Past and Present Collide at James Lick Alumni Race

After a one year hiatus due to extreme weather conditions, the James Lick alumni race was back with a vengeance for the 2018 edition. The race is always a great experience for our current runners. It serves as both a test of their fitness before official races begin, and a chance to meet some of the great runners of James Lick’s history.

IMG_5261
Coaches, Alumni and current runners after the alumni race 

This year’s event had a great cast of characters from Glenn Reeves and Luis Garza classes of 1969 and 1977 respectively, to Randy Pangelina and Gilbert Zaragosa, both members of the greatest ever James Lick teams (the teams of the early 80s). Also in attendance were Don Mora, Jeremy Peterson, and the seemingly always in great shape Joe Amendt, members of the late 80s Comets crowd. Of course, there were also members of James Lick’s latest success’ present, such as Paloma Contreras and Azael Zamora.

 

The race over the historic 2.25 mile course was new to much of the team since we weren’t able to contest it last year. Many of the returners managed huge PRs from their last try at the course two years ago.

I managed to just hold on for the win in 13:49 with Erik Olsvold the first Comet across in 13:50. This is an encouraging start for Erik who spent all of last cross country season dealing with injury. Jerricho Habon was the 2nd Comet in at 14:06. Jerricho has come a long way since freshmen year when he ran 16:25.  Joe Amendt was right behind Jerricho as the 4th place finisher and 2nd alumni in at 14:10.

Melvin Estrada and Brandon Cruz came in at 14:34 and 14:42 respectively. Melvin’s previous best was 17:29. Jared Resendiz added was the 5th boy in at 14:52, a strong quintet for a team missing Mark Orpia, the team’s top runner from the time trial two weeks ago. Geo Campos and Nien Tran came in close together at 15:11 and 15:15. This was over a 2 minute PR for Nien, and a very impressive time for Geo who continues to show great potential in his first ever cross country season.

Daniel Portillo was next in 16:10, more than a 2 minute PR. Gustavo Madrigal and Arlet Miranda came in close together in 16:35 and 16:40, with sophomore Jonathan Bradley close behind in 16:44. It was a close race as Alberto Trejo (17:57) alumni Paloma Contreras (17:58) Rodolf Ocampo (17:59) and alumni Don Mora (18:01) streamed in close together. Josh Merin ran 18:18 and alumni Daisy Nava came in at 18:34, beating her high school PR by over 20 seconds despite not running all out since she practiced with her team at UC Merced in the morning.

Belen Sanchez and Yeimili Adame came in together at 18:56 as the 2nd and 3rd lady Comets. Ashley Preciado and Yesenia Martinez came in at 19:27 and 19:42. In my 6 years of coaching, this was the fastest girls team at the alumni race. For only the 2nd time, 5 girls ran under 20 minutes, and for the first time, 3 ran under 19. Erika Camacho just missed breaking 20, running 20:06.

Alumni Austin Swank, Jeramy Peterson and Andy Giang came in next in 20:21, 20:22 and 20:35 respectively. Mariana Perez, Ruth Perez and Emely Lopez ran 21:11, 21:26 and 21:49 to show some strong JV girl potential. Alumni Luis Garza finished in 22:11.

Jhesselyn Santos finished in 22:38. Alumni Phuc Pham finished in 22:39 and a number of Comets just managed to crack 23 minutes behind him. Jessica Cervantes, Giulissa Correa and Francine Estranero came in at 22:50, 22:55 and 22:58.  Eddie Tinajero was alumni on the men’s side in 23:15. Angelina Guevara and Mia Hammond came in together at 23:20. Jesse Chircop ended the alumni men’s day with a time of 23:21, and Rafael Yanez ended the boys day with a time of 23:24.

Kirsten Yutuc came across in 23:35. Alumni Aliana Santos and Susie Peterson finished in 24:37 and 25:39 respectively. Adriana Marcelino ended the Comets day with a time of 27:45.

It was a fun day for the team, and there is a lot to look forward to as races begin soon.

The team will take roughly 20 athletes to the Lowell Invitational in Golden Gate Park on Saturday September 8th. They will then head to the Early Bird Invitational in Toro Park Salinas the following Saturday. Our first league meet is not until the 20th.

Thank you to all the alumni who came to our event!

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

Advertisements

Comets Show Great Improvement at Watermelon Run: Midseason Recap

IMG_3406
The Comets team awaits the start of the Watermelon Run Headed by several James Lick Alumni

After two weeks of hard work without a race, the James Lick Cross Country team assessed their fitness with the 2017 edition of the Watermelon Run. Due to the cancelation of the Alumni Race earlier in the month, the Watermelon Run doubled as the alumni race with several recent James Lick graduates in attendance.

The team ran the 3.03 mile north rim time trial course. The team ran the same course on August 14th to check their fitness heading into the new season. The Watermelon run showed just how far some of the Comets have come.

Azael Zamora battled sickness to run 17:58 a few seconds off of his personal best. Inteus Castro-Lopez was the 2nd boy across in 18:55, a 2 second PR. The big improvements started piling in soon after. Mark Orpia ran 19:37, far better than his 22:06 PR on August 14th. Erik Olsvold was next in 20:57. Erik has yet to race this season after his outstanding 2016 cross country season. His knee is nearly 100% and he looks to ready to finally begin racing again soon. Jesus Deloya ran a massive PR of 21:06, far better than the 25:17 clocking he managed at the original North Rim time trial of the season.

Nien Tran ran 21:09 for a new PR (25:57 on August 14th). Freshmen Jonathan Cortez ran 21:27 and continues to show his long term potential as a distance runner. This is the best freshmen time at the Watermelon run in the past 4 seasons at least. A stream of Sophomores were next, further illustrating the team’s youth.  A group of Sophomores, Melvin Estrada (21:29) Jerricho Habon (21:38) and Hugo Marquez (21:42) and Daniel Portillo (21:59) all ran under 22 minutes for the first time.

Cody Huoch came across the line next in 23:01. Isaac Veronica ran 23:12 for his first time on the course. Austin Swank was not far behind him in 23:18, a lifetime best in his final run on the course to give the team a strong reserve trio. Freshmen Omar Fimbres ran 23:51 just before Brandon Cruz and Rudolph Ocampo came across together in 23:55. Brandon managed to run faster for North Rim Timed than he did for Toro Park, indicating a big breakthrough is coming. Rudolph made a big impression in his first race for the team. The two sophomores were joined by freshmen Jose Ruiz (23:58) and Jonathan Bradley (24:10). We have some big decisions ahead on who should run on the Frosh/Soph team after these strong performances. Luis Escamilla and Kevin Bach also ran well with times of 24:50 and 25:15 to add two more solid sophomore times.

The girls team as a whole took a huge step forward in the watermelon run. At the North Rim time trial in August, only one girl on the team, (Arlet Miranda) managed to run the course under 33 minutes. Arlet ran 23:07 that day but has been battling iron deficiency since. With Arlet focusing on getting back to full health, it is more important than ever that the team steps up. They certainly did that at the Watermelon run.

Yeimili Adame who made a big impression during track joined the cross country team one week ago. Helped by Arlet’s pacing, Yeimili and Belen Sanchez came across the line together in 25:58. They are only the 6th and 7th JL girls to run under 26 minutes for the North Rim course. Belen ran 33:41 to be the #2 girl on August 14th. Arlet was right behind in 26:03. Xochitl Godinez and Justine Austria came across together in 27:42. Justine ran 37:12 for her first try on the course in August. This gave the girls 5 girls under 28 for the slow North Rim Timed course, something they were unable to muster at STAL 1 this season. Jennifer Villagomez, Jana Kikia and Analilia Regla came in at 28:45, 28:46 and 28:49, giving the team 8 girls under 29 minutes for North Rim Timed. Again, when we did the time trial on August 14th, we had only one girl under 33 minutes.

Alvaro Fabian and Jonathan Ergino were the last boys in at 28:43 and 29:19. Ashley Preciado ran 30:07 for a 4 minute PR. She was joined under 31 minutes by freshmen Mya Hammond (30:53) Emely Lopez (30:55) and senior Aliana Santos 30:53. All 3 girls achieved big PRs. Mya and Emely ran 41 minutes and 39 minutes respectively when they ran the course on August 14th.

Mariana Perez (32:11 for a 6 minute PR) Erika Camacho (32:44, 5 minute PR) and Francine Estranero (32:58) provided 3 more freshmen girls under 33 minutes for the team. Emma Veronica ran 32:56 for her first time on the course. Susie Peterson also ran 32:58, narrowly missing her PR but running 5 minutes faster than she managed in August. The final big PR of the day belonged to Estefani Herrera, 35:12 compared to a 44 minute clocking in August. Kirsten Yutuc ran 37:26 and Maria Sanchez ended the team’s day running 52:26.

Overall it was a big step forward for the team and a welcome performance with STAL 3 just days away. Some interesting notes from the Watermelon run:

46 Current Comets attended the Watermelon Run, the most in my 5 years of coaching. 2 runners, (Jose Limon and Adrian DeLaRosa) were sat out as they are dealing with minor injuries.

Of the 44 Comets who competed in the run, the team breaks down like this:

  1. Freshmen: 14 Total 9 girls 5 boys
  2. Sophomores: 17 Total 6 girls 11 boys
  3. Juniors: 4 Total 2 girls 2 boys
  4. Seniors: 8 Total 3 girls 5 boys

The team is very young this year, with nearly 70% of the team being underclassmen. This bodes very well for the future. This year in some ways might seem like a letdown after the 2016 STAL championship of the varsity boys, but the team is building towards future success.

Cross country and track are the only sports at James Lick reprinting the school in the ‘B’ division this year, and competing against larger schools is never easy. I am confident however, that the team will finish strong and improve on their current records.

Here is a breakdown of the teams records and how their team times changed from STAL 1 to STAL 2 (Team Times are the team’s top 5 runners times added up): 

Varsity Girls: 0-3   STAL 1: 126:06 STAL 2: 124:38

Varsity Boys: 1-2  STAL 1: 91:35  STAL 2: 87:59

Frosh/Soph Boys: 2-1 STAL 1: 101:35  STAL 2:  100:59

JV Girls: 0-3  STAL 1: 142:37   STAL2: 143:47

Reserve Boys: STAL 1: 110:59          STAL 2: 111:47

Reserve Girls: STAL 1: 164:03   STAL 2: INC

The team’s varsity record so far is 1-5 for a .200 winning percentage. I’d be willing to bet that this will improve over STAL 3 and STAL 4.

Both varsity teams improved from STAL 1 to STAL 2 by a considerable amount and the girls did it without Belen.

Frosh/Soph and JV tend to be inconsistent with runners moving up and down as needed for varsity. At STAL 2, the top runner from Frosh/Soph (Melvin Estrada) moved up to run varsity. The Frosh/Soph boys still managed to run faster as a team.

We are hoping that the Varsity Boys will run under 85 minutes as a team at STAL 3,  with the girls ideally running under well under 2 hours as a team for the first time this season.

The team will face Oak Grove and Sobrato at STAL 3 on Wednesday October 4th. It will be the 1st meet of the year at Montgomery Hill for the team. The team will look for many STAL season bests and the first wins of the year on the girls side.

The team will then trek to Half Moon Bay for the Artichoke Invitational on Saturday October 7th.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for STAL 3 recap!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comets Ready For Season After Strong Alumni Race

IMG_0720
JL Comets and Alumni after the race

 

 

With less than a week before league meets officially begin, the JLXC Alumni Race was the perfect opportunity for the Comets to test their fitness, and practice racing in the park. The Alumni Race at 2.25 miles, is a great tuneup for the current league race version of North Rim, which at 2.85 miles, just uses a different starting and ending point than the Alumni Course. In running the 2.85 mile version, you will also cover all of the Alumni Course.

With the Varsity Boys actively chasing a STAL Championship, the team knew they’d have to be ready to race fast from day 1. The team was able to do just that. Azael Zamora won the race, finishing in 12:57 to become the first Comet (on record) to break 13 for the course since it was eliminated from official race use in the early 90s. The race demonstrated just how far Azael has come in the last year, from a strong 14:28 as a sophomore to run sub-13 as a junior. Nathan Bernardo was close on his tail, running 13:07 for a roughy 20 second PR. Erik Olsvold also ran a huge PR, crossing the finish line in 13:26 after running 15:01 as a freshmen last year. The first Alumni in was next, with JLXCTF all time great, Joe Amendt finishing in 13:36. Inteus Castro-Lopez was right behind in 13:40, running a 36 second PR despite being sick.

Gustavo Aguilera and Gustavo Parra finished the race in strong times of 14:18 and 14:27. During the past few seasons, a time of low 15 or better generally translated to a runner being a decent varsity boy at the STAL (B Division) level. Times under 14:30 have almost always translated into above average STAL runners in recent years. The team’s depth is a strength with a 6th boy under 14:30, though narrowing the gap between the 5th and 4th boy will be a point of emphasis for the team going forward. Sophomore Vincent Giglio ran 15:37, and continues to work towards improving his freshmen times. Alumni, Coach Q was next in, finishing in a strong 16:14. Coach Q is currently at Roberto Cruz Leadership Academy, a new East Side Charter school and has formed it’s first ever Cross Country team! We will be keeping tabs on the Jaguars as they begin their program.

Freshmen Jerricho Ventura and Arlet Miranda finished together in 16:25. Jericho continues to develop at a stellar rate, and Arlet is more than a minute ahead of her times from last year. She is poised to place highly in the STAL league meets, her 16:25 moving her to #4 on the schools all time list for the course. David Bejines and Isaak Herrera were next in 16:33 and 16:34, strong reserve boys times. A trio of boys came next, with Rudy Peterson, freshmen Mark Orphia, and Austin Swank all finishing in 17:05. Two more freshmen, Melvin Estrada and Nien Tran finished in 17:29 and 17:34. Esteban Garcia-Gomez, brother of JL soccer star and now UC Davis soccer player, Kevin Garcia-Gomez, clocked in at 17:54. Hugo Marquez finished just under 18, with a time of 17:59. This gives the team 5 freshmen boys under 18 minutes for the course, and exciting potential for the Lowell Invitational’s freshmen race in a week if all 5 boys attend. More freshmen strength was close behind. Kevin Bach finished in 18:06, and Maria Mendoza was the team’s second girl at 18:11. Daniel Portillo ran 18:27, yet another solid freshmen time for the team. Alumni Edgar Centeno, and Paloma Contreras were next in 18:36 and 18:41.

Alfonso Farias clocked in at 19:02. Alumni Alejandro Arteaga finished in 19:26, with #3 girl Daisy Nava running 19:28 for a PR right behind him. Alumni Oscar Sanchez and Ivan Morales streamed in at 19:45 and 19:54. Denisse Calixto ran 20:03 for a 4 minute PR, and has worked her way onto the team’s varsity plans. Alumni Ivan Luna and Brianna Flores ran 20:17 and 20:21 respectively, and Analilia Regla also ran a huge PR for a varsity caliber time of 20:21. Juan-Carlos Rios finished in 20:32, a nearly 3 minute PR as well.

Three alumni were next,with David Solorio Teresa Farias and Jose Contreras finishing in 21:08, 21:37 and 21:55 respectively. Susie Peterson and Aliana Santos both ran solid JV times of 23:22 and 23:36. Diana Romero ran nearly a 2 minute PR of 24:46, and Elizabeth Perez followed her in at 25:05. Final Alumni, Christian Orozco and Vivian Ngo came in at 27:56 and 28:19. Jocelyn Rios and Brittany Salazar came in together at 28:59. Joseph Allen and Ally Floreza wrapped up the Comets day with times of 29:26 and 29:34.

Overall the Alumni Race was a great day for the Comets. The current members of the team had the privilege of meeting star runners of the past in Joe Amendt, and Greg Machado who was also in attendance.

The team’s first league meet is on Thursday 9/8 at 3:30 in Alum Rock Park, and the varsity boys look very ready to attack the team title. With a good amount of depth especially on the freshmen side, the Frosh/Soph Boys and Reserve boys also look to be very competitive within the STAL.

The girls side lacks the depth of the boys, but is lead by a strong front 4, (including Milka Perez who was sick and unable to run the Alumni Race). The current 5th and 6th girls will need to work hard to close the gap until strong athletes not in attendance like Julia Cruz and Evalilia Garcia can get their grades up. The girls JV team however, should be competitive in a league thats struggles to field full JV girls teams.

In just a few days the Comets will officially open their season at STAL #1! Then two days later, the team will head to San Francisco for the Lowell Invitational in their first invite of the year. JLXC history of Alum Rock’s 2.85 mile course, and race preview coming soon.

Thank you for reading.

-Benny Reeves

 

JLXC History:Alum Rock Short Course

photo
The Team with several Alumni after last years addition of the Alumni Race

 

 

With the Alumni Race just days away, now is a good time to examine the history of JLXC at Alum Rock Park.

Alum Rock Park has long been the training grounds of the James Lick Comets. Being located only 2 miles away from the park, it is only natural that the team has trained there for decades, and the races held there are a sort of home field advantage for the Comets and other Eastside teams.

The long tradition of racing in Alum Rock Park stretches back to even before the MHAL (the league which is now a division of the BVAL) was formed with James Lick as one of it’s founding members. With the MHAL Finals beginning in 1965, Alum Rock Park’s 2.25 mile course took on new significance, playing host to the MHAL finals every year on record form 1966-1989. In the 1990s, the MHAL altered their race course to it’s current 2.85 mile format. The popularity of the park as a race course declined as Alum Rock suffered road damage, and the league began to turn to alternative race courses. By the early 2000s, Alum Rock was not being used at all for races anymore. In 2008 however, races were brought back to the 2.85 mile race course, and it has been used for BVAL league meets off and on ever since.

The 2.25 mile course, beginning in the deepest parking lot of Alum Rock, took runners through a fast first mile on the slight downhill stretch of the Penitencia Creek trail leading to the North Rim trail. Runners then scaled the famous North Rim hill, before continuing on the undulating North rim trail, eventually making their way to a speedy downhill descent to the finish line in the starting parking lot. The North Rim Hill at 485 meters, is the single longest hill any Comet will encounter in a race this season.

The course we now use for the Alumni race is slightly different, beginning and ending near the youth science institute. Despite the slightly altered course beginning and ending points, the Alumni Course is essentially the same as the traditional North Rim “short course.” I estimate that runners of today would run about 5-10 seconds faster for the old race course which was used for so many years, than they do on our alumni course. This small potential time difference aside, the Alumni race is a great way for the runners of today to compare themselves to the runners of the past, as we continue working to build the program back to its glory days and beyond.

A few considerations should be taken into account before we go over times:

  1. The runners of the 60s, 70s, and 80s used the course for the annual Alum Rock Invitational, as well as the MHAL finals and occasionally for the CCS Regional meet as well. As such, runners of the past had the opportunity to run the course in late October and mid November, the point in the year where a typical HS XC athlete needs to be at peak racing fitness. By comparison, the runners of the past decade or so, since the short course was brought back (in slightly altered format) for the alumni race, do the course only once, in early September, before races have even begun. As a result the team’s current athletes do not run their best times on the Alum Rock short course, usually running faster paces for the longer course because of its status as an actual league meet course.
  2.  The Alumni Race is more of a time trial than an actual race, due to the fact that the team is not competing against any other schools. Without a high level of competition (occasional outstanding alumni not withstanding) the athletes of today are not pushed as thoroughly as the athletes of the past were at the AR invitational  and at MHAL finals.

Even so however, the times of the James Lick Comets on the Alum Rock short course over the years are extremely impressive, and continue to serve as a reminder to our current athletes that there is work to be done to restore the team to the level of past seasons.

The sheer number of JL runners to race the course at big meets from 66-89, combined with the high caliber of the program during those years, makes the JLXC All time boys list for the Alum Rock short course the schools 3rd most impressive list in my opinion, (Behind only Crystal Springs and Half Moon Bay HS).  The girls list is not as strong however, since JL only began fielding girls XC in the late 70s, and the best ever era for JL girls XC is currently in full force.

Some of the fast early times on the AR short course, were run in the earliest days of the MHAL. In 1966, Junior Mick Coyle took home the win in the Alum Rock invitational, running a strong time of 12:32. Coyle’s time currently stands as the 20th best time in school history for the course (on record).

It would be several years before a Comet broke the elusive 12 minute barrier for the course. The 1970 team saw Luis Sanchez and Jim Sena run 11:42 and 11:46 respectively. This 1-2 punch helped lead the team to the only XC CCS championship in school history, with James Lick winning the small schools division at CCS Finals. The team of 1970 was exceptional, Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez ran 13:25 and 13:27 to lead our team at the Alumni race last season. The 6th boy on the 1970 team ran 13:23. Even if one grants Nathan 10 seconds for the slightly altered course, he wouldn’t nip the team’s 5th boy (Bob Amaro) at 13:07.  Amaro went on to have an outstanding running career at James Lick. As a senior in 1972, Amaro broke 12 for the course himself, with a  time of 11:49. He would also go on to run 1:55 for the 880 run, which converted still stands as the 3rd best 800m in school history.

The two top times in school history were run in 1975, when Joe Salazar set the long standing school record of 11:20 for the course, more than 20 seconds better than the 11:41 of teammate Sierras. Salazar also holds the school 2 mile record (also the 3200m record converted) and all things considered, is probably the best XC runner ins school history. The one man with a good argument against Salazar is Joe Amendt, who in 1987 would become the 10th and final Comet (according to my records) to break 12 for the AR short course, running 11:47. The two Joe’s share the school record of 15:21 at Crystal Springs. While I’d give Salazar the slight edge as JL’s best ever XC runner, Amendt’s supreme track pedigree makes him James Lick’s greatest ever distance runner all around.

Any very strong list of JL times could not be complete without the teams of the 1980s. The decade saw Frank Munoz, 11:42 in81, Ben Trujillo, 11:48in 80, and Greg Machado, 11:53 in 84 break the barrier. Randy Pangelina also narrowly missed, running 12:01 in 1981. Of all of the school’s all time lists, this one poses the greatest challenge to alter for the runners of today, not only because of it’s strength, but because of the timing of the run.

The only records of the Alumni course since 1990 are from former coaches, David Porter and Alex Ponik, and from my soon to be 4 years of experience. With roughly 11 years on record (2006-present) No Comet boy has run sub 13 for the Course yet, though the times of Nathan and Hector were by far the best of the past decade.

The team will need to have extremely strong early season form to take another step towards the times laid down by the great Comet runners who came before them.

JLXC Boys ALL TIME LIST:

Alum Rock Short Course 2.25 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Joe Salazar 11:20 5:02 1975 MHAL Finals 1st 12
2 Sierras 11:41 5:11 1975 MHAL Finals 6th 11
3 Luis Sanchez 11:42 5:12 1970 MHAl Finals 4th 11
4 Frank Munoz 11:42 5:12 1980 MHAL Finals 2nd 12
5 Jim Sena 11:46 5:13 1970 MHAL Finals 6th 12
6 Joe Amendt 11:47 5:14 1987 MHAL Finals 1st 12
7 Ben Trujillo 11:48 5:14 1980 MHAL Finals 3rd 12
8 Bob Amaro 11:49 5:15 1972 MHAL Finals 10th 12
9 Greg Machado 11:53 5:16 1984 Alum Rock Invitational 5th 12
10 Adolfo Alvarado 11:54 5:17 1973 MHAl Finals 4th 12
11 Randy Pangelina 12:01 5:20 09/26/1981 Alum Rock Invitational 8th 11
12 Diaz 12:06 5:22 1981 MHAL Finals 7th
13 Alvarez 12:07 5:23 1987 MHAL Finals 3rd
14 Gil Zaragosa 12:16 5:27 1980 Alum Rock Invitational 20th
15 Tim Mezzapelle 12:16 5:27 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 14th 12
16 Luis Borunda 12:21 5:29 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 18th 10
17 John Acosta 12:28 5:32 1987 MHAL Finals 8th 12
18 Jose Gonzales 12:29 5:32 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 20th 12
19 Esparza 12:30 5:33 1969 MHAL Finals 1st 10
20 Mick Coyle 12:32 5:34 1966 Alum Rock Invitational 1st 11

 

A theme of our current JLXCTF program is that the boys are trying to restore a winning tradition, while the girls are building one, and raising its strength year by year. While not a single addition has been made to the boys list since the courses removal from official racing (Those boys teams were tough man) the girls list only has 4 times that weren’t set in the past 10 years.

The Early 80s was one of the few bright spots in the competitive JLXC girls history. Kim Willoughby’s time of 15:25 in 1980 stood as the school record for over 20 years. Michelle Ruiz in 1983 with a time of 17:38, and Chaves in 1980 with a time of 18:05 add respectable but not particularly impressive times to the list.

At the 2008 Alumni Race, Kayla Matsuda ran 15:24 to establish the current school record for the course. As it stands now, Kayla is undoubtedly the best XC runner in school history, holding the course record on every course she competed on. In 2014, Daniela Camacho ran 16:03, the team’s #3 all time clocking. 2014 also saw Paloma Contreras run 17:29. Those two would help the team to the WVAL championship, the second XC championship in JLXC girls history.

The remainder of the girls list is mostly solid athletes of the past few years filling in the spots, and it is exciting for the current team to be able to alter and strengthen this all time list every year. Arlet Miranda will look to improve on her 17:35 run as a freshmen.

JLXC Girls ALL TIME LIST:

Alum Rock Short Course: 2.25 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Kayla Matsuda 15:24 6:51 2008 JL Alumni Race 1st 12
2 Kim Willoughby 15:25 6:51 1980 MHAL Finals 6th 11
3 Daniela Camacho 16:03 7:08 9/5/14 JL Alumni Race 1st 12
4 Paloma Contreras 17:29 7:46 09/05/2014 JL Alumni Race 2nd 12
5 Arlet Miranda 17:35 7:49 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 1st 9
6 Michelle Ruiz 17:38 7:50 1983 MHAL Finals 11
7 Chaves 18:05 8:02 1980 Alum Rock Invite 12
8 Elsie Carrillo 18:12 8:05 2008 JL Alumni Race 2nd 12
9 Maria Mendoza 18:26 8:11 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 2nd 11
10 Ana Tapia 18:48 8:21 09/11/2009 JL Alumni Race 3rd 12
11 Genny Poet 19:03 8:28 1980 Alum Rock Invite 12
12 Raquel Rodriguez 19:08 8:30 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 3rd 9
13 Elizabeth Guevara 19:12 8:31 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 4th 12
14 Gabriela Aguilar 19:30 8:40 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 3rd 10
15 Daisy Nava 19:43 8:45 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 5th 11
16 Andrea Ortiz 19:43 8:45 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 7th 12
17 Brianna Flores 20:17 9:01 09/05/2014 JL Alumni Race 12
18 Karen Ruiz 20:34 9:08 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 12
19 Destiny Lopez 20:37 9:09 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 12
20 Jocelyn Aguirre 20:55 9:17 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 8th 10

It’s only a few days until the Alumni Race and the team will use the Alumni in attendance as inspiration. Taking place only 6 days before the official first race of the season (STAL #1 9/8 at Alum Rock Park), the Alumni Race will be the team’s final barometer of readiness for the 2016 XC season!

The team will be actively chasing goals of a STAL championship on the boys side, a winning record on the girls side, and more importantly, the maintenance of a team culture which has drawn plaudits from around the league for its welcoming and sportsman-like nature.

As always, full JL All time lists, as well as All Time team lists, and the best times since I’ve been coaching can be found here:  https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/cross-country-history/

Alumni race recap coming soon.

Thanks for reading as always,

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

Comets Enjoy Best Alumni Race Performance in Years

photo

The James Lick Comets took to Alum Rock Park on September 4th to contest the annual alumni race once again. This year’s showing on the boys side in particular, was outstanding. The core group of athletes who have been in the program for over a year, and logged hundreds of miles in preparation this summer, produced team times which have not been run for years.

Not since 2010 (the last year the Comet boys made CCS as a team) had a pair of Comets run under 14 minutes with a duo of boys clocking 13:48 each. This year however, Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez ran 13:25 and 13:27, with Gustavo Aguilera running 13:50 to make them the strongest trio in many years. I’ve been proud to see growth in each of my 3 years of coaching, from 2 runners breaking the 15 minute barrier in 2013. That number doubled to 4 in 2014, and has doubled again to 8 in 2015. The 3 veterans under 14, were followed by Inteus Castro-Lopez in 14:16, Azael Zamora, 14:28, Jesus Deloya, 14:48, Jesse Chircop and Freshmen Vincent Giglio in 14:52, and Gustavo Parra in 14:58. Freshmen Erik Olsvold also narrowly missed the barrier, in 15:01.

All summer long the Varsity boys group, lead by Hector Ramirez has been working hard toward the goal of leaping the school forward into the top 10 of the BVAL at league finals (The top 12 teams make CCS, last years team finished 15th). The 2014 varsity boys ran the best league finals team time of any James Lick Team since 2004, and that was with an Alumni race top 5 far weaker than this years

2014                                                  2015

  1. Karan Singh 14:12                     1. Nathan Bernardo 13:25
  2. Nathan  Bernardo 14:19          2. Hector Ramirez 13:27
  3. Cesar Azevedo 14:37                3. Gustavo Aguilera 13:50
  4. Hector Ramirez 14:45             4. Inteus Castro-Lopez 14:16
  5. Gustavo Aguilera 15:24          5. Azael Zamora 14:28

Seniors Miguel Chavez, and Kelvin Arenas were next in 16:40 and 16:50, providing a good foundation for the reserve team. Sophomores Rene Bravo, Isaak Herrera, and Austin Swank were the next boys to finish with times of 17:02, 17:13, and 17:45 giving the Frosh/Soph Boys an exciting start to the season. Last year’s team did well to finish 12th at league finals out of the 24 teams in the BVAL. That team’s top 3 runners at the alumni race ran 15:49, 16:00 and 19:30. The leading boys this year, Jesus, Vincent, and Erik are substantially stronger.

The first girl to finish was freshmen Arlet Miranda in a very strong 17:35. She was followed by teammates: Fellow freshmen Raquel Rodriguez 19:08, Elizabeth Guevara, 19:12, while Daisy Nava, Andrea Ortiz and Gabriela Aguilar packed together to run 19:43. This marks the first Alumni race in school history in which all 7 Varsity girls finished under 20 minutes. While they lack the raw firepower of last year’s league championship team, from which only 2 runners remain on the team, the girls will be looking to be competitive through race-packing and depth.

Ivan Morales, a reserve veteran ran a solid 20:11, with another reserve boy, Ryan Puzon close behind in 21:00. Jocelyn Aguirre, 20:55, and Jennifer Custodio 21:00 lead a strong JV girls contingent, with Analilia Regla running 21:56 not far behind. Manuel Urango ran 21:54, and Juan Carlos-Rios ran 23:53, though he suffered a fall during the race and was helped by teammates to the finish line.

Susie Peterson and Denisse Calixto paced together to run 24:31, while Christine Young and Elizabeth Perez did the same finishing in 24:37 and 24:38.Over a 3 minute PR from last year’s times for both girls.  Diana Romero finished in 26:34 a strong performance, better than many of the JV girls of last year’s team.

The Alumni Race was a fantastic dress rehearsal for the team’s first league race next Thursday, where they will compete against Sobrato and Leigh. The course will be similar to the Alumni, and with the performances demonstrated by the team, especially the Varsity Boys, hopes are high to indeed push the Comets forward this year.

Revisions to the Team’s All time Lists and Best Times Under Coach Reeves list will be made shortly. All records can be viewed under Cross Country History .