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Left to Right: Emely Lopez, Ashley Preciado, Yesenia Martinez, Mariana Perez, Lizbeth Espana and Jessica Cervantes

 

The varsity boys race was next. Top runner Mark Orpia is still battling injury and did not run.  Nien Tran lead the Comets with a solid time of 18:33, the fastest time Nien has ever run for a 3 mile race by over 40 seconds. The last time we ran at De La Salle, Nien was a freshmen, who ran 7:12 pace for the 2 mile version of the course. The 6:11 pace for 3 miles he was able to produce as a senior is the result of 4 years of hard work.

The same can be said about Jerricho Habon who finished in 18:54. He ran only 7:06 pace for the 2 mile as a freshmen and just produced his first sub-19 3 mile clocking at De La Salle. Brandon Cruz was next in 18:55, giving the Comets 3 boys under 19 at De La Salle for just the 2nd time in the 9 years we’ve race the course.

Without Melvin Estrada or Mark present, Omar Fimbres was the 4th boy in 19:51. Hugo Marquez stepped up to give the team a 5th varsity boy, running 22:27. The varsity boys beat 7 teams despite missing some key players, a solid performance as they look ahead to more races to come.

The next race saw the JV and frosh soph girls competing on the 2 mile course. Daisy Flores spearheaded the group with a time of 15:52, just the 3rd girl in school history to run under 16 minutes for the course. This was the single race with the most additions to the all time list for James Lick, since our JV girls have never been stronger than they are right now. Ruth Rodriguez was next in 16:26, the 6th best time in school history. Estefani Herrera claimed the 8 spot in 17:17. Junior Keyla Sifuentes, in her first race for the team impressed by running 17:20, good for #10 on the all time list. Melanny Sanchez and Erika Camacho ran 18:02 and 18:10 for spots 16 and 17, and Kaylena Gil ran 18:32 for the 19th spot on the list. Adriana Marcelino ran 23:18 to round out the girls day with her best performance of the season so far.

This squad managed a new team course record by over 5 minutes, stopping the clock at 84:59.

The next race up was the frosh/soph boys. Justin Nguyen and Ronaldo Castillo came in together at 14:44 and 14:45, solid performances for the duo who will look to crack the 7 minute pace barrier by the end of the season. Omar Sanchez squeezed under 15 minutes with a time of 14:59. Omar continues to be one of our most rapidly improving athletes. A month ago at our north rim trial he ran 9:56 pace for the difficult 3 mile course. The De La Salle Course may be shorter and less challenging but 7:29 pace is a dramatic improvement anyway you slice it.  Navbir Kahlon was next in 15:12, the 7:36 pace being the best of his career so far. Carlos Nava (16:17) Huu Thai (16:45) and Jason Garcia (17:02) rounded out the group.

The final race of the day was the JV boys over the 2 mile course. Josh Merin lead the group in 14:40, his best performance of the season so far. Abraham Benitez was the next boy across in 15:00 even. Rodolf Ocamp and Luis Escamilla came in at 15:35 and 15:52. This was the 2nd straight race under 8 minute pace for Luis.

The Comets have their 2nd league meet of the season on Thursday September 26th against Branham. Branham has been by far the toughest boys team in the division over the last 2 seasons, and the Comets  will be mostly focused on achieving PRS after a rough showing at our first league meet this season.

Then the team will take to the Scott Bauhs Invitational in Pleasanton for the first time in school history on Saturday September 28th.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

James Lick Team Records Fall at 2019 Lowell Invitational

On Saturday September 9th, the James Lick Comets took to Golden Gate Park to participate in the Lowell Invitational for the 5th time in school history. Due to very muddy conditions the courses were slightly altered making the traditional Frosh/soph course 2.07 miles instead of 2.13, and the traditional long course 2.8 miles instead of 2.93.

This might not seem like a big deal to many but it is unfortunate in my opinion since we cannot directly compare the performances to past years and use the comparisons to project ahead. For example, at the end of the meet, we were under the impression we had established a new varsity girls team record, only to learn later that the course had been altered.

In any case, the invitational was a good bounce back race for many of the Comet runners after what was a tough day for the team on Wednesday at their first league meet. The meet began with the freshmen boys race.

Despite the mud, the flat nature of the course and cool weather makes it a course where many runners run a fast pace and build confidence going forward.

Justin Nguyen lead the Comets with a strong time of 15:09, good for a 7:21 mile pace. This was a huge breakthrough for Justin, who just 3 weeks ago ran a 7:31 for our 1 mile time trial to start the season. Omar Sanchez was next in 16:10, also running under 8 minute pace for the first time in his career. Carlos Nava came across in 16:28, just under the 8 minute mile pace barrier as well. Jason Garcia rounded out the group in 17:40, a strong showing for him as well.

The frosh/soph girls race was next, and the first lady Comet across was Ruth Rodriguez in 16:45. The 8:05 pace is by far the best pace of her career to this point. Marisol Carlos also ran in the race as a substitute for a runner who couldn’t make it, and she ran 19:21. The 9:21 pace was a strong improvement for her as well.

In the soph boys race, Jay Austria ran a strong time of 14:45, a 7:08 pace, the 2nd best pace of his career so far. Navbir Kahlon finished in 15:56, a 7:42 pace as well.

With the JV races, the day turned to the 2.8 mile course, more comparable to our league races on the 2.74 mile Montgomery hill course. Even though it is a slightly longer course than Montgomery Hill, the conditions make it much faster. A good goal for any athlete is to try to run faster at Montgomery than you were able to manage at Lowell. This is even more challenging with the course being shortened this year.

Mariana Perez lead the JV girls with a time of 23:18. Estefani Herrera was close behind in 23:27. The 8:23 pace for Estefani is the best of her career to this point. Erika Camacho ran 24:06, a big step forward from a 27 minute clocking at Montgomery on Wednesday. Melanny Sanchez ran 24:21, the best race of her young career so far.

Hugo Marquez lead the JV boys with a time of 19:57, a big step forward from a 23 minute run on Wednesday. Abraham Benitez had by far the best race of his young career. He stopped the clock at 20:13, running 7:13 pace. Josh Merin was close behind in 20:24. Rodolf Ocampo ran 20:56 to and Luis Escamilla ran 21:23, breaking the 8 minute pace barrier for the first time.

The varsity girls race some some big breakthroughs as well. Namely Mya Hammond running 21:08 for the 2.8 mile course. Mya had never run under 8 minute pace for a cross country race before. She went way under that mark, managing a 7:33 mile pace for the race. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez ran 22:16 and 22:18, both dipping just under 8 minute pace for the race as well. Ashley Preciado and Yesenia Martinez both took solid steps forward running 23:19 and 23:33 respectively to round out the groups.

The final race of the day was varsity boys. Mark Orpia lead the group in 16:10, the 5:47 pace being the fastest of his career so far. Jerricho Habon was next in 17:00. Brandon Cruz and Nien Tran made up the 3rd and 4th in 17:26 and 17:39. Omar Fimbres was the 5th boy in 18:09

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The varsity boys after the race

After a very rough first league meet, the team bounced back soundly at the Lowell Invite.

The team will work towards matching their Lowell Invite times at Montgomery Hill, which would make the team a force to be reckoned with at meet #2.

The team will take most of the next 2 weeks to focus on training. The Comets won’t race again until September 21st at the DeLaSalle Invitational.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves