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

 

 

James Lick Track and Field: 2020 Season Preview

The Winter season of CCS sports is nearly over which means that the time for Spring Sports is nearly here, brining with it yet another James Lick track season. The 2019 season saw the Comets achieve their first winning season in the ‘B’ division of the BVAl ever, with the varsity boys squad finishing 5-2. This is a particularly exciting year given the string returners on the boys side especially, setting the team up to be competitive against every team they face in the division.

The division has a slightly new look with Perennial power Pioneer moving up to the ‘A’ division and Branham High School moving down. Pioneer went 7-0 on both the boys and girls sides last season, so their departure opens the door for new champions, although Branham will provide stiff competition in their stead.

Below, you can see lists of the top returning athletes in the division (based on marks in 2019) in each event. Obviously it’s tough to say what new athletes will show up, but this provides a decent idea of where the team stands in different areas.

Top Returning Boys

Top returning Girls

2019 Boys Point Scoring breakdown 

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 15.85 27 59% 7
Hurdles 12 18 66% 12.5
Jumps 23.25 36 65% 30
Relays 4.28 10 43% 14
Sprints 11.85 27 44% 10
Throws 4.71 18 26% 1

As this chart shows, the boys were an above average team in the division in 3/6 event areas, and were nearly league average in 2 others. Throws was the team’s real weakness in 2019, and it is a weakness the team, and throws coach Raul Lopez are working hard to rectify.

The team’s strongest event was boys hurdles and the event figures to be an even greater strength for the team this season. Rodolf Ocampo made it all the way to CCS trials last year after breaking through for a PR of 15.97 at last year’s BVAL finals. For reference however, he did not even run under 17 seconds until our division finals meet, and he should make a run at being the ‘B’ division champ in the event. Factor in Josh Merin who finished 6th in teh division in only his 3rd attempt at the 110 hurdles and these two seniors should form a very strong 1-2 punch for the team.

Things are looking good as the team comes out of conditioning. We use the early season to work n acceleration, with athletes like Rodolf running the 60 meter hurdles at the Los Gatos All Comers meet. A year ago, his PR in the event was 9.97. In just two all comers meets this year, he’s lowered his PR to 8.87.

The team has to deal with the loss of Salvador Lopez, the team’s #1 jumper from last season who is now at Piedmont Hills HS. Still, a strong jump core of Jamie Vong, Geo Campos and Jordan Lagura will look to keep jumps an event of strength for the team after scoring points at division finals last year. Jamie is another athlete off to a great early start. Last season he ended with a long jump PR of 18-6.5 Defying even his own expectations, this past Saturday at the all comers meet, Jamie managed a massive new PR of 19-7.

The team last top distance runner Erik Olsvold who graduated last year, but the team still has a number of scoring distance runners returning. Jerricho Habon is the #2 ranked 800m runner in the division and Brandon Cruz and Mark Orpia both return as sub 5 minute milers already, meaning distance should still be an area of strength although a very strong Branham distance squad will shake things up as well.

The sprints and relays squad was the team’s most improved last year. The 2019 team was the first 4×100 team from James Lick since 2001 to make CCS and 3 of the 4 members of the team are back. The returning members of the team who are conditioning are all ahead of where they were last year as well. After running the 60 meter dash 3 times last year, Raven Alcantara ended the season with a PR of 7.41, the fastest time we have on record. In only one all comers meet this season, Raven has run 7.28.

A year ago, the team’s top 5 boys in the 60 were Raven: 7.41,  Geo Campos 7.60, Salvador Lopez: 7.83, Josh Merin: 7.83 and Misael Herrera at 7.99. Geo and Josh are still in basketball season, Sal is at piedmont and Misael has graduated, yet the sprint team is poised to be much stronger this year based on early 60 meter times.

The team’s top sprinters so far, with still one all comers meet to go are:

Raven: 7.41

Rodolf: 7.53 (pr of 8.17 in 2019)

Jamie: 7.61 (PR of 8.07 in 2019)

Eric Dang 7.71 (a newcomer Sophmore we’re very excited about)

Jerricho Habon 7.72 (PR of 8.07 in 2019).

These times have been achieved without 3 of our 5 fastest returning sprinters.Our team’s acceleration is well ahead of where it was at this time a year ago.

Boys throws were the team’s biggest weakness last season, but coach Raul is hard at work trying to fix that. Throws in the ‘B’ division are a relatively weak event currently, and several newcomers are looking to make an impact.

From top to bottom, the boys squad should be a force in the division, looking for another winning season, and maybe even a division title.

 

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 13.55 27 50% 21
Hurdles 13.1 18 73% 24
Jumps 14.86 27 55% 0
Relays 1.73 10 17% 3
Sprints 7.72 27 28% 1
Throws 14.85 18 82% 32

The girls team was very strong last year in throws and in hurdles but both events will take a huge dent with the graduation of Valeria Cortez and Marquise Nelson. Both athletes made CCS in throws, and Valeria in particular scored the most dual meet points of any Comet on record last season, she will not be easily replaced.

The strides made by athletes like Adriana Marcelino who improved her discus by over 10 feet last year, will be key to keeping the Comets competitive in throws. A batch of young throwers is coming out from winter sports, including the younger sister of Charli Chircop. Charli threw 118-2 in discus in 2018 to set the school record, and her sister Jimmie is a Sophmore now, we can only hope she is a chip off the old block.

In hurdles, the loss of Valeria hurts, but Yesenia Martinez remains as a strong athlete in the event, a former BVAL qualafier. Natalie Rem will also have an impact as will freshmen Ceclia who is looking like a future star so far.

With a healthy season, Natalie can take the team far in jumps. She is still one of the top jumpers in the league with her triple jump PR of 33-4 being particularly strong in the division. Much of the girls season hinges upon her performance, as the team’s projected top sprinter as well. Lisbeth Galdamez has been a very reliable sprinter for the team, and if she can have one more breakthrough she could go from consistent 2nd and 3rds for the team in the 100 to achieving event wins. She and Yesenia also form the team’s solid 1-2 punch in long jump. Yeimili Adame has been the team’s top 400 runner and will look to end her senior year strong, coming off of a strong soccer season.

In distance, the team will also have to overcome the loss of Arlet Miranda. This is not an easy task but the younger distance girls stepped up huge in cross country to go 4-3 without Arlet. Jessica Cervantes and Lizbeth Espana are both in shape to PR already based on the al comers meet where Jessica ran 6:27 for the full mile (current PR of 6:24) and Lizbeth ran 6:38 (same as her PR for 1600). These two will be relied upon heavily, alongside young talents like Daisy Flores to help the team score points in distance.

The girls squad is looking to rebound from a 2-5 season, and add a couple more wins to the ledger this year. The team is determined to make our 3rd year in the ‘B’ division our most successful so far.

The team will compete at the Los Gatos all comers meet on Saturday February 22nd. The following week the team will face Independence in a scrimmage meet. Finally the season will truly begin on Saturday March 7th when the team competes at the Willow Glen Invitational.

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.

Comets Tune up for League Meets with Alumni Race

The 2019 edition of the James Lick Alumni Race took place on Friday August 30th in Alum Rock Park.  With the team’s first league meet of the just days away, the Alumni Race was critical for coach Raul and myself to determine who would run on which squad for the team.

We were fortunate to have a myriad of esteemed alumni in attendance, and several made a big impression on the race itself. The 2.25 mile course is shorter than the Comets league races, but it provides a good indicator of a runners potential nonetheless.

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Just before the race began 

 

The first Comet to cross the line was Mark Orpia in a strong time of 13:22. Over the past 15 years of alumni races, only 2 Comets have run faster on the alumni course, Azael Zamora, and Nathan Bernardo, two of the spearheads of the 2016 league championship team.  Mark’s time was a 1:10 second PR and puts him in a very strong place to start the season. He should already be able to attack his PR at Montgomery Hill despite the earliness of the season.

The next finisher was Joe Amendt, the legendary Comet from the class of 88. Joe finished in 13:43, nearly 30 seconds better than his 14:10 clocking from a year ago. He passed Nien Tran on the downhills, where Nien typically struggles. Nien nonetheless finished in a PR of 13:55, a PR by 1:20. Branon Cruz was next in 14:01, a 40 second PR for him as well, giving the Comets a much stronger 1-2-3 punch where the top runners were Erik Olsvold at 13:50, Jerricho Habon at 14:06, and Melvin Estrada at 14:34.

Azael Zamora and Erik Olsvold ran together, finishing in 15:04, and Omar Fimbres impressed running 15:10. Jerricho had a very rough race, but is normally close to Brandon and Nien. As Such, the real question mark on the boys squad is around the 5th boy, and Omar’s performance helped to ease some of those concerns. Geovanny Campos ran 15:39, and Melvin Estrada ran 16:08 to round out the varsity group.

Alumni Don Mora was the next runner in, stopping the clock at 16:44, a big improvement over his 18:01 from last year. Josh Merin and Rodolf Ocampo came in together at 17:04 and 17:08, both big PRS. Hugo Marquez followed close behind in a 30 second PR of 17:22 to give the reserve team a solid trio.

Jessica Cervantes ran a strong time of 17:36, demonstrating hwo rapidly she has become the team’s heir apparent to recent graduate Arlet Miranda. Jessica isn’t quite at the elite ‘B’ division level of Arlet and her preceder, Daniela Camacho (they both ran in the low 16s at Alumni) but her mid 17 clocking makes her just the 4th girl this decade to break 18 for the course. The girls team has a a lot to feel good about, more on that later.

Ronaldo Castillo was the top freshmen of the day, running 17:48, a promising time on the course. For reference, Nien is working towards his 3rd consecutive CCS appearance in XC, and as a freshmen, he ran 17:34 at the alumni race, very comparable to the time Ronaldo managed.

Luis Escamilla as another reserve boy finished in a solid 18:26, followed by #2 Lady Comet Mya Hammond. The fact that Mya ran faster than Belen Sanchez and Yeimili Adame did in 2018 is very encouraging. It was a massive PR as a year ago Mya only managed a time of 21:11. She would not be the last lady Comet to really stand out.

Abraham Benitez, and Navbir Kahlon, newcomers to the team came in together at 18:49 and 18:50. Freshmen Daisy Flores and Justin Nguyen came in together at 18:55 as well. Daisy looks to be the next in a strong line of a good Comet family. Daisy’ brother, Ricardo Flores, was a friend and teammate of mine on the 2009 WV  (‘C’) division championship. Ricardo and I battled for status as the #1 runner on the team senior year, and he ended his HS career with a strong PR of 4:41 in the 1600. Daisy looks to have the genes for running, along with the work ethic, and she’s established herself as a runner to watch going forward. Her cousin, Brianna Flores, was a member of the 2014 WV division championship team. We’ll have to make sure that Daisy isn’t the only runner in her family without a league title.

Not far back was Omar Sanchez in 19:04. Omar has improved dramatically over the course of the summer and along with Carlos Nava in 19:20, (brother of Daisy Nava, scoring member of the 2016 and 2017 WV division championship track teams) gives the team 4 dedicated freshmen to work with going forward.

This insurgency of youth was badly needed. Of our top 10 boys at the alumni race, only 1 was not a senior (Omar Fimbres, junior). Our goal is to try to have these boys ready to be quality ‘B’ division varsity boys by next season.

Just before Carlos finished, Emely Lopez came across as girl #4 in a great performance, running 19:18. This is faster than key runner Ashley Preciado managed last year when she ran 19:27. Alumni John Acosta came in right with Carlos Nava in 19:20, with freshmen Alexa Rodriguez, and Senior Yesenia Martinez finishing in 19:34, and 19:40 respectively. Ashley had an off day but still ran 19:52, and Lizbeth Espana, a standout in track now trying XC for the first time, ran 19:53. Estefani Herrera just missed the barrier running 20:01.

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The team after the race

 

 

The 20 minute barrier is significant as it has always signified a standard for the varsity girls. In my 6 years of coaching, we have never been worse than the 16th best team at BVAL finals, we’ve always been at least middle of the pack. Last year we managed 12th, a top half finish and in 2014 we were 8th. In all those years, the highest total of girls we’ve had who could run under 20 minutes at the alumni race was 5. That was last year, when Arlet, Yeimili, Belen, Ashley and Yesenia did so. That group went on to place 12th at BVAL’s WITHOUT Yeimili, our then #2 runner.

Despite Yeimili’s absence today, the team had 8 girls under 20, and Estefani missed by less than 1 second. Our JV girls team has been a BVAL powerhouse the past few years, but this year is going to be special in that regard because of the sheer depth on the team. We will be aiming for a top 5 finish at BVALS on the JV girls side.

Huu Thai was the next Comet in at 20:02, just beating out alumni Andres Rosas. Ruth Rodriguez and Mariana Perez ran PRS of 20:14 and 20:18. Erika Camacho took a step forward from her time trial result, running 21:12. Melanny Sanchez and Kaylena Gil finished in 21:59 and 22:46 respectively, adding even more depth to the JV girls. Jason Garcia finished in 23:06. Deisy Carlos ran 24:43. Emily DeLaRosa and Francia Castro ran 30:22 and 30:25 and alumni Nancy Reed finished the race with a clocking of 33:07.

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The Alumni in attendance, including long time James Lick coach Keith Antes (3rd from right)

 

The Comets have a lot to feel good about, and the season is here! The team will take on Prospect and Independence in their first league meet of the season on Wednesday September 4th at Montgomery Hill. Then, they will head to Golden Gate Park for the Lowell Invitational on Saturday September 7th.

The season is here and exciting times are ahead!

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

2019 Track Season Recap/ Ryan Oyama Awards

This blog is in two parts. The first part is a summary of the 2019 track team. The 2nd part is located at the end of that post, and is a summary of the Ryan/Oyama Awards ceremony. 

A I write this there are only 6 school days left at James Lick High School. Graduation for the class of 2019 is a week away, and all of the sports teams have finished their competition. It is a good time to look back on the track season briefly, and to recap the school year in terms of sports.

We went into the 2019 track season with the goal of achieving a winning record in the ‘B’ division in what was only our 2nd year in the division in the entire BVAL era (since 1996).  The boys managed to achieve this goal, going 5-2. The girls had a myriad of issues and only went 2-5. Nonetheless, the combined 7-7 record was an improvement on the 6-8 record the year before.

The team looked very strong at our first meet against Live Oak. The Comets took dominant wins against a quality Acorn team. At that moment, hopes were very high that both teams could be a force in the division.

As the season went on, the boys team showed more depth than any James Lick track team in nearly 20 years. For example, this season the Comets had 11 different boys run under 13 seconds for the 100 (they were all under 12.8 in fact). Since the year 2000, the most Comet boys to break that barrier in a single season had been the 8 boys who managed it last year. Of the 11 who managed it this year, only two were seniors.

Only one Comet in the last years had run under 55 seconds for the 400, Gustavo Aguilera in 2017. This year two Comets accomplished the feet, with Misael Herrera leading the way at 54.51, the best time since I’ve been coaching. We had 9 different boys run under 60 seconds in the 400, also a best of the last decade.

In my first 3 years of coaching, we had only 3 different boys who managed to long jump farther than 18 feet. This year alone we had 6 (None of them had done it before this year) and none of them are seniors. We also had our first 20 foot long jumper in over a decade in Salvador Lopez, who missed making CCS by only one place this year.

Perhaps the biggest leap forward for the boys was in pole vault however. Coach Raul Lopez worked hard last year to produce two vaulters for the first time in decades. Mark Orpia went 9-0 and Rodolf Ocampo 8-6. The two are the top returning vaulters in the division for next year, with PRS of 10-8 and 10-2. Rodolf also became the first Comet in 11 years to run under 16 seconds in the 110 hurdles. The 4×100 team ran 45.06, the best time by a James Lick team since 2002. The 4×400 achieved the same distinction running 3:36.78.

The team’s most valuable athletes based on league meet points scored were as follows:

1. Rodolf Ocampo: 106.75

2.Mark Orpia: 83 

3. Salvador Lopez: 77.50 

4. Raven Alcantara: 53.50 

5. Erik Olsvold: 39.50 

The top 4 point scorers on the boys side were all juniors, as were the 6th and 7th (Jerricho Habon with 38 and Geovanny Campos with 34). For reference, Rodolf is only the 2nd Comet boy to score over 100 points in a season since I’ve been coaching, and the first to do so in the ‘B’ division.

 

The team’s only real weakness was the throwing events, as demonstrated by the chart below.

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 15.85 27 59% 7
Hurdles 12 18 66% 12.5
Jumps 23.25 36 65% 30
Relays 4.28 10 43% 14
Sprints 11.85 27 44% 10
Throws 4.71 18 26% 1
 

 

 

The large amount of juniors on the team puts us in a great place for next year on the boys side, especially if we can find some strong throwers.

What started off as a season full of hope on the girls side, became a season of struggle unfortunately. We had a number of injuries, and some issues with academic ineligibility that really held the girls team back.

While the team had some standout athletes, team depth was simply not there. Valeria Cortez won league titles in the discus and the 100 hurdles to cement her already impressive legacy. Marquise Nelson finished 2nd in the girls shot put and discus at division finals, along with a 2nd place finish for Arlet Miranda in the girls 800.

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 13.55 27 50% 21
Hurdles 13.1 18 73% 24
Jumps 14.86 27 55% 0
Relays 1.73 10 17% 3
Sprints 7.72 27 28% 1
Throws 14.85 18 82% 32

As you can see from the girls event scoring breakdown, the girls sprint team due to injuries and grade issues, was not where it needed to be for the team to be competitive. This lead to a deficiency in jumps as well, by division finals the team was not able to score a point in jumps.

This will be an area of emphasis for next season. With the team’s top 3 point scorers all graduating on the girls side, the team will need to re-load quickly.

The girls top point scorers were as follows:

  1. Valeria Cotez: 155
  2. Arlet Miranda: 71.25 
  3. Marquise Nelson: 61
  4. Natalie Rem: 53.25
  5. Yesenia Martinez: 49 

Valeria’s point total is an unofficial team record (I only have records of points since I’ve been coaching) but it is a mark I do not see falling anytime soon.

Below are the top 3 marks in each events by the Comets this season:

 

Boys

Event #1 Comet Mark # 2 Comet Mark # 3 Comet Mark
100m Raven Alcantara 11.47 Salvador Lopez 11.84 Geovanny Campos 11.87
200m Raven Alcantara 23.94  Salvador Lopez 24.26 Misael Herrera 24.56
400m Misael Herrera 54.51  Salvador Lopez 54.97 Jerricho Habon 55.28
800m Erik Olsvold 2:05.90 Jerricho Habon 2:06.52 Mark Orpia 2:12.88
1600m Erik Olsvold 4:51.05 Mark Orpia 4:55.67 Brandon Cruz 4:55.81
3200m Mark Orpia 10:55.36 Jerricho Habon 11:02.14 Melvin Estrada 11:03.48
110H Rodolf Ocampo 15.97 Josh Merin 18.07 Mark Orpia 18.47
300h Rodolf Ocampo 45.59 Salvador Lopez 45.74 Mark Orpia 46.02
Shot Put Rodolf Ocampo 34-2 Nathan Rios 34-0 Adrian DeLaRosa 27-9
Dicsus Josh Merin 92-1 Nathan Rios 83-1 Alexis Sarellano 71-9
Long Jump Salvador Lopez 20-4 Geovanny Campos 19-2 Raven Alcantara 18-7.5
Triple Jump Salvador Lopez 38-2.50 Jordan Laguna 37-9.5 Raven Alcantara 37-9
High Jump Salvador Lopez 5-8 Josh Merin 5–4 Erik Olsvold 5-3
Pole Vault Mark Orpia 10-8 Rodolf Ocampo 10-2 Adrian DeLaRosa 8-6
4×100 Alcantara, Ocampo, Lopez, Campos 45.06 Alcantara, Merin, Lopez, Campos 45.72 Alcantara, Merin, Herrera, Campos 46.01
4×400 Lopez, Olsvold, Habon, Herrera 3:36.78 Herrera, Campos, Habon, Lopez 3:40.45 Herrera, Lopez, Merin, Habon 3:45.44

 

Girls 

 

Event #1 Comet Mark # 2 Comet Mark # 3 Comet Mark
100m Natalie Rem 13.73 Lisbeth Galdamez 13.90 Marquise Nelson 14.19
200m Mya Hammond 29.89 Yeimili Adame 30.10  Natalie Rem 30.18
400m Yeimili Adame 1:05.65 Arlet Miranda 1:09.21 Mya Hammond 1:14.43
800m Arlet Miranda 2:28.08 Mya Hammond 2:48.81 Ashley Preciado 2:51.62
1600m Arlet Miranda 5:42.11 Belen Sanchez 6:24.50 Jessica Cervantes 6:24.56
3200m Arlet Miranda 12:28.59 Yeimili Adame 13:27.25  Lizbeth Espana 14:14.08
100H Valeria Cortez 16.84 Yesenia Martinez 18.57 Natalie Rem 20.10
300h Valeria Cortez 52.08 Arlet Miranda 55.82 Yeimili Adame 56.24
Shot Put Marquise Nelson 33-8 Valeria Cortez 33-3 Natalie Rem 25-8.5
Dicsus Valeria Cortez 116-10 Marquise Nelson 94-4.5 Adriana Marcelino 75-0
Long Jump Marquise Nelson 14-9 Natalie Rem 14-4 Arlet Miranda 14-2
Triple Jump Natalie Rem 33-4.25 Yesenia Martinez 28-8 Marquise Nelson 28-6
High Jump Yesenia Martinez 4-6 Lisbeth Galdamez 4-4 Marquise Nelson 4-4
Pole Vault Yesenia Martinez 6-0        
4×100 Galdamez, Cervantes, Hammond, Rem 56.02 Galdamez, Nelson, Adame, Gonzalez 56.28 Thach, Nelson, Hammond, Adame 56.32
4×400 Espana, Sanchez, Adame, Miranda 4:53.24 Hammond, Sanchez, Adame, Miranda 4:57.49 Hammond, Cervantes, Nelson, Adame 4:59.33

The track season is over and the team is now finishing up their schoolwork. The distance- underclassmen will begin training for cross country in June, and a few of the Comets will be competing in summer track meets as members of a few clubs, such as the Eastside Running club.

Thanks for reading!

 

Ryan/Oyama Summary 

It was a down year for the school overall. The 2017/2018 school year saw James Lick finish with a combined record of 101-85-4, the first combined winning record for the school in many years.  This year the school went 67-85-4. It should be acknowledged however that the James Lick girls basketball team moved up to the ‘B’ division, which made it more difficult to obtain a great win/loss record.

We had the 2019 addition of the Ryan/ Oyama Awards on Tuesday May 21st in the James Lick gym. This ceremony is our signature end of the year award ceremony for all sports, and the Ryan award is the award for our best senior student-athlete as determined by their four years of athletics for the school. The Oyama award is the female equivalent.

The award ceremony begins with the coaches awards. Every team is allowed to give out two awards for each group on their team. For example, in cross country we are able to give two varsity and two JV awards for both boys and girls.

The JV girls awards went to Jessica Cervantes as the JV girls MVP and Estefani Herrera for the girls most improved runner. On the boys side, Gustavo Madrigal was our most improved JV runner and Omar Fimbres was our team MVP.

Arlet Miranda was our varsity girls MVP and Belen Sanchez was our most improved athlete. On the boys side, MVP went to Mark Orpia and Most Improved went to jared Resendiz.

In track, we gave our JV awards to Lizbeth Espana and Mya Hammond on the girls side, and Jordan Laguna and Dekota Castro-Lopez on the boys side. Valeria won the team MVP for girls and Adriana Marcelino was most improved. On the boys side, Adrian DeLaRosa won an award for leadership, and Rodolf Ocampo was our MVP.

Next up were the class awards. Jhesselyn Santos won freshmen girl of the year. She participated in cross country, wrestling, and track. She was a strong young athlete in the sports I coach, and she won the most improved award for JV wrestling.

Jordan Laguna won the boys freshmen of the year. He excelled as a jumper in track and besides our award, he won an award for wrestling as well. Sophomore of the year went to a couple more XC runners. Omar Fimbres won the boys award, he played basketball and baseball in addition to being a strong cross country runner. Esetfani Herrera won the girls award, she played soccer besides running cross country and track.

Dulce Jacobo, one of the stars of the school’s championship volleyball team, and the school’s ‘B’ division basketball team, won junior of the year. I’ve been trying to get Dulce to join track for several years now to no avail. Rodolf won the boys junior of the year in something of an upset victory considering there were several 3 sport junior athletes of comparable caliber, whereas Rodolf only ran cross country and track.

Finally the moment everyone was waiting for, the Ryan/Oyama Awards themselves. The Ryan Award went to Misael Herrera, the 3rd straight track athlete to win it following Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora. Misael competed in football and track all four years of his HS career, and also competed in wrestling his junior and senior year. He is a dedicated and very hard working teammate. His victory was not shocking considering he had won freshmen of the year, sophomore of the year, and junior of the year throughout his career.

The girls competition however was very tight. It’s difficult to compare across eras, but I think there is a legitimate case to be made that the 2019 girls class is the best athletic class in James Lick history.

The girls class of 2019 produced 6 division titles for the school. Of those 6, 4 came in sports that James Lick had never won a championship in. During Arlet and Valeria’s freshmen year, they both scored a ton of points towards helping us win our first ever championship in girls track. This duo were the 1-2 punch that helped us repeat this feat in 2017, and saw us move up to the ‘B’ division for the first time.

In the fall of 2017, Valeria was the setter for the school’s first ever championship in girls volleyball. The star of the team was the middle hitter, Marquise. Marquise used her height to excel at spiking, and this duo was the driving force behind their back-back titles in girls volleyball.

In winter of 2018, the girls basketball team won their first title since 1997, lead by the efforts of Marquise, and other key contributors from the class of 2019 like Corina Gutierrez and Serena Salas (both also played for the championship volleyball team). The girls softball team was lead by star pitcher Corina, and twice finished with a record of 17-4 during this four year span, missing a title by one game twice.

In addition to her prowess in volleyball and track, Valeria made it to the State meet in wrestling with a 3rd place finish at CCS finals. This to say nothing of the accomplishments of 3 sport athletes like Belen Sanchez, who was also a key to several team records in cross country this season, a team captain on the soccer team and a member of both track championship teams.

In most years, I think Arlet would have been a shoe in for the Oyama award. She is a 4 time CCS qualifier (3 in cross, one in track) who has won individual league championships and lead a team to two league titles, all while maintaining a 4.0. The high number of string 3 sport athletes made it so that she was not even in the top 3 candidates considered.

In the end, Valeria won the Oyama award against a very deserving runner up in Marquise. To me, this was the toughest call between any  Oyama or Ryan award duo that I’ve ever seen. I think either lady could have taken home the honors.

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Misael Herrera (Left) Myself (Center) and Valeria Cortez (Right) with their awards

That puts a wrap on another year of James Lick sports. James Lick graduation is on Wednesday May 29th at the football field beginning at 7 PM. The final day of school is on May 30th.

We are nearly at the end of another school year!

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

Comets To Be Represented at CCS Finals For 3rd Consecutive Year

The Comets took to Gilroy High School on Saturday May 11th 2019 for CCS trials. A total of 6 Comets competed in the meet, the most for James Lick in over a decade. The meet saw a few strong results for the team, and for the 3rd consecutive season, James Lick will have an athlete competing at CCS Finals in the girls discus.

The meet began with the boys 4×100. Geovanny Campos, Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo and Salvador Lopez combined to run 46.04, an off race due to a poor first exchange. This saw them place 28th in the meet. They are nonetheless the first 4×100 team for James Lick to compete at CCS since 2002. With an all junior quartet, the Comets will hope to be back at the event next season.

Marquise Nelson ended her track career with a PR in the Shot Put. She threw 33-8, a PR by 8 inches and moved up to #3 on the schools all-time list in the event. Marquise didn’t join track until this, her senior season. She showed great talent to finish 16th at CCS trials, despite her inexperience in the event.

Rodolf became the first Comet to contest the 110 hurdles at CCS in over a decade as well. Rodolf had alot go wrong with his race. He took 9 steps to the first hudle (All season we’ve used an 8 step takeoff) and this forced him to hurdle on his right leg for the race instead of his left. Rodolf can use both legs effectively because he spent most of the season “four-stepping” (alternating legs) but his left leg is his stronger lead led. He lost momentum and almost crashed into the final hurdle narrowly avoiding it. Despite all this, he ran 16.57, the 2nd best time of his career. He placed 19th and I am very excited about his chances to produce even greater results next season.

The final Comet to compete on the day has been our ringer for the past four seasons, Valeria Cortez. As detailed in past posts, Valeria has been our MVP for 3 straight seasons, and has represented James Lick to a very high caliber both on and off the track.  Because she has been such a strong athlete for such a long time, PRS have not been easy to come by for Valeria.

She entered the meet with a PR of 112-8, 2nd in school history, a mark that had not been improved upon since April of 2018. Both she, and throws coach Raul Lopez have worked hard all season with the goal of making CCS Finals, and finally achieving a PR in the girls discus. This involved weeks of fine-tuning and minor tweaks to her form, all with the hope of squeezing a last few inches out of Valeria’s arm before the end of her High School career.

Only the top 12 athletes advance to CCS Finals in field events, and Valeria was ranked to do so. That being said, the field was very strong.

Valeria’s first throw was a 95 foot mark. Well off her best. Her 2nd was a 108 foot toss with a very high release. The mark put her safely into the top 12, but it looked as if she had more in her on the day. Throw number three looked to be very strong, but Valeria was not able to maintain controlling, she stepped outside the ring for a foul.

On her final throw, Valeria had the same strong rotation, but the release still seemed a little too high. The discus wobbled in the air due to this, but the momentum was there. The throw measured at 116-10, a PR by over 2 feet to send her to CCS Finals as the #6 seed. This is the highest ranking for any James Lick athlete at CCS finals since Ruth Lebeau in 2007.

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Valeria Cortez taking a warmup throw before the meet

Valeria will represent the Comets next Friday at the Gilroy venue. Charli Chircop made CCS finals two years in a row in this event, and now Valeria will take her turn at representing the team at the CCS’ most hallowed event. According to my records, she will be the 26th Comet to compete at CCS Finals.

She and the other 11 ladies in the event will receive 3 throws. The top 8 at that point will be re-seeded and receive an additional 3 throws. The top 8 athletes will score points for their teams. The top 6 athletes make the CCS podium (and I think they get medals) and the top 3 athletes will advance to the State Meet.

Based on the standings, 3rd place is a difficult proposition (124-1 is the 3rd seed). That being said, Valeria is ranked to make the CCS podium. For an athlete who has racked up more medals than any other Comet in recent years, it would be a great one to end on. The competition will be fierce. the #4 seed is less than a foot ahead of Valeria. The #7 seed has a PR over 120′.

It is sure to be an exciting day on Friday May 17th, when Valeria Cortez will represent James Lick for what is likely the final time in a marvelous career that has defined what I affectionately think of as our attempt at a James Lick Track renaissance.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Both Boys Relays Teams, 3 More Individuals Advance to CCS Trials

Counting the relay athletes, the Comets had 9 CCS qualifiers from the BVAL Finals meet on Thursday May 2nd at Westmont High School. This is the most athletes the team has seen qualify for CCS in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). That being said, the team only produced 3 individual qualifiers, compared to 4 the year before.

The meet features the top 7 athletes from the ‘A’ division finals, the top 5 athletes from the ‘B’ division finals and the top 4 from the ‘C’ division finals. In some events, additional athletes competed in the case that the “At-large” mark was reached. For example if the 5th place time in the ‘C’ division final was high quality enough, they would also advance to BVAL finals.

For the most part, every event has 16 entries and the top 8 in each event advance to CCS Trials.

The meet began with the pole vault. Last year at BVAL finals, both Mark Orpia and Rodolf Ocampo competed, representing the Comets at the meet in Pole Vault for the first time in school history. They went 9-0 and 8-6 respectively, both PRs at the time. The duo has come a long way, with the pair achieving PRS of 10-8 and 10-2 respectively at this years addition. They placed 10th and 12th.

Next up was the girls discus. Valeria Cortez took 2nd overall with a toss of 111-1, sealing her 4th consecutive CCS appearance in the girls discus. Joe Amendt and Ruth Lebeau are the only other Comets (on record) to make CCS four times in a single event. Marquise Nelson managed a PR in the event though she came in 10th, ending her career with a best of 94- 4.5, the 5th best mark in school history in the discus.

The running events began at 5:00 PM with the 4×100. This years squad has established themselves as the best 4×100 team from James Lick in many years and they backed it up, becoming the first 4×100 team from James Lick to make CCS trials in the BVAL era. The squad of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos combined to run a seasons best 45.06 to place 7th, clinching their spot at CCS.

The next event with Comet competitors was the hurdles. Valeria ended her career in the event with a 17.28, finishing 10th place. Valeria’s PR of 16.75 in the event is currently the #3 all-time mark in school history (on record).It was an off race for her, where many times were hampered by a headwind. Yesenia Martinez was racing well until she clipped a hurdle and stumbled, losing her balance. She recovered but it was a poor time by her standards.

The performance of the day in my opinion, and perhaps the performance of my entire coaching tenure was Rodolf in the 110 hurdles. Last year, Rodolf began hurdling late in the season and ended the year with a PR of 19.01, not advancing to BVAL finals. This year, he improved dramatically, lowering his PR all the way down to 16.85 at ‘B’ division finals to place 3rd and qualify for BVALS. He went into BVAL finals ranked 11th, meaning he would need a big day to make CCS. Rodolf had more than a big day, he had an absolute breakthrough. He placed 5th in a massive PR of 15.97, making CCS by a wide margin. After “four-stepping” all year, it was Rodolf’s first time “Three-stepping” a race and it lead to the huge PR. Rodolf is the first boy to make CCS in the 110 hurdles in the BVAL era.

The Comets did not have any more competitors in the meet until the boys 100. Raven ran 11.63, the 2nd best time of his career in the event, placing 14th. Next up was the girls 800. After years of ups and downs, Arlet Miranda went out with the best time of her career, 2:28.08. This PR was not enough to get her to CCS however, as she finished 9th, one spot out of qualification. Arlet nonetheless ends her career #2 in school history in all 3 distance events.

Jerricho Habon competed in the boys 800 but had a poor race, gaining experience for next years addition. The final field events were going on at this time. Marquise Nelson threw 32-4.5 for 7th place in the girls Shot Put, punching her ticket to CCS trials. In the long jump, Sal barely missed his PR, going 20-3.5 but sadly finishing in 9th place. Even so, Sal had a great season as last year his best long jump was 17-10. Yeimili Adame contested the girls 3200 for the Comets, running 13:27, a PR by more than 30 seconds, moving her to #7 on the schools all time list in the event.

IMG_7114
Arlet Miranda in the final (and fastest) 800m of her HS career

The final event of the day was the boys 4×400. The Comets went in ranked 11th, needing a great performance and some good luck to make it through to CCS. The team of Sal, Erik Olsvold, Jerricho and Misael Herrera combined to run 3:36.78, the best time by any JL 4×400 team since the 3:35 clocking of 2002. Initially, it looked like the Comets were 10th, but disqualifications to Willow Glen and Pioneer moved the Comets up to 8th place.

IMG_7120
Left to right: Salvador Lopez, Jerricho Habon, Misael Herrera and Erik Olsvold after the 4×400 

The Comets who advanced to CCS trials will be competing on Saturday May 11th at Westmont High School with the chance to end the season with some good marks, and to potentially make CCS finals. The 9 total qualifiers is the highest number the Comets have ever produced at BVAL finals.

CCS Trials begins at 10 AM at Gilroy High School.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

Comets Fly High at Day 1 of Division Finals

Day 1 of ST (‘B’) Division finals kicked off on Thursday April 18th at Lincoln High School. The meet serves as the final determinant of standings in the division. Day 1 is trials in all lane events, with the top 8 athletes advancing to finals on Saturday. The top 8 athletes in each event score points for their teams in the following format:

1st place: 10 points

2nd place: 8 Points

3rd place: 6 points

4th place: 5 points

5th place: 4 points

6th place: 3 points

7th place: 2 points

8th place: 1 points.

The final point totals at division finals help solidify the standings for the regular season. In addition, the top 5 athletes in each final advance to BVAL Championships in 2 weeks (the CCS qualifying meet).

Most events were only trials on Thursday but the Comets did well in a few different finals.  The meet began with the pole vault for example. Mark Orpia managed a full foot PR of 10-6 to take 2nd place overall. Rodolf Ocampo was 3rd in 10-0 even. Last year, these two placed 4th and 5th with jumps of 8-6 and 8-0, to become the first vaulters from James Lick in a long time. Both have come along way, as both are now over the 10 foot barrier. Adrian DeLaRosa tied for 6th with a vault of 8-0.

The next event to take place was the boys high jump. Salvdor Lopez had an off day, only clearing 5-4 and tied for 6th, unfortunately out of the qualification for BVALS. Josh Merin tied with Sal in what was a PR for him, going 5-4 as well. Erik Olsvold went 5-2 in the event as well.

Meanwhile, the Girls discus was won by Valeria Cortez with a best of 111-11. This was the 2nd consecutive division championship in the girls discus for Valeria, and the 4th division championship of her career (she has two titles in the 100 hurdles). Valeria will certainly leave James Lick as one of the most decorated athletes in school history, with a shot at a 3rd consecutive division title in the girls 100 hurdles on Saturday.

Marquise Nelson was 2nd with the 2nd best throw of her career, 87-4. This 1-2 punch will advance to BVALs looking for even more. In the boys Shot Put, Nathan Rios managed 8th place with a huge PR of 34-0 (previous best 31-10).

The running events began with the girls 1600. Arlet Miranda placed 5th in 5:45, the 4th BVAL qualification of her career in the 1600. Ruth Rodriguez also ran, clocking in at 6:41, the 2nd best time of her career.

In the 100 hurdles, the Comets advanced two athletes to the final on Saturday. Valeria ran a seasons best 17.01 and enters the final as the #1 ranked athlete by a wide margin. Yesenia Martinez is ranked 5th entering the final with a time of 19.28.

On the boys side, the Comets also advanced two hurdlers to the final. Rodolf  ran a PR of 17.09 and is ranked 3rd entering the final. Josh managed a huge PR of 19.30 and is ranked 6th for the final on Saturday. Dekota Castro-Lopez also competed, running a PR of 21.70.

In the girls 400, Yeimili Adame ran a PR by more than a second, clocking in at 1:05.65 to place 2nd in her heat. Despite placing 2nd in her heat, Yeimili actually ran the 2nd best time of the day between the 3 heats. She will enter the final as the #4 seed because she did not win her heat, but figures to have a great shot at making BVALS. Estefani Herrera ran a PR of 1:17.34 in the event as well.

On the boys side, Misael Herrera made the 2nd division final of his career, placing 7th overall with the 2nd best time of his career (54.86). A big PR in the final could see him advance to BVAL Champs. He is ranked 7th entering the final. Angel Guerrero alos competed, running 59.56.

The 100m dash saw multiple false starts which hindered some of the times. Even so, Marquise managed a small PR of 14.19. Chantrea Thach ran the 2nd best time of her career as well (15.54). After missing the final narrowly last year, Raven Alcantara ran 11.81 to qualify for this one as the #6 seed). Geo Campos ran 12.10 to place 10th and Jordan Laguna also competed for the Comets.

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Raven Alcantara getting out in the 100m dash

The final field event of the day was the boys triple jump, where Raven, Jordan and Jamie Vong represented the team. Jamie and Jordan both scored points in the final, with Jamie taking 7th in 37-1 and Jordan taking 8th in 36-8.25.

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Jamie Vong on the final phase of his triple jump 

All 3 lady Comets in the 800 advanced to the final on Saturday and with strong performances to boot. Arlet took 2nd in her heat at 2:35, losing only to Hannah Gehrt, the #1 seed in the event. Arlet’s time was the 2nd best time on the day, so she enters the final as the #3 seed (since she was nota  heat winner). Mya Hammond ran a massive PR of 2:49.41 and is the #9 seed entering the final, putting her in a position to score. Mya’s previous best was 2:57, but her strong sprint times indicated she was ready for a big breakthrough in the 400/800. Ashley Preciado also advanced to the final running 2:51.62 for a seasons best, putting her ranked 11th for the final on Saturday.

Erik Olsvold ran the 800 knowing it would be the final race of his career since he will not be able to attend the final on Saturday. Erik went all-out , running a new PR of 2:05.90 in the event. It was by far the 2nd best time of the day, but unfortunately Erik’s distance season will end here. Jerricho Habon comfortably made the final, coasting to 7th overall in 2:13.47.

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Erik Olsvold in the 800 on his way to a PR

In the girls 300 hurdles, all 3 Comets made the finals. Valeria placed 4th overall in 54.41. Yeimili ran a new PR of 56.24 to place 5th and Arlet ran 56.64 for 6th. On the boys side, Rodolf and Mark head to the final ranked 3rd and 4th with PRS of 45.46 and 45.50.

In the girls 200, Mya ran a 2nd big PR of the day, running 29.89 for the event, the only Comet to break 30 seconds this season. Chantrea also ran a big PR, running under 33 seconds for the first time to clock in at 32.64. On the boys side, Raven made the final as the #8 seed with a new PR of 24.04. Misael matched his PR of 24.56 and Angel competed as well though he was not close to his PR.

The final event of the day was the final of the boys 3200. Two Comets scored points for the team. Melvin Estrada ran a seasons best 11:02 for 7th place and Brandon Cruz ran a PR of 11:07 for 8th.

The Majority of the finals will take place on Saturday, but with 4 finals finished on the girls side, and 5 finals finished on the boys side, here are the team scores so far:

Boys: 

  1. Pioneer 83 points
  2. Lincoln 29 points
  3. James Lick 27 points
  4. Prospect 24 points
  5. Sobrato 15 points
  6. Piedmont Hills 11 points
  7. Live Oak 6 Points
  8. Oak Grove 0 points

Girls: 

  1. Lincoln 25 Points
  2. James Lick 22 Points
  3. Pioneer 18 points
  4. Sobrato 20 points
  5. Oak Grove 15 Points
  6. Piedmont Hills 15 points
  7. Live Oak 6 points
  8. Prospect 6 points

 

If the current positions hold, the Comets are likely to move up in the standings on the girls side and Pioneer is in danger of losing their division title on the girls side are going 7-0 in the regular season.

The final day of Division finals will kick off at 11 AM on Saturday April 20th. Athletes who make BVALS champs will then have spring break to train hard for an even bigger meet.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Division Finals Looming, Comets show up big time at Bearcat Invitational: Varsity Girls Place 4th out of 50 Teams

The Comets took to San Mateo High School for the 2019 edition of the Bearcat Invitational on Saturday April 14th. This has been one of my personal favorite invitationals over the past 6 years. Usually it comes after a hard week of spring break training, which results in big PRS for our competing athletes. This year, spring break is yet to come, but with division finals next Thursday and Saturday, this would be the final meet of the year for many of the teams athletes, and a final tuneup for our Comets competing at finals.

The meet began with the boys 4×100. Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Jordan Laguna combined to run 45.79 for 6th place overall, the 2nd best time the Comets have run this season.

Valeria Cortez took 3rd place overall with a 17.44 in the 100 hurdles. This is the best time she’s run at the Bearcat Invite. Yesenia Martinez narrowly missed a medal, finishing 7th in an off race of 19.22. The medals go 6-deep at the Bearcat invite, a nice incentive for athletes. Rodolf Ocampo finished 5th in 17.66 despite a messy race, showing how much potential he still has in the event.

At this same time, the varsity long jump was going on. Salvador Lopez just missed medaling, taking 7th place in a new PR of 20-4. This was achieved on a slightly descended pit (the sand is not as high as the runway) but is a strong PR nonetheless. Geo Campos also managed a PR going 19-2. Jamie Vong missed his PR by a fraction, going 18-4 compared to a best of 18-6. In the frosh/soph version of the event, Jordan Laguna managed a huge PR of 18-0.

In the girls discus, Valeria managed the win in 108-3. This is the 2nd time this season she has been an invitational champion in the girls discus, adding with her 7 dual meet wins, she has 9 total meet victories in the event. She will aim to make it 10 at division finals next week. Marquise Nelson managed 6th place with a throw of 85-1, the 2nd best mark of her career. Adriana Marcelino had an off day, throwing 67-4 and 21-11 in the shot put. Valeria took 3rd overall in shot put with a best of 30-9 and Marquise won the meet overall with a toss of 32-0. A strong day for the lady Comet throwers to win both throwing events at an invitational with 50 total registered teams.

The distance events have always gone very well for us at the Bearcat invite, and today was some of the same. Arlet Miranda ran a seasons best 5:42.11 in the girls 1600 despite a poorly paced race. Jessica Cervantes ended her season with a PR of 6:24.56. Mya Hammond and Jessica continue their rivalry as despite being in separate heats, they ran nearly identical times with Mya lowering her PR from 6:30 to 6:24.68. Ashley Preciado ran a seasons best 6:29.42 as well. Ruth Rodriguez lowerred her PR from 6:37 to 6:38, and Emely Lopez took a huge chunk out of her PR, running 7:03 compared to a previous best of 7:19. Jhesselyn Santos rounded out the lady Comet milers with a time of 7:24, compared to a previous best of 7:36.

On the boys side, Mark Orpia lowered his PR to 4:56, while Brandon Cruz ran the 2nd best time of his career, clocking in at 5:03. Better things were ahead in the 800 for the team as well.

Our sole 400m runner of the day was Misael Herrera. Considering it was his final HS invitational AND it was his birthday, his might have been the performance of the day. Misael was never the most talented runner. When we first timed his as a freshmen, he ran 1:04 for the 400 on natural ability. His sprint speed is not killer, as this season he’s only run 12.52 for the 100. He’s always worked hard to chip away at times, making himself more and more valuable to the team. As a freshmen, his PR at division finals was 57.72. Sophomore year he lowered it to 56.48 at none other than the Bearcat Invite. Last year, his PR came at division trials when he ran 55.61 finishing 10th, just shy of making the final. At the Bearcat invite, he went into the meet with a seasons best of 56.41 and absolutely went off to run 54.51, a PR by over a second and the best 400m time any Comet has run since I’ve been coaching.

54 seconds is not blazing fast for a 40m runner. We have Comet alum who could have managed it comfortably for the first lap of an 800. It means alot to see an athlete consistently work hard and improve, so athletes like Misael achieving times like this is truly the most rewarding aspect of coaching. He will look to go even faster at division finals.

The 100m dash at bearcat is never particularly fast. The track usually produced better distance times than sprint ones. That being said, the Comets had a few strong marks. Raven Alcantara ran 11.81, the fastest time he’s ever clocked at an invitational. Valeria ran the 2nd best 100m dash of her career, running 14.26. Most impressive was Mya running a huge PR in the event. Mya has shwon great improvement to her speed this year and this was her first meet ever wearing spikes. Her previous best was 15.48 and she ran 14.27 for a massive PR. (THis was after a PR in the 1600 mind you). We think long term she is a 400/800 runner but she has struggled to execute a race utilizing her good speed and balance it with her solid endurance. Emily De Dios ran a big PR of 16.04, compared to a previous best of 16.48. A great way to end her season.

Arlet ran her best 800m of the season, despite it being a negative split (first lap slower than the second) to clocking in at 2:31.84 for 2nd place. It is also the 2nd best time she’s ever run after a 1600, showing she is back in good shape heading into division finals.  Emely managed a 2nd big PR on the day, lowering her best from 3:20 to 3:10.

One of the very best breakthroughs of the day came in the boys 800. Jerricho Habon lowered his PR from 2:10.75 to 2:06.52, a huge PR that saw him just miss a medal. Jerricho is rounding in to shape at the right time, and figures to go even faster at division finals. Most of my best runners to this point have been 3200 runners rather than 800 runners, so Jerricho’s time is the best any Comet has achieved under me. I trust he will improve upon it soon. Mark also took 4 seconds off his PR, lowering his PR from 2:16 to 2:12.88 a solid PR to end his season in the event.

Yesenia ran a seasons best in the 300 hurdles, clocking in at 58 seconds. She also cleared 5-0 in pole vault, the first time she’s competed at an invitational. On the boys side of this event, Rodolf cleared 10-0 for the 2nd time in his career, equalling his PR. He also just missed a PR in the 300 hurdles, running 45.60, .01 seconds off his best. Sal lowered his PR to 45.13 in the event, and he still has tone of room for improvement as he is very new at hurdling,

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As seen here, Sal does not yet have a full feel for hurdling, clearing the hurdle way higher than is necessary. 

The final event the Comets competed in on the day was the 200. Estefani Herrera lowered her PR in the event 34.31 and Emely Lopez ran 38.26 for a new PR as well. Raven ran a big PR of 24.19, taking a full half second off his best best in the event. Misael just missed his seasons best, running 24.76 the 3rd best time of his career. Angel Guerrero ran a new PR of 25.58 taking 3 tenths of a second off his best.

It was a great confidence building meet for the team as they head towards division finals. There were 22 PRS on the day and the varsity girls finished 4th place overall out of 50 listed registered teams. It should be acknowledged that the CCS top 8 meet was the same day, so many of the top athletes in the area headed to that. That being said, many strong athletes from other sections were present, and the team will prepare for division finals ready to show their stuff.

The team will compete at BVAL – ST (‘B’)- division finals on Thursday April 18th and Saturday April 20th at Lincoln High School. All trials for lane events and the 800 will take place on Thursday April 18th, as well as finals in the following events:

Boys 3200, Girls 1600, Boys Long Jump, Boys High Jump, Girls Triple Jump, Girls Discus, Boys Shot Put. The Pole Vault competition will likely take place on Wednesday April 17th at Prospect High School.

ST division finals are significant in a few ways. The meet will determine the final standings for each team in the division. The top 8 athletes in each event score for their teams and the top 5 in each advance advance to BVAL Finals (CCS qualifying meet)  on Thursday May 2nd.

The big meets are ahead and I for one could not be more excited.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves