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

 

 

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.

James Lick Track 2010-2019: All Decade Team

This blog will be an attempt to name the James Lick all Decade Team. The main criteria for this list will simply be the best marks achieved in this decade, under the hypothetical of a championship meet where the team can only enter 3 athletes in each event. The main complication to this simple procedure is in the case of athletes who excelled in a variety of events when athletes are limited to a 4 event maximum.

I will explain my logic in who I’d pick and why, and I will include 2 alternates in each event in the case of extenuating circumstances, these athletes would step in.

For the sake of context, I’ll go through each event and explain how well the Comets would do in each event by using the 2019 BVAL Finals meet for comparison, where the best athletes from all 3 divisions compete together.

4×100: 

4×100
Place Boy Girl 
1. 2019: 45.06 2018: 53.85
2. 2018: 45.50  2016: 54.14
3.  2017: 46.88  2015: 55.04 

As you can see, the best 4×100 teams of the decade for the Comets were the 2019 boys squad and the 2018 girls squad. The 2019 boys team had the following competitors along with their best 100m times.
1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47   2. Salvador Lopez: 11.84  3. Geovanny Campos 11.87 Rodolf Ocampo: 12.06.   They are the #2, #4, #5 and #7 Comet sprinters of the decade. For the purpose of the all decade team, I’d substitute Sal and Rodolf Out as both boys excel in other events, and substitute in Davion Thomas (11.42) and Ace Medina (11.68). Assuming similar handoffs, this team would run approximately 44.2. which would have been good for 4th at BVAL finals last year.

The 2018 girls squad consisted of: 1. Natalie Rem: (13.49), 2. Lisbeth Galdamez (13.90) 3. Yeimili Adame (14.44) and Justine Austria (14.54). Despite the 53.85 time of the team being tops in the decade, On paper this team could be improved alot. Natalie and Lis are the top 2 Comet sprinters of the decade, but the addition of Maria Mendoza (13.94) and Andrea Ortiz (14.04) would likely bring this team down to a high 52, maybe 52.9. This would only be 9th at BVAL finals last year, as girls sprints have been a weak spot this decade.

 

4×100 all decade teams: 

 

  1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47                                          1. Maria Mendoza: 13.94
  2. Ace Medina 11.68                                                    2. Andra Ortiz: 14.04
  3. Goevanny Campos 11.87                                        3. Lisbeth Galdamez 13.90
  4. Davion Thomas: 11.42                                            4. Natalie Rem: 13.49

(Alternates):  Jose Limon 11.97                                          Karen Montes (14.19)

 

1600 All Decade Team 

1600
Place Boy Girl 
1. Azael Zamora: 4:33.64  

Class of 2018

Daniela Camacho: 5:27.54

Class of 2015

2. Erik Olsvold: 4:37.19 

Class of 2019

Arlet Miranda: 5:31.27

Class of 2019

3.  Karan Singh: 4:39.91

Class of 2015

Belen Sanchez: 6:01.67

Class of 2019

This team is pretty straight forward. Azael, Erik and Karan are the 3 fastest milers of the decade, and all have great experience in running it. On the girls side, Belen is actually the 5th fastest lady Comet of the decade in the 1600. That being said, there is a big gap from Daniela and Arlet down to #3 (Maria Mendoza at 5:52). Even more so to Paloma Contreras (6:01.00). Both Maria and Paloma are more useful to the team in other events however, yielding the 3rd spot on the all-decade team to Belen.

Both dual meet squads will be dominant in the ‘C’ division, Strong in the ‘B’ division and decent in the ‘A’ division.

Boys Alternates: Ricardo Flores: 4:42.18   Nathan Bernardo: 4:47.52

Girls Alternates: Ashley Preciado: 6:09.84  Daisy Nava: 6:11.20

100/ 110 Hurdles All Decade Team 

 

110/110H
Place Boy Girl 
1. Rodolf Ocampo: 15.97

Class of 2020

Valeria Cortez: 16.75

Class of 2019

2. Cody Huoch: 16.59 

Class of 2018

Andrea Ortiz: 17.10

Class of 2016

3.  Hadji Yono-Cruz: 17.83

Class of 2018

Kirsten Yutuc: 18.22

Class of 2020

This list is again quite straight forward, these are the top 3 hurdlers of the decade for the Comets. This would be quite a formidable team as all 6 of these hurdlers made BVALS in this event at least once in their careers and Rodolf and Valeria both made CCS. Valeria was a 2 time ‘B’ division champ in this event, and this squad would score points in a dual against every BVAL team.

Boys Alternates: Josh Merin: 18.07  Mark Orpia: 18.47

Girls Alternates: Yesenia Martinez: 18.43  Susie Peterson: 18.85

400m All Decade Team 

 

400
Place Boy Girl 
1. Misael Herrera: 54.51

Class of 2019

Paloma Contreras: 1:02.54

Class of 2015

2. Gustavo Aguilera: 54.70

Class of 2017

Yeimili Adame: 1:05.65 

Class of 2020

3.  Salvador Lopez: 54.97

Class of 2020

Cierra Gutierrez: 1:07.59

Class of 2018

3 Comets managed to break 55 for the 400 this season, so unsurprisingly they make the cut here. Gustavo Aguilera won a ‘C’ divsion 400m title as did Paloma Contreras, the #4 girl in school history the event and also a CCS qualifier. Yeimili is a clear #2 before a list of 5 comets between 1:06 and 1:07. From Andrea Ortiz, Maria Mendoza and Arlet Miranda, the team has 3 girls at 1:06 who are better at other events. This continues with Daniela Camacho at 1:07.54. This leads us to a freshmen who had a lot of ability who did not stick with the sort in Cierra Gutierrez. Cierra was not the most reliable runner, but her talent make her a high risk high reward option in the 3rd slot.

The boys 400 squad would only be moderately strong in the ‘B’ division. The 1-2 punch of Paloma and Yeimili would be solid even in the ‘A’ division (mainly because of Paloma) though this is not one of the team’s stronger events this decade.

Boys Alterantes: Jose Limon (55.28)  Cesar Azevedo (55.28)

Girls Alternates: Gabriela Aguilar: 1:09.39  Justine Austria: 1:10.11

100m All Decade Team 

 

100m
Place Boy Girl 
1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47

Class of 2020

Natalie Rem: 13.49

Class of 2021

2. Davion Thomas: 11.43 (W)

Class of 2016

Lisbeth Galdamez: 13.90

Class of 2020

3.  Ace Medina: 11.68 

Class of 2018

Maria Mendoza: 13.94 

Class of 2017

The boys list is very clear here as only 3 boys in this decade ran under 11.8, let alone 11.7. Raven and Davion as a 1-2 punch would do well in even the ‘A’ division as both are near CCS caliber runners. Ace would be a strong 3rd. On the girls side, this is one of our weaker events. Natalie is the only lady Comet in the entire decade to score points at division finals for the team, but the 3 girls on this list are the only sub 14 second girls of the decade.

Boys Alternates: Geo Campos: 11.87      Jose Limon: 11.97

Girls Alternates:  Karen Montes: 14.19   Marquise Nelson: 14.19

800m All Decade team 

800
Place Boy Girl 
1. Erik Olsvold: 2:05.90

Class of 2019

Daniela Camacho: 2:27.64

Class of 2015

2. Jerricho Habon: 2:06.52

Class of 2020

Arlet Miranda: 2:28.08

Class of 2019

3.  Nathan Bernardo: 2:07.85

Class of 2017

Daisy Nava: 2:41.58

Class of 2017

 

The 800 is the strongest running event of the decade for the girls, the only running event with two different CCS qualifiers. Those two would do well in any division. The 3rd spot in terms of time would be Paloma at 2:37, but it’s difficult to come back after the 400 wit a fast 800 so I would sub her out for Daisy Nava at 2:41.58. Maria went a tick faster at 2:40, but could do more in the 300 hurdles which would be the event next up, which makes Daisy the best option in the 3rd spot. That trio could sweep half of the teams in the BVAL.

On the boys side, the top 2 are clear, though this has been the weakest distance event for the boys this decade. The team has produced 5 BVAL qualifiers but no one close to CCS level. Azael and Karan are the 3rd and 4th fastest boys of the decade, but both are better at the 3200. It makes more sense to go with Nathan as a result, considering he was only marginally slower than Azy and Karan. This boys squad would not be competitive in the ‘A’ division but would do well against many BVAL teams.

Boys Alternates: Ricardo Flores: 2:08.xx  Hector Ramirez: 2:12.57

Girls Alternates: Ana Tapia: 2:46.00  Brianna Flores: 2:46.56

300 Hurdles All Decade Team 

300h 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Cody Huoch: 42.62

Class of 2018

Andrea Ortiz: 50.19 

Class of 2016

2. Gustavo Aguilera: 44.67

Class of 2017

Maria Mendoza: 51.28

Class of 2017

3.  Rodolf Ocampo: 45.46

Class of 2020

Kirsten Yutuc: 51.80 

Class of 2020

 

 

The girls list is very straightforward, the top of the decade. Andrea was a CCS qualafier in the event and near ‘C’ division champ. Even in the ‘A’ division this squad would do fairly well. In the ‘B’ division the trio would be dominant.

On the boys side, Cody was a CCS qualifier in the event, Gustavo and Rodolf both BVAL level qualifiers. Sal was a bit faster than Rodolf in the 3rd spot but his versatility makes him more useful in other events.

Boys Alternates: Mark Orpia: 45.50  Jonathan Rodriguez: 46.87

Girls Alternates: Valeria Cortez: 52.12  Yesenia Martinez: 54.72

200m All Decade Team 

200m 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Davion Thomas 23.19 

Class of 2016

Paloma Contreras: 28.81

Class of 2015

2. Raven Alcantara: 23.97 

Class of 2020

Mya Hammond: 29.89

Class of 2021

3.  Ace Medina: 24.17 

Class of 2018

Justine Austria: 29.91 

Class of 2020

The boys list would stay within the top 3. Davion made CCS in the 200 making him formidable in even the ‘A’ division and that trio would do very well in the ‘B’ division as well. The girls 200 is arguably the team’s weakest event of the decade on the girls side. The team’s top 3 is Maria, Paloma and Andrea, and both Maria and Andrea were better at the 300 hurdles which is right before the 200, basically eliminating both from the squad.

Knowing that this event isn’t one of the team’s best, I’d skip the 300 hurdlers to let them focus on their main events, which brings us to Mya and Justine as the 2-3. This team would scrape some ‘B’ division points but not do too much more than that.

Boys Alternates: Jose Limon: 24.22 Misael Herrera: 24.56

Girls Alternates: Karen Montes 30.09 Yeimili Adame: 30.10

3200 All Decade Team 

 

3200
Place Boy Girl 
1. Azael Zamora: 9:55.14

Class of 2018

Daniela Camacho:12:18.13

Class of 2015

2. Erik Olsvold: 10:20.72

Class of 2019

Arlet Miranda: 12:28.59

Class of 2019

3.  Karan Singh: 10:23.00 

Class of 2015

Belen Sanchez: 13:15.40 

Class of 2019

I wouldn’t change this list from the natural top 3.  Both squads would be successful ‘A’ division squads, and very strong ‘B’ division squads. I’d skip Nathan as an alternate to let him focus on other events.

Boys Alternates: Hector Ramirez: 10:42.15  Inteus Castro-Lopez: 10:51.01

Girls Alternates: Elizabeth Guevara: 13:23.07 Ashley Preciado: 13:41.31

4×400 All Decade Team 

 

4×400
Place Boy Girl 
1. 2019: 3:36.78 2015: 4:31.12
2. 2018: 3:39.83 2016: 4:33.15
3.  2015: 3:40.13 2018: 4:34.35 

The 2019 4×400 team was tops in the decade with the #1, #3, #4 and #7 boys of the decades. Misael at #1, Sal at #3 and Jerricho at #4 can all stay. We would sub out Erik (55.4) for Gustavo at 54.7 to get a little faster. 3:36 is a CCS level time.

On the girls, the squad of 2015 had Paloma at #1, Daniela at #6 and then Daisy and Gabby (#11 and #8 of the decade). The addition of Maria Mendoza at 1:06 along with Andrea at 1:06 could help this team run as fast as 4:22 which would be a school record and borderline CCS level time. Subbing out Daniela for Yeimili would make it a borderline 4:20 team.

    1. Misael Herrera (54.51)                                   1. Paloma Contreras (1:02.54)
    2. Gustavo Aguilera (54.70)                                2. Yeimili Adame (1:05.65)
    3. Salvador Lopez (54.97)                                   3. Andrea Ortiz (1:06.35)
    4. Jerricho Habon (55.28)                                   4. Maria Mendoza (1:06.50)

Boys Alternates:  Jose Limon: 55.28,  Cesar Azevedo: 55.36

Girls Alternates: Arlet Miranda: 1:06.80  Daniela Camacho: 1:07.54

Shot Put All Decade Team 

 

Shot Put
Place Boy Girl 
1. Robert Rios: 43-2

Class of 2015

Alejandra Ceron: 35-8.50

Class of 2018

2. Josh Garcia: 42-9

Class of 2018

Marquise Nelson: 33-8

Class of 2019

3.  Kevin Baltazar 39-5

Class of 2014

Valeria Cortez: 33-7 

Class of 2019

Both Shot Put Squads would do very well throughout the BVAL and even in the ‘A’ division. Of the 6 Comets on this team, 5 made CCS in the event Alejandra is the school record holder in the event and even finished top 8 at the CCS top 8 meet in 2017. Robert Rios was a 2 time ‘C’ division champ and Alejandra even won a ‘B’ division title in the event.

Boys Alternates: Daniel Medina: 38-6.5   Alejandro Alonzo: 36-3

Girls Alternates: Charli Chircop: 32-10  Leysmi Saldana: 24-7

Discus All Decade Team 

 

Discus 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Alex Alonzo: 111-8

Class of 2017

Charlie Chircop: 118-2

Class of 2018

2. Daniel Medina: 108-6

Class of 2018

Valeria Cortez: 116-10 

Class of 2019

3.  Josh Garcia: 107-6 

Class of 2018

Alejandra Ceron: 106-8

Class of 2018

Girls discus was the EVENT of the decade for the Comets. A streak of 5 straight individual division champs in the event to end the decade, with 6 total CCS qualifications and two different school record holders, the team would dominate most leagues in the event. The boys squad would be competitive in the ‘B’ division as well.

Boys Alternates: Pablo Segovia: 105-5   Brando Meclhor: 105-3

Girls Alternates: Marquise Nelson: 94-5   Mariah Santos: 86-3

Long Jump All Decade Team

 

Long Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Salvador Lopez: 20-2 

Class of 2020

Lyndel Ventura: 16-7

Class of 2018

2. Davion Thomas: 19-10

Class of 2016

Natalie Rem: 15-1

Class of 2021

3.  Geo Campos: 19-2 

Class of 2020

Elyse Elder: 15-0 

Class of 2018

This is another straight forward team. 3 Girls broke 15 feet in the decade. On the boys side 4 boys cracked 19 feet, and the top 3 are our jumpers. Both teams would be competitive in the ‘A’ division but do very well in the lower ones.

Boys Alternates: Nathan Bernardo: 19-1.5  Raven Alcantara: 18-7.5

Girls Alternates: Kirsten Yutuc: 14-9        Marquie Nelson: 14-9

Triple Jump All Decade Team 

Triple Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Cody Huoch: 40-3

Class of 2018

Natalie Rem: 33-4.25

Class of 2021

2. Nathan Bernardo: 39-5

Class of 2017

Lyndel Ventura: 31-0

Class of 2018

3.  Hadji Yono-Cruz: 38-10.5

Class of 2017

Kirtsen Yutuc: 30-10 

Class of 2020

Natalie’s triple jump puts her at a CCS level, and the girls trio in general would be a solid ‘A’ division group. The boys squad would struggle in ‘A’ but do very well in the ‘B’division.

Boys Alternates: Salvador Lopez: 38-2.5 , Jordan Lagura: 37-9.5

Girls Alternates: La-Ree Tea: 30-0        Yesenia Martinez: 28-8

 

High Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Karan Singh: 5-8

Class of 2015

Elyse Elder: 4-8

Class of 2018

2. Ace Medina: 5-8

Class of 2018

Yesenia Martinez: 4-6

Class of 2020

3.  Salvador Lopez: 5-8 

class of 2020

Lisbeth Galdamez: 4-4

Class of 2020

Elyse is the clear top jumper of the decade at 4-8 and was a near CCS level high jumper. Paloma and Lis both went 4-4 but Paloma already has a heavy load on this list so Lis at 3rd spot makes more sense. That team is a solid ‘B’ division level team. On the boys side, 3 different Comets went 5-8 this decade, making the squad a solid ‘A’ level team and a strong ‘B’ division squad.

Boys Alternates: Jonathan Rodriguez: 5-6  Erik Olsvold: 5-5

Girls Alternates: Marquise Nelson: 4-4  Brecia Dagio: 4-3

Pole Vault All Decade Team 

 

Pole Vault 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Mark Orpia: 10-8 Yesenia Martinez: 6-0
2. Rodolf Ocampo: 10-2 
3.  Adrian DeLaRosa: 8-6

We only just brought back pole vault in 2018 and the boys squad is quickly coming up with Mark in particular nearing a CCS caliber level. Since many teams do not even have vaulters, we would do quite well in this event overall.

Decade Summation:

This will hopefully go down as a historic decade of turnaround. The decade began with 4 straight winless seasons. 0-14 Records from 2010-2013 got team off to a 0-56 start to the decade.

In 2014 we got a win on each side for a combined record of 2-12, and then 2015 was our big jump, going 10-4 with a 6-1 record on the girls side.

We won two league championships in girls track, the first 2 in school history in 2016 and 2017 before moving into the ‘B’ division. Even in the ‘B’ division we’ve fought hard going 6-8 and then 7-7 last year. From 0-48 in ‘C’ to 13-15 in ‘B’ to end the decade is quite a significant turnaround, especially considering the back to back titles and 25-3 record of the 16-17 teams along the way.

I’d like to thank every member of the team who participated and helped make this turn around possible, as well as the fantastic coaches of James Lick over the past decade. From the birth of a throws dynasty under coach Jon Vela, to the revival of Pole Vault under coach Raul Lopez, this has been a decade of great growth for James Lick Track, and the members of the 2020 squad will look to keep the momentum going in the next decade.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

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 End Season Strong at CCS Finals. Varsity Girls finish 4 places better than rank

The 2019 cross country season officially came to a close for the James Lick cross country team at CCS finals. The finals were hosted at the historic Crystal Springs course, the same 2.95 mile course that the team ran at BVAL Finals. In what has been a down year in large part due to injury, the team went in hoping to end on a strong note and start healing up for track. The team resoundingly achieved  this goal.

The varsity girls squad went into CCS ranked 13th out of the 14 complete division IV teams that qualified for the CCS meet, only ahead of Kipp High School. Besides this, the team was still without team #2 runner Mya Hammond whose breakthrough season ended early for medical reasons. To further add to the team’s woes, Jessica Cervantes, consistently the team’s #1 runner had to drop out of the race due to knee injury. The team’s depth was on display however, as the team beat expectations despite missing their 1-2 punch to finish in 9th place. This is only the 3rd top 10 finish (on record) at CCS for the girls in school history. The team also had the 2nd lowest spread in the race (time distance between 1st and 5th runner) with a spread of 1:16. Only CCS champion Menlo, with an impressive 6 second spread did a better job of finishing close together.

The team was lead by breakout star Keyla Sifuentes. In her first cross country season, Keyla has improved by leaps and bounds all year. At her first race, Keyla managed to run 8:40 pace for the 2 mile course at DeLaSalle High school. A few weeks later, she was our #6 girl running 24:06 at the Crystal Springs Center Meet (8:06) pace. Here at CCS, she was our #1 girl with a  time of 22:47. This was a PR by 1:02, and the 7:43 pace she ran is the best of her career by far.

Daisy Flores was next in 23:03, a PR by 53 seconds as well. As only a freshmen, Daisy’s time is very impressive, the 6th fastest James Lick freshmen time in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). Lizbeth Espana loped 50 seconds off of her PR too to stop the clock at 23:26. Emely Lopez finished at 23:48 for a small PR and Ruth Rodriguez picked up the slack to run 24:03, and 11 second PR as the 5th girl. Ashley Preciado ended her HS career as the 6th girl in the race.

Again, heading into the race the girls were ranked 9th, ahead of just Kipp High School. The team defeated Kipp, Carmel, LCPA and King City to finish 9th, narrowly losing to Seaside High School who took 8th. The fact that team’s top 5 are all non seniors, (as well as a 1-2 punch that didn’t race at CCS who are also juniors) gives the team great optimism as we look ahead at what could be a very strong year in 2020.

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The varsity girls before the race 

The boys team only ran 3 runners. Junior Omar Fimbres ran great, taking nearly 30 seconds off of his PR to stop the clock at 18:13. Nien Tran (18:30) and Brandon Cruz (18:39) competed hard but did not PR in their final HS race.

With the season coming to an end, everyone will take a well earned break and our focus as we look ahead to track is very clear: Stay Healthy. Injuries are a part of any season, but losing the team’s top 2 boys in the early part of the season is a recipe for disaster. Likewise Jessica, Mya, and Lizbeth, 3 of the team’s top 5 on the girls side missed/ didn’t finish a race in a combined 9 races due to injury this year. This team has a lot of potential if we can stay healthy, and that will be at the center of our attention as we work towards a 2020 track season in which the varsity boys are coming off their first winning season in the ‘B’ division with over 90% of the team returning.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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.

Mile Time Trial Shows Big Improvement for Comets

I didn’t write a blog last week because our final league meet and the Mt. Sac Invitational in Southern California made the weekend quite a whirlwind. This blog will recap our recent mile time trial as well as those races, with an eye ahead at BVAL Finals. 

Every year, we begin our cross country season with an early mile time trial and then another trial just a week out from league finals. This is mainly for the newer athletes on the team to see their improvement and get a fast confidence builder as we head towards league finals.

At league finals, all 3 BVAL division (A’ B’ and C’) compete together in each race, making it the perfect opportunity to compare teams across the league. It also serves as the final determining factor of standings for the year, as well as the CCS qualifying meet. All these factors make it the biggest meet of the year in most regards. The mile time trial gave us a lot of confidence in our team’s ability to finish the season strong.

The first Comet boy in was our only varsity boy to run all out. Nien Tran managed a 15 second PR, stopping the clock at 5:02 with no competition. Omar Fimbres was the next Comet across in a 7 second PR of  5:40. Josh Merin ran a PR of 5:42, and Rodolf Ocampo did the same, running 5:49. Jonathan Bradley broke the 6 minute barrier for the first time to run 5:53. The same was true of Abraham Benitez (5:55) Luis Escamilla (5:56) Omar Sanchez (5:57) Justin Nguyen (5:57) and Ronaldo Castillo (5:58).

Those last 3 boys are all freshmen and we’re very pleased with your extreme improvement this season. Neither Omar nor Justin could run under 7 for the mile at our beginning of the season time trial, so the fact that they can now run under 6 is something to be proud of. We will be leaning on these boys for the future since we’re so heavy on seniors currently.

Navbir Kahlon ran 6:09 compared to a previous best of 7:20, and Josue Gomez lowered his PR from 7:03 to 6:17 as well. Carlos Nava took 24 seconds off his PR to run 6:28. Daisy Flores shattered the 7 minute barrier to be the first girl in on the day, stopping the clock at 6:34. She is the 3rd fastest freshmen I’ve coached at the end of season time trial, behind only Milka Perez (6:15) and Arlet Miranda (6:22). More girls trickled in not far behind her.

Keyla Sifuentes (6:46) Lizbeth Espana (6:48) Mariana Perez (6:49) and Emely Lopez (6:52) all streamed in together with freshmen Jason Garcia at 6:50 for a 1 minute PR. The mile times were PRS for Keyla, Mariana and Emely as well. Ruth Rodriguez was the next girl in at 6:55, giving the team 6 girls under 7 despite our top 2 runners not running the trial. Melanny Sanchez netted a PR of 7:34 and Adriana Marcelino had one of the very best PRs on the day, running 9:11 compared to a previous best of 10:08.

The big improvements set up the Comets for success at finals.

Mt. Sac/ League Meet 4 Recap 

Our 4th league meet was a very hot day, and coming just a week after some big breakthroughs in ST race #3, there were not many PRS across the league. For example, Garret Hedlund of Pioneer won ST #3 in 14:57 but won ST #4 in 15:31. Still, a few Comets did manage to PR. Justin Nguyen ran 20:10 in the frosh/soph race, an 11 second PR. Rodolf Ocampo also netted a PR in the reserve race of 20:08. On the girls side, on a day where 3 of the Comets top 5 runners did not run due to injury concerns, Keyla Sifuentes lead the team in 23:09, a 19 second PR. Melanny Sanchez also netted an 11 second PR of 26:33.

We too a dedicated group of upperclassmen to the Mt. Sac Invitational last weekend as a reward for their dedication. Jessica Cervantes lead the girls group in 23:05, placing her 13th on the school’s all time list for the course. Emely Lopez was next in 23:39, the best time she’s ever achieved on a near 3 mile course. Mya Hammond, Ashley Preciado and Estefani Herrera rounded out the team with Yesenia Martinez also competing.

On the boys side, Nien Tran lead the group with a PR of 17:58. Brandon Cruz, Rodolf Ocampo, Josh Merin and Luis Escamilla were the other Comet boys competing.

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The boys squad at Mt. Sac

For most of the team, there are now only days left in the season with BVAL finals at Crystal Springs on Monday November 4th. The team will then contest the annual Watermelon Run on November 6th as a final season wrap-up for most of the team.

 

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