The James Lick Comets competed in BVAL Finals on Monday October 29th. The race was held, as it always is, at the 2.95 miles long Crystal Springs course. The team went in to the race with several of their key runners missing, but nonetheless managed to qualify two full teams to CCS Finals for the first time 2008. There were other highlights as well, particularly on the JV girls side.
The meet is always exciting as the final meet for most of the team. I love the fact that all 3 divisions race together, which provides extra incentive to show your best form. The top half of teams (top 12 if all 24 teams compete) advance their varsity squads to CCS finals.
The first race of the day was the reserve girls race, and it saw the first PR of the day for the Comets. Araceli Mejia ran a massive PR of 29:05, smashing her previous best of 30:22 set last year. Francine Estranero also competed in the race for the team.
The JV girls race was next, and the JV girls have been a strength for the team all season. The girls headed into the race 7-0, with aspirations of placing highly within the BVAL. With two varsity girls being absent, Mariana Perez, the team’s top JV girl was called up to varsity. Even without her, the JV girls managed to impress. Mya Hammond spearheaded the group with a time of 25:04, a PR by more than one minute. Estefani Herrera was close behind, running 25:16 to lop 40 seconds of of her PR as well. Erika Camacho and Ruth Rodriguez were next in 26:09 and 26:16. Emely Lope was the all important 5th girl in with a PR of 26:41. Jhesselyn Santos ran a big PR of 27:51 to round out the team. The JV girls ended up being the 5th fastest JV girls team in the entire BVAL, beating half of the teams in the ‘A’ division.
The next race up was the frosh/soph boys. Omar Fimbres lead the group wth a time of 19:15, a PR by over 40 seconds. Jay Austria and Jo-Jo Bradley were the 2nd and 3rd boys in. Alberto Trejo ran 22:34, a 43 second PR. Jordan Laguna ran 23:55 to round out the group. The frosh/soph boys placed 13th as a team, a solid end to the season for a team that struggled all season.
Next up was the varsity girls race. The team was without team # 2 Yeimili Adame, and the normal team #6 in Jenny Villagomez. The team was limited without these two, but still managed their highest team placing since 2014. Arlet Miranda lead the team with a 20:25 clocking, her best time on the course since 2014. Belen Sanchez and Jessica Cervantes were the 2nd and 3rd runners in 22:54 and 22:58. Both girls broke the 23 minute barrier for the first time. Ashley Preciado was next in a PR of 23:35. Yesenia Martinez was the 5th girl in 24:58. Mariana Perez finished in 26:26 to round out the team. The team ran a team time of 1:54:20, a time good for 12th place in the BVAL. If the team had Yeimili Adame, and she ran her PR from the center meet of 22:12 (not a stretch since every other girl ran faster than they did at the center meet) the team would have placed 8th. The team advances to CCS for the first time since 2014 and will compete in the division 4 race. The girls hope to rebound with all of their team members at full strength.
The varsity boys race followed. Mark Orpia lead the team in a PR of 17:35. Erik Olsvold was not far behind in 17:54. Jerricho Habon, Melvin Estrada and Jared Resendiz made up a closely packed 3-4-5, running PRs of 18:26, 18:27 and 18:35 respectively. Brandon Cruz ran a PR of 18:53 as the 6th boy, and Nien Tran rounded out the team in 19:16. The varsity boys team managed 10th place on the day, just their 2nd top 10 BVAL finals performance in the past decade. The team will advance to CCS alongside the girls.
The final race on the day was the reserve boys. Geo Campos lead the reserve team in a time of 19:55. Gustavo Madrigal went out on by far the best race of his career, running 20:17 for the course. The 6:53 pace was the 2nd best race pace of his career. Daniel Portillo, Rodolf Ocampo and Hugo Marquez formed the team’s 3-4-5. Adrian DeLaRosa and Alexis Sarellano both achieved PRs, as did Rafael Yanez and Kevin Santacruz. Josue Gomez, Huu Thai, and Vincent Giglio also competed for the team. The reserve boys were the 7th fastest team in the BVAL.
Despite being the 2nd smallest school in the 24 team BVAL, James Lick’s lowest team placing on the day was 13th in the frosh/soph boys race. A strong end to the season in terms of competition.
The team will compete again on Saturday November 10th at CCS Finals, once again at Crystal Springs.
The Santa Teresa Division (‘B’ division) finals of the BVAL are almost here. Division finals factor in the final standings for the league, and also determine which athletes will advance to BVAL Finals next week. In each division final, the top 8 places score points for their team. The top 4 athletes in each event in the ‘C’ division, top 5 in the ‘B’ division, and top 7 in the ‘A’ division all advance to BVAL finals which is the leagues CCS qualifying meet.
Heading into division finals, the Comets are looking for a middle of the pack finish, and would like to send as many athletes as possible to BVALs. Here is a meet preview of the best athletes in the division, and how the Comets stand in regards to the meet program.
The Comets figure to have someone score in most of the distance events. Azael Zamora is ranked 2nd in the 3200, and 4th in the 1600. He has his sights on the victory in the 3200. His current PR is 10:05, while the favorite, Omar Pina sits atop the division rankings at 9:51. Amy’s longtime rival from Prospect, Dylan Ellis,is close behind at 10:08. No other athlete in the division has run under 10:20 in the 2 mile this season, so the final (which is this Wednesday) figures to be a 3 man race. Inteus Lopez and Melvin Estrada sit at 11th and 12th in the rankings. Many of the 3200 runners in the division will have to run the 800m prelims earlier in the meet Wednesday, so Melvin and Inteus will look to steal a point or two for the team there.
Azy is ranked 4th in the 1600 at 4:33.64. Omar Pina of Lincoln is ranked 1st at 4:32.84. Obviously, this looks to be a highly competitive final on Friday. Sophomores Melvin Estrada and Mark Orpia will look to PR and gain valuable race experience, though they are not serious threats to score.
In the boys 800, Jerricho Habon and Erik Olsvold are ranked 9th and 10th. Hugo Marquez is ranked 15th. The top 12 athletes from the prelims on Wednesday will advance to the final on Friday. With many athletes doubling up on the 1600/800, Jerricho and Erik are very well positioned to score points for the team if they can make the final.
On the girls side, Arlet Miranda is ranked 5th in the 1600 and 4th in the 800. She has battled injuries all season, but has maintained solid fitness throughout, running a PR in the 1600 only 2 weeks ago at the Bearcat Invitational. Belen Sanchez and Ashley Preciado will be going after PRs in the competitive atmosphere that is division finals. Both ladies are running the 1600 on Wednesday and the 3200 on Friday. Freshmen Mya Hammond and Mariana Perez will join Arlet in the 800.
Valeria Cortez is ranked #1 in the division in the 100 hurdle after going undefeated in dual meets this season. Yemeni Martinez is ranked 9th, and with a great race in the prelims on Wednesday could make it through to the final on Friday. Susie Peterson, in her 4th year competing for the Comets, will look to end her career on a high note in the race as well.
Cody Huoch is ranked 5th in the 110 Hurdles. He will have to hold off some stiff competition to punch his ticket to BVALs. Rodolf Ocampo and Luis Escamilla will also compete for the team.
Kirsten Yutuc is ranked 4th in the girls 300 hurdles.She will be looking to make BVAls for the 2nd year in a row. Yesenia and Susie will chase PRs behind her. Cody is ranked 3rd in the 300 hurdles, behind Evan Sablan of Evergreen, last years BVAL champion, and a second Evergreen Cougar.
Jumps: Natalie Rem and Cody are both threats to make BVALs in the triple jump. Cody is ranked 6th at 40-3, only one inch off of 5th place. Natalie is ranked 4th at 33-1, with 1st place entered only 3 inches ahead, Natalie could fight for a very high place indeed. Salvador Lopez, Raven Alcantara and Rudolf make up the rest of the boys jumpers, while Lyndel Ventura and Kirsten make up the ladies side. Lyndel is currently ranked 8th in long jump at 15-3.5, and this figures to be the final meet of her career as well.
Jo-Jo Bradley and Josh Merin will contest the boys high jump. Yesenia and Lisbeth Galdamez will contest the girls high jump for the team. Both are long-shot threats to score.
Rodolf and Maro Orpia are the 4th and 5th ranked pole vaulters in the division. Only 5 vaulters are entered, so if both boys clear height, they will make BVAL championships.
Both Comet 4×100 teams are ranked 6th place heading into finals. The boys team is well poised to pull an upset however. If Jose Limon is at full health, the team could run a big time seasons best, and they are only .70 away from 3rd place.
The girls 4×400 team is ranked 6th, but within a second of 5th place. The boys team sits at a competitive 5th, with 3rd place less than 2 seconds away in what figures to be a competitive final event of the meet.
The team’s sprint group is much improved this season, with two girls under 14 seconds in the 100 and two boys under 12 seconds in the 100, heading into finals (all are sophomores or freshmen.) Natalie is ranked 7th in the 100 at 13.49. If she makes the 100m final, she will be the first lady Comet to make division finals in the 100 in this decade. Lisbeth and Susie will join her in the event. Natalie, Yeimili and Lisbeth will contest the 200 as well. Yeimili, Justine and Aliana Santos will be the teams 400 athletes.
In the boys 100, Raven is the highest ranked Comet at 11.79. 11.61 is the 8th place rank, so he would need a great race to crack the top 8. Geo Campos at 11.97 joins him in the event, as does Chris Okoro, looking for one last PR before graduation. Misael Herrera, and Geo will run the 200 for the team. Misael, and Salvador Lopez will run the 400. The boys are not ranked close to scoring position in the 200/400.
The last hurrah for the 3 headed monster is near. Charli Chircop, Valeria and Alejandra Ceron are ranked 1-2-3 in girls discus, with Charli leading the way at 118-1. Mariah Santos is the Comets lone 4th entry in an event, ranked 11th in the event. The girls are ranked 3rd, 4th and 7th in the Shot Put as well.
On the boys side, Josh Garcia, Daniel Medina and Jesus Venegas make up the teams throwers. Josh is ranked 5th in the Shot Put at 42-9. In Discus, all three boys will be looking to PR.
Based on the current rankings, the James Lick girls would finish 4th out of the 8 teams at division finals, and the boys would finish 6th. Currently, the Comets sit in 5th place on both sides with a 3-4 record. The girls are likely to clinch 5th place however, there is intrigue on the boys side.
Prospect, Piedmont and James Lick are all 3-4 on the boys side, meaning whichever team finishes the highest at division finals will clinch 4th place behind 7-0 Evergreen, 6-1 Pioneer and 5-2 Lincoln.
Which Comets Have a Chance at Division Titles?
Several Comets have legitimate shots at becoming the ‘B’ division champions in their respective event.
The most likely champ for the team is Charli Chircop/ Valeria Cortez. Charli hows thrown 118-0 and Valeria has thrown 112-0. No other girl is close to these two in the rankings. It is likely whichever Comet has the better day will emerge as the Comets 1st ever ‘B’ division champion.
2. Valera in the 100 hurdles. She hasn’t lost all season and is poised to become division champ if she maintains her composure. At 17.39, her next closest competitor is Nelly Romo at 17.85.
3. Azael Zamora in the 1600/3200. As already detailed, Azy is ranked very highly in both events. Azy is the boys teams only realistic shot at a division championship this season.
This is one of the most exciting weeks of the season!
Tomorrow, May 1st, Rodolf and Mark will compete in the pole vault at Prospect High School.
Wednesday May 2nd, all lane events, as well as the 800 will contest their trials at Evergreen High School. Finals in the boys 3200 and girls 1600 will take place. Finals in the boys discus, boys triple jump, girls long jump and girls high jump will also take place.
All other finals will take place on Friday May 4th.
The 2017 BVAL Finals were held at Westmont High School on Thursday May 11th. All 3 BVAL divisions sent athletes to the meet, with all 24 schools being represented. The top 8 athletes in each event advance to CCS trials on Saturday May 20th, an accomplishment which is always worth striving for.
In 2016, the lone CCS qualification for the team was Valeria Cortez throwing 99-8 in the girls discus to place 6th place. The girls discus was again one of the first events, and the event did not disappoint for the team. Valeria threw a new PR (and school record) of 108-3, placing 3rd overall. Charli Chircop placed 4th in 106-0 a PR by almost 3 feet as well. Alejandra Ceron took 8th place in 94-4, giving the team 3 CCS qualifiers in just the girls discus.
Much of the school’s track/xc history is unavailable, but the section meet qualifiers are available virtually every year dating back to 1952. This is the 2nd time in school history that the Comets have had 3 CCS qualifiers in the same event. In 1975 the lady Comet throwers accomplished the same feet, sending 3 discus throwers to the CCS regional meet. This was just after girls competition became commonplace, and it was much easier to qualify back in those early years. Kathy Shelby was the team’s best thrower that year at 89 feet, while Alejandra was the final CCS qualifier this year at 94 feet.
Elyse Elder ended her high jump career for the Comets, clearing 4-3. It was a disappointing performance for Elyse who was battling illness, but nonetheles a very solid career for her as a Comet. Lyndel Ventura jumped a solid 14-2 in the long jump, and Cody Huoch went 38-9.50 in the boys triple jump, his 2nd best ever performance in the event.
The running events started with the girls 4×100. Despite the injuries and grade issues the girls sprint team battled this season, the team ran a seasons best of 56.32 to end their year. This is especially impressive given the loss of top sprinter Silvia Amaya to injury just minutes before the meet began.
The boys 4×100 had a very disappointing race. A collision on the first leg handoff due to missed timing resulted in the Comets being put out of the race early. The team went on to run 48.24, but looked to lose over 2 seconds due to the poor handoff (Youtube video will up soon).
Erik Olsvold ended his season strong by running a PR of 4:37.19 for the 1600. Azael Zamora ran 4:44.06 as well.
Valeria became the first Comet since Ruth Lebeau to qualify for CCS in two events by placing 6th in the girls 100 hurdles, running 17.19. Cody missed qualifying in the boys 110 hurdles by 1 place, taking 9th in 17.43. Gustavo Aguilera ran 55.27 to end his season in the 400, a solid performance as well.
Arlet fought through her injury plagued season to run 2:28.42 in the 800 for a new PR and a CCS qualification in a gritty performance. Arlet is the first outright CCS qualifier in a girls distance event in school history. Nathan Bernardo ended his season with a small PR of 2:07.85.
Kirsten Yutuc managed a small PR of 54.44 to end her season on a strong note in the 300 hurdles. Cody ran 44.59 to place 10th, a better final hurdle may have put him in a CCS qualifying spot, but he had an outstanding season overall considering it was his first season of track.
Kirsten jumped a PR of 29-10 in the girls triple jump, giving her two PRs on the day. Alejandra and Valeria placed 5th and 6th in the girls Shot Put to qualify for CCS. Valeria did so with a PR of 33-4. Charli threw 31-7 for 9th place. With her 6th place throw in Shot Put, Valeria is the first James Lick track athlete ever to qualify for CCS in 3 different individual events. She is rapidly building a case as one of he best Track athletes in school history on the girls side, if not overall.
Azael had a rough race in the 3200, running 10:45, well off of his PR. The girls 4×400 team ran a seasons best of 4:43 to end their season. The boys race was a let-down for the team. The team was in a position to compete for a CCS trials performance, but Gustavo suffered a calf cramp on the 2nd lap. This forced him to run a 60 second leg, 5 seconds off of his 55.27 open 400 from earlier in the meet. 3:41 was the last time in, meaning the team would have been very close to making CCS.
The team emerged from BVAL finals with a total of 7 CCS qualifications from 4 different athletes. These ladies will compete next week at Gilroy High School for CCS trials, in pursuit of some final PRs.
The James Lick Comets faced the Independence 76ers on Wednesday April 5th, in a clash of the reigning WVAL champs of 2016. The 2016 season saw the Lady Comets go 7-0 and capture the ‘C’ division title, while the Independence boys did the same thing. The team was ramped up tot ry to beat the Sixers on both sides, and we knew going in the boys side would be particularly difficult. A year ago, the 76ers won the boys side by a massive margin, 89-38.
The meet began with the girls winning an upset victory in the 4×100. The team of Lyndel Ventura, Yeimili Adame, Silvia Amaya and Elyse Elder ran 56.96 for a huge seasons best to defeat the 76ers. The 76ers boys were a CCS finals caliber team in the 4×100 a season ago, making them the clear favorites. A baton drop by the Comets gave Independence an easy win in under 45.64.
The girls 1600 saw more good performances by the team. Arlet Miranda won the event in 6:17, while Indy took 2nd and 3rd. Valerie Flores ran a massive PR of 6:44.93 after never having broken 7:00 before. Analilia Regla went under the barrier for the first time as well, running 6:57.32. Denisse Calixto ran 7:05.07 for a PR as well.
The boys 1600 was a fascinating race. The leading runners were on pace for around a 5:08 1600 with one lap to go before the field kicked in hard for a very competitive last lap. Erik Olsvold won the race in 4:57.93, Azael Zamora was 2nd in 4:58.40 and Isiah Tulio of Independence was 3rd in 4:58.51, edging out Nathan Bernardo by less than .01 second. Mark Orpia ran a PR of 5:19.07 in the race, as did Osiris Zamudio who ran 5:39.55.
Valeria Cortez ran 17.50 to win the 100 hurdles, the fastest time any JL girl has run on our (generally windy) track for the 100 hurdles in recent memory. Susie Peterson ran a solid 19.66 to take 2nd. Kirsten Yutuc matched her PR of 20.36 as well. The bosy race was disappointing for the team, hoping for a 2-3 finish, the team could only net a 3rd place finish with Cody Huoch placing in 18.76. Jonathan Rodriguez barely missed his PR despite the wind, running 19.22. Luis Escamilla made his debut in the event, running 24.83.
The girls 400 saw the debut of Yeimili in the event. She won with a time of 1:08.75, the fastest time by a lady Comet this season. Kirsten picked up a point for the team in 3rd place. The boys 400 was another win for Independence in an event the Comets dearly wanted. The team gave it all they had however, with Gustavo Aguilera running 56.55 and Misael Herrera running 56.97, both PRs. Silvia Amaya ran 15.08 in the girls 100 to take 2nd place for the Comets, a strong performance in the wind. Justine Austria made her debut in the event, running a solid 15.78. Cody and Ace Medina did all they good but were unable to net points for the team in the 100. Cody’s time of 12.50 into our wind indicates tome however that he is nearly ready to break 12. For reference, Indy’s 2nd and 3rd best runners, Marc Caliboso and Isiah Fimbrez ran 12.47 and 12.50, after both broke 12 seconds just a week ago at Indy’s track.
Arlet won her 2nd event of the day with a victory in the girls 800 in 2:50. Belen Sanchez ran a PR of 2:56.22 and Daisy Nava ran 2:56.71 to complete the sweep. The boys side was very similar to the boys 1600. Nathan, Erik and Azael competed very hard to try to complete a sweep but Isiah Tulio managed to scrape 3rd place from Azael by .43. Nathan and Erik combined to go 1-2. Daniel Portillo ran a small PR of 2:50.69.
By this time, several field event results had come in. The girls discus was a sweep for the Comets (as it usually is) with Charli Chircop throwing 101-2 to take the school record from teammate Valeria Cortez. Valeria took 2nd in 94-3 and Alejandra Ceron took 3rd in 89-6. The boys discus was won by Anthony of Independence with a toss of 114-4.50. The Comets were only able to manage a 3rd place throw from Daniel Medina of 100-7. The girls took 2nd place in the long jump behind Lyndel who jumped 14-1, and Yaliza Cortez managed a new PR of 13-3 as well. Kirsten made her HS debut in the event jumping 12-3.50. On the boys side, strong Indy jumper Marc went 20-8 for the win. Hadji Yono-Cruz took 3rd for the team in 18-0. The team also saw PRs from several jumpers. Juan Gutierrez and Jamie Vong both went 16-9 despite never having cracked 16 feet before. Jose Garcia also managed a PR of 15-5. Elyse Elder won the girls high jump for the team in 4-6, matching her PR. Justine scored points for the team for the first time by clearing 3-10 in the high jump as well.
At this point in the meet the scores were:
Boys: 45-23 Independence
Girls: 54-20 James Lick
While the girls were only 10 points from the magic number of 64 the boys had some serious catching up to do. The girls inched closer to clinching victory with a win in the 300 hurdles. Valeria ran a huge PR of 54.38 to win the race. Susie Peterson also Prd in 59.16 breaking the 1 minute barrier for the very first time. She and Indy runner Vivian Ho were so close for 3rd that we had to call the race a dead heat and split the 3rd point. The boys 300 hurdles was the race of the day on a day of great races. Cody managed to win the race for the team in a PR of 44.75, and Gustavo was 2nd in 44.76. Indy hurdler Julio Santillan was 3rd in 44.79. Jonathan ran a seasons best 47.51 and Luis ran a PR of 54.73.
Yeimili and Silvia ran PRs in the 200 of 30.70 and 31.74, clinching a victory for the Comet girls. Justine debuted in 33.27 for the event as well. Ace managed a point for the team in the boys 200, competing well against the strong Indy sprinters. Arlet picked up her 3rd victory of the day in the 3200, cruising to the win in 13:59. Analilia picked up 3rd in a big PR of 15:37.81 and Valeria also PRd running 15:46.18.
The boys finally got their distance sweep in the 3200. Erik ran a 11:04 to win the event, with Azael and Inteus Castro-Lopez takng 2nd and 3rd in 11:20 and 11:25 respectively. Mark made his debut in the event and ran 12:15.66 and Osman Lopez ran a PR of 14:29.
The triple jump results came in next. Lyndel picked up the win on the girls side with a seasons best 28-6. Yaliza managed a PR of 27-0. On the boys side, Ace and Cody took 2nd and 3rd place in the triple jump. Jose managed a huge PR of 34-9 and Jamie and Juan both went 34-0 for the first time to conclude a very strong day for the horizontal jumpers.
Alejandra threw a new PR of 32-8 to win the Shot put. Valeria and Charli completed the sweep. Audrey Nguy threw a PR of 18-7 for the team, as did Sandra Naranjo in 15-3. The boys were helped enormously by an upset win in the Shot put. Josh Garcia threw 38-8.50 to win the event in a new PR. Daniel placed 3rd in 36-10 to pick up a needed point as well. Alex Alonzo threw a PR of 36-3, as did Rogelio Alonzo who threw 33-1.50.
With only the High Jump and the 4×400 remaining, the girls had clinched victory but the boys scores stood at
Indy: 62 JL: 51
Much closer than the scores were halfway through the meet. To win the meet, the Comets would have to take 1st in the 4×400 and take 1st and 2nd in the boys high jump. The team of Misael, Erik, Nathan and Gustavo combined for a seasons best 3:48.05 to win the event and make the score 62-56. The girls team won as well to make the final score on the girls side 88.5-38.5.
The team gave it all they could in the high jump with all 3 Comet boys matching or bettering their PRs. Jonathan and Ace both went above the bar at 5-6 and Juan cleared the bar at 5-2. Unfortunately for the team, Indy’s top jumper Dillon cleared the bar at 5-8 to seal a boys victory for the Sixers.
The final score on the boys side was 67-60. When considering Track scores, it is important to remember that track points are calculated out of a total available number (127 in a WVAL dual meet). Therefore the 7 point margin of victory is more like a 3.5 point margin. Any one event could have swung the meet.
Just to use one example, James So of Indy ran 55.48 in the 400, the first Indy sprinter to run under 58 seconds (based on Athletic-net records) this season. Had James ran 57.00, and the Comet times stayed the same, the final score would be 64-63 James Lick.
The team was disappointed to fall to 4-1 on the boys side, but the team competed as hard as they could, and most importantly, they made the 76ers earn the meet win, rather than losing the meet with poor performances. I for one am very proud of our season to this point, and we can still look ahead at improving on our 5-2 boys record from last season.
On a final note, the meet was contested with a lot of intensity, but also a very high caliber of sportsmanship. Both teams exuded a desire to win, but did not sacrifice an ounce of class or respect in pursuit of that victory. A tip of the hat to both teams for the supportive atmosphere of the meet, and best luck to the 76ers the rest of the way. (We’ll be gearing up to try to outscore them on both sides at WVAL finals nonetheless).
30 Comets competed at the Willow Glen invitational on Saturday March 4th. These 30 Comets managed a combined 26 PRs (personal records) and 55 season bests. In a few short years, the Comets have gone from simply an attendee at the Willow Glen invite, to a top competitive team, with athletes competing in virtually every event and many athletes placing very highly.
The meet began with the Comets competing in several field events. Valeria Cortez took 2nd place in the Frosh/Soph girls discus with a throw of 98 feet, very close to her PR and school record of 99-9.5. At the same time, several Comet boys were making their jumps debut under coach Turner in the triple jump.
Ace Medina and Cody Huoch went 36-10.50 and 36-00 respectively. Both are quite impressive marks for athletes competing in triple jump for the very first time (in their first week at practicing the triple jump as well). Hadji Yono-Cruz opened his season with a 35-2. Anthony Soto and Juan Gutierrez competed as well going 32-0 and 31-4, both triple jumping for the first time.
Not long later, Ace and Juan would move on over to the boys high jump. Both boys would clear 5-2 in their debut for the event, the first time any Comets have high jumped at an invitational in many years.
On the track, the Comets saw some strong early season performances in the 1600. Arlet Miranda placed 3rd in the Frosh/Soph girls 1600 with a time of 5:41, only 3 seconds off her PR. Azael Zamora opened his official season with a 4:48 clocking, better than his PR from last track season already as well. Nathan Bernardo finished in 4:59, giving the Comets two sub 5 milers in their very first meet. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran a solid 5:09 opener as well. The Frosh/Soph boys mile saw all 3 Comets run big PRs, Melvin Estrada ran 5:39, better than his 5:58 form the end of cross country. Hugo Marquez ran 5:51, breaking 6 for the first time, and Daniel Portillo ran 6:09, a massive PR from a previous best of 6:32. Daisy Nava opened her season at 6:41 to wrap up the day for the Comets in the 1600.
Valeria Cortez ran 18.60 to start her season in the 100 hurdles. Far better than the 22.94 clocking she managed last year at the willow glen invitational. Silvia Amaya ran a big PR of 21.26 and Susie Peterson was right behind her in an off-race by her standards. Gustavo Aguilera ran 18.98 in the 110H to dip under 19 seconds for the race for the first time.
The team’s achieved several high placings in the sprint events as well. Jose Limon placed 5th in the Frosh/Soph boys 100m dash with a clocking of 12.00. Cody Hucoh and HAdji Yono-Cruz ran small PRS of 12.38 and 12.40 respectively. Ace Medina also Prd in 12.74, and Misael Herrera matched his PR of 12.80. David Bejines ran 12.96 to give the Comets their 8th athlete under 13 seconds this season. Josue Marcelo ran a PR of 13.30 and Austin Swank ran a seasons best of 13.50 as well.
On the girls side, Valeria ran 14.80 to lead the team. Silvia ran 15.20, a PR for her, and Susie ran a seasons best of 15.90. Aliana Santos and Elizabeth Perez also ran.
Gustavo Parra ran 58.13 and Gustavo Aguilera ran 58.6 to open their season in the 400. Gustavo P would follow that performance with a solid season opener in the 800, clocking 2:16.2.
Arlet Miranda won the Frosh/Soph girls 800 with a time of 2:34. Arlet becomes the first James Lick Comet to win an invitational in any event or division in this decade. Melvin ran a big PR of 2:35 in the boys 800 and Daniel ran a small PR of 2:54.00 as well.
Back in the field events, Alex Alonzo opened his season officially with a 101-4 discus heave, and a 33-8 mark in Shot Put. Last year at the same meet he threw only 29 feet in the Shot Put. Alejandra Ceron threw 32-4 to set a new PR in the event. Already #2 on the school’s all time list, Alejandra inches closer to the school record of Kathy Shelby at 34-0. She also threw a seasons best of 87-4 in discus, only 3 feet off her PR.
Charli Chircop had an amazing 15 foot PR in the girls discus throwing 95-11. She then threw 28-10.50 missing her PR of 29-1 narrowly. Valeria threw a seasons best 29-6 in the Shot Put as well. The three-headed monster of Alejandra, Valeria and Charli should have a very good chance at sweeping the girls throws at every dual meet this season and at WVAL finals.
Jesus Venegas made his debut and threw a PR of 64 feet in the discus as well.
In the 300 hurdles, Silvia and Susie both ran seasons best. Silvia ran 1:03.50 and Susie 1:05. On the boys side, Gustavo ran 48.12 for a seasons best as well.
Jose Limon took a close 2nd in the FS boys 200, running 24.30, just off his PR. David ran a strong opening time of 26.60. Misael ran a seasons best of 26.70 and Josue ran a new PR of 27.10. Austin ran 28.87, not far off his PR as well. Aliana opened her season on the girls side with a time of 35.23.
In the long jump, Cody lead the team with a jump of 17-0. Ace opened at 16-4 in his first try at the event. Hadji, Juan and Anthony also competed.
The team wrapped up their day with the varsity boys 3200. Erik Olsvold took 2nd overall in 10:26.20, a 10 second PR and the highest placing by a varsity athlete at any invitational this decade. Azael took 4th in 10:30. Inteus also earned a PR in 10:53 and Nathan had a solid race in 11:06 as well.
The Frosh/Soph 4×400 team of Jose, Misael, Josue and Erik took 4th place in 3:59, despite a baton drop during the race.
Despite issues with delays and a slow turn-around in results, the James Lick track team emerged from the Willow Glen invite with more reason to be confident ahead of their season. The team will take on San Jose High in their first dual meet of the season tomorrow.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more Comet Track news!
The team will have some strong WVAL teams to battle if it is to win a double WVAL title, and move up to the STAL for the 2018 season, and the teams/ athletes of the WVAL will be the focus of this blog.
The Comets have their eyes set on a 14-0 season in the WVAL, and a double championship as a result. The West Valley Athletic League, is admittedly , the weakest division (‘C’ division) of the BVAL. Even so, a boys title would be the 1st WVAL championship for the team since the year 2000, and only the 6th title in the more than 60 year history of boys track at James Lick. A girls title would be the 2nd title in school history on the girls side after we claimed the first one in 2016.
We as coaches preach that Track is all about progress. Whether you are an 11 second 100m runner or a 19 second 100m runner, all we can do is work within our ability to improve ourselves. There’s nothing more worth doing than working to make yourself better. As recently as 2014, the team was in the middle of a combined 74 meet losing streak, so finishing 12-2 in 2016 was a huge turnaround for us. This speaks to tremendous team-wide improvement. Progress is what is worth being proud of because progress takes dedication and willpower, regardless of talent level or competition. This focus on improvement has moved us to a more and more competitive position, to the point that we can now add the goal of WVAL championships alongside our chief goal of the improvement of every athlete on the team.
Given the nature of High School sports, it’s possible for any team in any league to have a sudden down year, or to receive an outstanding class of athletes that propel them to new heights. Time will tell what new athletes will burst on to the scene in 2017, but here are the top returning athlete from last season in each event.
Only one of the top 5 point scorers on the girls side in 2016 was a senior, meaning the girls are in an excellent place to repeat as WVAL champions. Currently the team has a small number of girls practicing, but with the winter sports season now over , the team will hopefully add many more athletes on both sides.
Here is the teams breakdown of points scored by event group last season:
Average Points Per Dual Meet
Points Available Per Meet
Average Points as percentage of Available
League Finals Points
Last season, the Comet girls team lead all teams in the WVAL in distance, throws, and hurdles points at WVAL finals. Distance and throws on the girls side are poised to repeat this feat. Arlet Miranda and Daisy Nava were the teams top distance scorers last season, with Arlet finishing 2nd in both the 800 and 1600, and Daisy finishing 4th and 7th respectively. With both athletes back, the team can aim for even more points in the distance events this season.
Similarly in throws, the girls had a 1-2 finish in discus, a 2-3 finish in Shot Put. The throws team scored a whopping 86% of available dual meet points over the course of last season. The girls throwing group is growing in numbers as well, with 8 Lady Comets poised to throw for the team, including Charli Chircop returning from injury. The ability of Coach Vela’s top 3 throwers, Valeria Cortez, Alejandra Ceron and Charli, make throws a source of strength for the team. We can aim for all 18 available throws points, in virtually any dual meet we contest this season.
Keys to the team will be the development of the team in jumps, sprints and hurdles. Last seasons relay teams peaked very well for WVAL finals, finishing 2nd in the 4×100 in a minor upset, and 3rd in a tightly contested 4×400. The relay teams lost two members however, meaning new athletes will need to step up. Maria Mendoza figures to lead the sprint team, and time will tell how many athletes she brings with her from a girls soccer team that took a big step forward this season. Newcomers like freshmen Kirsten Yutuc give the team reason to be hopeful in these events.
Lyndel Ventura and Elyse Elder figure to continue leading the team in jumps. Both athletes had strong seasons last year, but struggled a bit at the very end of the season including WVAL finals. The team will be counting on them to rack up points in the horizontal jumps both at dual meets and at WVAL finals.
The hurdle events will also need athletes to step up with Andrea Ortiz (2nd in both hurdle events at WVAL last year) having graduated. The team does have 3 returning scorers from WVAL finals though, with 100h 4th place Valeria Cortez, 6th place Susie Peterson and 300 hurdles 6th place Belen Sanchez all returning. The void in the 300h is particularly concerning, as the team has no true 300 hurdler with Andrea gone. This is an event the team will be looking to new talent to fill.
Rival teams/athletes to watch
Every team in the WVAL will be treated with due respect and seriousness, but naturally some teams are more threatening than others.We won’t know more about the new athletes in the league until the season is underway, but based on last years results, here are the teams that I expect to pose the most competitive dual meets for the Comets this season on the girls side.
The 2nd place WVAL team last year was Yerba Buena.
They had a strong group of athletes in the hurdle races, and in sprints. Margarita Kirilenko in particular was one of the top 100/200 runners in the WVAL, and will be tough for any Comet runner to take down. Vanessa Ta in the 1600/3200 was also a BVAL championships qualifier and Arlet will be keying on her in the 3200 where Vanessa was able to beat Arlet both times they raced in 2016. There are 127 available points in a WVAL dual meet, meaning that 64 points is our magic number. Last year against Yerba Buena, the lady Comets scored 76, a solid victory, but our lowest margin of victory of the season. Many of Yerba Buena’s best athletes are returning, and the Comets will need to be wary of allowing victory to go the Warriors way this season. Head coach Jesus Pineda is no stranger to WVAL titles either. His boys teams won 3 straight WVAL titles in track from 2013-2015, and his girls won the 2015 WVAL title in cross country as well.
Live Oak: The Acorns were the team with the 2nd most points at WVAL finals last season. They boast the best distance runner in the entire BVAL in Kaylah Grant, making the dual with Live Oak the one dual where Arlet is unlikely to win the 1600 or 3200. Live Oak’s signature over the past few years has been a strong sprint group, winning the WVAL 4×100 title the last 3 years in a row and often advancing all the way to CCS. While their best sprinter and WVAL champion from 2016 graduated, they have two girls returning who scored in both the 100 and 200 at WVAL finals (No lady Comet scored in the 100 or 200 at WVAL finals last season by comparison).
The Comets will need to combat Live Oak’s strength in sprints with points in hurdles and throws. The dual should be god competition for both teams. As with most teams, Coach Vela’s throwing group should net the Comets many points in girls throws. Live Oak’s head coach Alberto Suarez is a throws coach as well however, and if his girls begin to follow the success of his boys (more on that later) the dual meet will be even more intense.
As the largest school in the entire CCS, Independence has a tremendous tradition in track and field. Similar to James Lick, Independence fell far from the success of its heyday in the 2000s. Current coaches head coaches, Don Barber and Khoi Tran are working hard to build their program as well. Khoi and myself especially have a bit of a friendly rivalry as we graduated only a year apart and are both back heading our former schools against each other. (We’ve also both been lucky enough to coach athletes who’ve become much faster than we were in HS).
The size of Independence, (3300 students compared to James Lick’s 1200) make it so that the 76ers can pull strong athletes out of seemingly nowhere. Last year the WVAL champion in the girls Shot Put emerged in the form of a senior who had never done track before. In terms of returners, Independence has the top returning 400m runner in the WVAL in Stephanie Justo, and the top returning 800 runner in Lydia Ma. (Lydia is a great rival for Arlet who may not compete this season due to other commitments but I for one hope she does in order to push Arlet). Based on the depth of returners on each team, the Comets should have an edge but the program in place at Independence, along with their number of students to draw from, make them a school to be wary of.
Gunderson: Gunderson head coach Joseph Miclette has built a strong program of jumpers and throwers. He has the WVAL champion in girls long jump, as well as 2nd and 3rd in triple jump all returning. He also has high scoring athletes returning in the 100, 200, 800, 1600 and 3200. Relative weakness in hurdles and Throws give the Comets and edge, though Gunderson is definitely another team to be wary of.
Others: As any team striving for success knows, every opponent needs to be taken seriously. It’s entirely possible for Overfelt, Del Mar, or San Jose to explode onto the scene with a strong team (we went from 1-6 in 2014 to 6-1 in 2015 after all). Overfelt has one of the top returning athletes in the WVAL in double hurdles champion Chrizna Milanes. Del Mar has had some strong teams in recent seasons when they get a good amount of athletes out for track, and San Jose High finally has a coach who knows track well and who will work to develop the talent that is already present on the team.
Boys Team Preview
Last year’s boys team placed 3rd in the WVAL with a 5-2 record, suffering losses to Independence and Yerba Buena. The team finished 4th in points at WVAK finals, losing to the two already mentioned teams and Live Oak. The boys team only lost one scoring athlete from WVAL finals however (Hector Ramirez who scored in both the 1600/3200) and should be much stronger this season with another hard years work in for an overall young team.
Here is the teams breakdown of points scored by event group last season:
Average Points Per Dual Meet
Points Available Per Meet
Average Points as percentage of Available
League Finals Points
Last season the teams strongest areas were distance and hurdles. If the team is to pursue a WVAL title, points in these areas will be even more essential. At WVAL finals the Comet distance boys scored a whopping 38 points. The only event group from any team to yield a higher point total were boys jumps from Independence, scoring 41. The team has the top 2 returning finishers in the 1600 last season in Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo. This duo coupled with rising star Erik Olsvold make the team a very formidable force this season, and I expect the distance team to score in excess of 50 points this season at WVAL finals. The distance team will be aiming not just for WVAL titles, but for sweeps. The proscenia of strong runners like Jesse Cruz form Overfelt, and Quinlan Daley from Del Mar, make victory alone far from a certainty, but the Comets have great ambition in distance this season. We’ll be aiming for all 27 distance points at most dual meets this season.
In hurdles, the Comets had top 4 finishes in WVAL from Hadji Yono-Cruz in the 110h, and Gustavo Aguilera in the 300h. Hadji will be focusing on jumps this season however, meaning that athletes like Gustavo and Jonathan Rodriguez will need to step up to fill the teams void.
The jumps team struggled at WVAL finals and this will be a focus for the team this season. In addition to Hadji, the team has a host of newcomers who look to be ready to help the team to greater heights this season. Coach Turner is hopeful that the team will have several boys go farther than 20 feet in the Long Jump fro the first time in years.
Sprints and Throws are also key to the team being able to run the table. While coach Vela’s throwers have been dominant the past few seasons, the boys team has lacked a top level athlete since Robert Rios graduated. Alex Alonzo figures to lead the team. His discus PR of 102-0 makes it so that this is the first season that coach Vela has a returning athlete over 100 feet in the discus. Josh Garcia was recovering from injury in his last track season, but managed to score for the team at WVAL finals in the Shot Put after only one month of work. He’ll figure to combine with Alex and Daniel medina to try to earn the critical throws points the boys will need this season.
In Coach Steve’s 2nd year working with the sprinters, we’re hoping for na explosion of ability. Top returners Jose Limon and Misael Herrera figure to lead the team. After placing 4th in the 400 and 6th in the 200 at WVAL finals as a freshmen, we’re hopeful Jose will be able to spearhead a much more developed sprint corp.
We’ll need every group to come together to replicate the success of the girls team last season, and to overcome some very daunting opponents.
Rival teams/athletes to watch
The reigning WVAL champion. Independence blew everyone out of the water last season in a dominating performance. They scored 160 points last season at WVAL finals. 2nd Place Yerba Buena scored 119, and we scored 76 points in 4th. When we faced them head to head last season, we lost 86-38. This added with what I’ve already said about the school, and their ability to pull new athletes from their student body, makes them a fearsome opponent. Last year senior Devin Ary competed despite not doing track in previous years, he placed 4th in the 100, 2nd in the triple jump and 1st in the long jump at WVAL finals.
The 76ers did lose some very strong athletes however. Ivan Godinez was one athlete the Comets couldn’t beat last season. With him gone, Indy’s best runners Isiah Tulio, a sub 5 miler in his own right. Nonetheless, all 21 distance points Independence scored at WVAL finals last season were Ivan’s. Devin Ary’s 23 points are also gone. As are Anthony Ho’s 20 points from winning both the 110h and 300h. With Anthony gone, hurdles will be a critical event. The Comets will badly need to take victories there against a still strong Independence hurdles crew.
Independence is a balanced team up and down. In short, I think this will be the most competitive dual meet of my career so far as a coach, and it will have a good chance of determining the 2017 WVAL champion.
To get to the Independence dual meet undefeated however, we’ll first have to go through Yerba Buena first. Yerba Buena was the WVAL boys champion 3 years in a row before Indy unseated them last year. We fell to them in a close dual meet, 69-58, last season. 11 Points may sound like a comfortable victory, but just a switch in the 4×400 from a YB to a JL victory would make the score 64-63.
Yerba Buena was strong in sprints and jumps as well, tallying up the 2nd most points at WVAL finals. They lost the best sprinter in the BVAL in Anthony Richard to graduation however, and this loss alone could tip the scaled in the Comets favor. They have the top returning 300 hurdler in the WVAL, and have strong returners in the jumps and 400 as well. A weakness in throws makes them a bit vulnerable. Their recent track record shows they can also dig up strong athletes from nowhere, and this early season dual meet (2nd of the season) will be a huge test for the Comets. It’s been at least 10 years since James Lick beat YB in a dual meet on the boys side.
Live Oak: Live Oak has a very strong group of throwers which helped them to 92 points at WVAL finals last season. In particular, Brendan White is the reigning Shot Put champion, and finished 3rd in discus last year as well. Our dual meet against them last season was a very slim 67-59 victory. In addition to a strong returning group of throwers, Live Oak usually has a strong group of sprinters as well. The reigning WVAL champion in the 400, Damien Vasquez, is a senior now.
A weakness in distance and horizontal jumps held the team back last year, but their strong sprint corp mean they could find then athletes they need in jumps at any points. Live Oak is another strong team to watch.
Gunderson: Last year we opened the season against the Grizzlies and won by only 1 point. Gunderson typically boasts strong sprinters, and they also have a solid group of distance runners and throwers as well. Jose Alvarez returns as the WVAL champion in the 800, a title the Comets hope to win from him this season.
A lack of hurdlers gives the Comets a good area of focus against when they face Gunderson. Gunderson tallied a slightly higher point total than the Comets at WVAL finals last season, and if the team is to climb form a 4th place finish at WVAL finals, to a 1st place finish this season, they’ll need to beat out teams like Gunderson.
Others: The biggest threats to the Comets dominance in the distance events come from Del Mar and Overfelt in the form of Quinlan Daley, Chris Solorzano and Jesse Cruz. For reference, the only 3 runners of any WVAL track schools to run under 17 minutes at BVAL finals in Cross Country were Erik, Nathan, and Azael for James Lick. Quinlan from Del Mar ran 17:04 and Jesse from Overfelt ran 17:14.
As competition approaches, the Comets are gearing up to make a run at these ambitious goals, with their minds focused on training.
The team will participate in its first meet of the year with many athletes heading to the Los Gatos All comers meet this Saturday (unless it gets rained out). Rain or shine the team will see its first official competion on March 4th at the Willow Glen invitational.
This post is a recap of James Lick’s league and division championship history in Track and Field.
The data I have here, and the school records list, (http://www.xcstats.com/track_all_time.php?school_id=1097 ) is based off records I have found using the prepcaltrack index of athletics, and newspapers.com. I’ve also gotten a few reports from various James Lick alumni including coach Keith Antes. While a large number of years are available on these sites, many still are missing. James Lick has at least 63 years of Track history, and I only have 35 years league finals results fully accounted for.
I have 55 years with at least one track meet result available, but only the past decade or so have nearly the full season worth of meet results available to draw from. If you have any specific meet results from past seasons that I can add to our XCstats database, I would very much appreciate you contacting me with the specifics.
In short, the school records and list of champions especially is very much incomplete. In any case, here is a list of all league/division champions that I have on record for the Comets.
It should be noted when James Lick began competing in Track, (at latest 1952) they were a member of the SCVAL (Santa Clara Valley Athletic League). By 1963 they were a member of the MHAL (Mount Hamilton Athletic League). From 1996 onward, we have been a member of the BVAL. The MHAL was generally an 8 team league for most of its history. The BVAL is a 24 team league, and the league is further divided into three different 8 team divisions. James Lick Track has been a member of the WVAL (within the BVAL) since 1996.
While WVAL, STAL, and MHAL are now technically divisions, they are each the size of many leagues, and I have therefore put champions from the BVAL era in the same category as champions of the Pre-BVAL era. It should be acknowledged however that as the WVAL is the ‘C’ division, a championship in this division is usually considerably easier to achieve than it would have been in the MHAL or SCVAL days. In any case here is our championship history.
The earliest records I have are of the 1954 SCVAL Championships. The article mentions however, that John Aguiar won both the 100 and 220 yard dash the year before. This makes Aguiar the first Comet Track league champion on record, with a double championship in 1954. Aguilar repeated the feat in 1954, becoming the school’s first double champion on record, and the school’s first repeat champion on record. His converted times of 11.00 and 22.64 for the 100m and 200m respectively stood as school records for over a decade. He is still one of only two Comets ever to repeat as league champion in the 100/200.
1954 is the season with the most Comet champions on record. Ed Brewer was the SCVAL double champion in hurdles, winning the 120 yard hurdles and the 180 low hurdles which is no longer contested. Brewer’s converted 110m hurdles time of 15.44 is still the 5th best James Lick time on record. A jumper named Lawrence also became the school’s first champion in the long jump, going 20-10.50. Gary Antes, brother of long time JLXCTF coach Keith Antes, won the mile run in 4:35.9. This was the first of 8 individual league championships in the 1600 that the Comet boys have achieved.
The team of 1954 narrowly missed winning the SCVAL finals meet, but won the SCVAL title on merit of their dual meet victories. According to the school’s banners, they were able to win the SCVAL title in both 1955 and 1956 as a team. Full records from those years are unavailable however.
In 1956, Russ Ray won the SCVAL title in 880 yard run, becoming the first Comet on record to break 2:00 for the 800, with a converted time of 1:58.70. He repeated his title in 1957, becoming the school’s first repeat champion in a distance event. Ray still stands as one of only 2 Comets ever to win two league titles in the 800. 1958 Saw a jumper named Turner go 44 feet in the Triple Jump to capture the SCVAL title for the Comets.
Records from 1959-1962 are very limited. In 1963, Ray Clayton went 13-6 in the Pole Vault to become the only Comet Pole Vault champ on record. Clayton also became the first Comet champion on the MHAL era on record. There is no record of the 1964 MHAL finals, though judging by his 4th place finish at NCS Finals, and his place on the Norcal Best Marks list for 1964, it is very likely that Clayton won the league title in the pole vault again in 1964. Clayton also competed at the CIF State Meet in 1964, becoming the first Comet on record to do so.
In 1967, the Comets were co-Mt. Hamilton league champions as a team. The team also had the only 400m champion on record on the boys side this season. Steve Baker ran a converted 52.8 to capture the then 440 yard MHAL title. The team also captured a victory in the no longer run, 880 yard relay.
The 1968 season team saw a number of champions as well, including the teams first 4×400 league title on record. The team of Richard West, Chris Moulton, Gary Sires and David Pike won the mile relay in what converted to a 3:31.5 for the modern 4×400. Richard West was the MHAL champion in the 880, with a converted 800 time of 2:02.7. Molton won the triple jump in 44-3, and Pike won the 220 with a converted time of 23.02 for 200m. Noe Chavez also won the pole vault for the Comets, with a mark of 12-6.
Records from MHAL finals for many of the upcoming years are missing, though the Comets did have some champions during the available years. In 1969 Dave Pike won the 220 yard sprint. This was the 3rd converted 200m title for the Comets on record. The same George Costa also won the 880 with a time of 2:01, giving the Comets their 4th league championship in the half mile run on record.
The next available MHAL records are from 1975. The Comets had Shot Put champion Webster that year, with a colossal heave of 56 feet. The following year Pete Moreno won the triple jump with a mark of 48-11, surely one of the best MHAL championships marks ever.
In 1979, the Comets got their first ever female champion, just a few years after girls track began. Joan Jacobs ran a converted 12.34c to win the 100 yard dash for the Comets. The girls results from 1980 are missing, but Jacobs won the 100 again in 1981. This makes her the only repeat winner of the 100 in school history on the girls side.
1984 and 1985 saw Henry Barba winning the 100/200 in back to back years. Barba established school records in both events in his tenure, and is fairly definitively the best sprinter in school history, with official HS bests of 10.69 for the 100 and 21.57 in the 200. 1985 also saw the first league championship for Joe Amendt, winning the 800 as a freshmen in 2:00.24. Joe would go on to win the MHAL 800m title 4 consecutive times and add a 1600m title in his senior year as well.
Joe Amendt is the only Comet on record to win 4 league/ division championships in a single event. He is also the one of only two JL runners to win titles in both the 1600 and 800 and the only one to achieve the double. Joe’s 5 individual MHAL titles makes him the winningest athlete in school history.
The 1990 season saw Arick Putnam win the 1600 with a time of 4:33.35. Again, results in the early 90s are largely missing, though the 1996 season held two titles for the Comets. Patrick McClinton won the long jump in the Comets first year in the WVAL, going 21-1. Alberto Meza won the 1600 with a time of 4:36.7 In this era, full finals results became more readily available and most years in the BVAL era have good records.
The year 2000 saw the boys win their most recent title, winning the WVAL ‘C’ division championship of the BVAL. They had a number of individual champions this year. Kevin Stewart won the Long Jump and Triple jump, going 21-5 and 41-1 respectively. This made Stewart only the second Comet ever to win a double championship in jumps, following the example of Lawrence in 1954. Mike Rodgers also won the sprint double with times of 11.26 and 22.43 for the 100 and 200. In addition, Rogers helped the team to a victory in the 4×100 with a team time of 44.43. Eric Santos gave the team their first 3200 champion on record with a 10:09 clocking, and Ivan Navarro added his name to the list of school 1600m champions with a time of 4:43.34.
The teams of the early 2000s also won a number of titles. After winning the 3200 the year before, Eric Santos won the 1600 with a time of 4:36.4, giving the team its 7th 1600m champion a year before Nelson Funston (4:40.05) would give the school its 8th. Tommy West won the 200 with a strong time of 22.15 in 2001. The team also won only their second 4×400 title on record with a time of 3:33.6. 2001 also saw Nelson Funston winning the 800 in 2:01.20.
In 2005, Ruth Lebeau won the first of her 4 WVAL titles, becoming the winningest athlete in JL track history on the girls side. Ruth won 2 Long jump titles and 2 triple jump titles and established school records of 17-5 in long jump, and 37-5 in triple jump along the way. Sara Toscano also won the girls 400 in 2005 with a time of 1:01.25. The same season Rogelio Gonzalez won the boys 800, giving the school its 9th individual 800m title, making it the most successful event for the Comets at league/division finals in school history.
In 2011, Ricardo Flores won the 3200 for the Comets with a time of 10:52, just the 2nd title for the Comet boys ever in the 3200 or 2 mile. In 2014, Robert Rios won the first of his back-to-back Shot Put titles, throwing 40-3 and 43-2 in 2014 and 2015 respectively. Paloma Contreras became the school’s 2nd ever 400m champion on the girls side the same year.
In 2016, the James Lick girls team won their first ever championship, taking the WVAL title with a 7-0 record. Despite huge success at WVAL finals, the team only had one individual champion, Alejandra Ceron in the discus who threw 90-10.
The track team has only 6 total team league/division championships in school history to this point.
1954 SCVAL Boys
1955 SCVAL Boys
1956 SCVAL Boys
1967 MHAL Boys (Co-champions)
2000 WVAL Boys (‘C’ division)
2016 WVAL Girls (‘C’ division)
The full list of champions I’ve found can be found at the link below, as can all of our info about JL track and field history.
The new year is here and the James Lick Comets are beginning their preparations for the 2017 Track season. The team is looking to continue their growth as a program, and we have clearly fixed goals in mind for the season as a whole. In this blog post I will detail the competitive goals that my fellow coaches and I have set for the 2017 season. Our goals go from highest priority/main goal to lower priority/ secondary goals.
Team Goals for 2017:
1. Have a team-first supportive and welcoming team culture.
2. See Each athlete improve consistently throughout the season.
3. Greater support from infield and bleachers when teammates are competing, ESPECIALLY for field events.
4. Have more than 50 members of the team consistently at practice and competing by March.
5. Have more food at the end of season Track Banquet.
Competitive Goals for 2017:
Win WVAL championship in both boys and girls: Combined 14-0 record
Have 30 total BVAL qualifications, send over 20 different athletes to BVAL Champs in at least 22 different events.
Have 5 athletes qualify from BVAL championships to CCS trials
Win 5 Individual event titles at WVAL finals
Have an athlete place in the top 5 at BVAL Championships
Place in the top 10 teams at an invitational
Qualify for the Stanford Invitational in the Distance Medley Relay
The 2016 season saw the team win their first ever championship on the girls side, winning the WVAL (‘C’ division of the BVAL) with a perfect 7-0 record. The boys went 5-2 for a 3rd place finish, both sides improving on the combined 10-4 record of the 2015 season. With a huge majority of 2016s top athletes returning, we have set the goal of winning a double championship this season, with the ultimate goal of being placed in the STAL (‘B’ division) of for the 2018 season.
While James Lick was a power in many sports in the early years of its existence, the schools athletic success has sagged greatly in the BVAL era (1996 and onward). Since the onset of the BVAL, where the 24 team of the BVAL are placed in 8-team divisions based on strength of program, only a handful of JL teams have ever risen out of the WVAL. James Lick Track has never been out of the WVAL since being placed there in 1996. As I’ve discussed in previous blogs, this is perhaps not surprising given the population of James Lick, currently the 4th smallest BVAL school based on 2016-2017 enrollment.
In 2016 however, the cross country team not only competed in the ‘B’ division, but won a championship on the boys side.This was the first non ‘C’ division title for any James Lick sport since Wrestling in 2004. We are hoping to have the track team follow suit.
As always, our primary goal is to help each athlete grow as an athlete, and as a person. We seek to do this, all while creating a family-like supportive atmosphere that is an escape for our students. Each one of our coaches sets out the best road-map they can to train our athletes to develop to the best of their ability, and we believe competitive results will stem from this focus.
In addition to our competitive team goal of winning the WVAL on both sides, we will also be pushing for a greater focus on top tier and post-season success. Our regular season ends with WVAL finals, where the top 4 athletes in each event qualify for BVAL championships. Last year we had 25 total qualifications between the boys and girls, in 20 total events (out of a total of 30 events, as each side has 15 different events). This was the largest number of events James Lick has ever qualified for BVAL championships in, and we will be striving to increase the number this season.
Also, despite the high number of qualifications and a league title to show for it on the girls side, we had only one individual event championship last season, Alejandra Ceron in the girls discuss. I think we could realistically win as many as 8 event championships at WVAL this season, and bringing home at least a handful of individual titles is another goal. We also had only one CCS qualifier last season, Valeria Cortez in the girls discuss. We will be aiming to advance at least a few more athletes to CCS trials this season.
To help us towards our competitive goals, here are just a few of our top returning athletes who are likely to factor heavily for us in 2017.
Nathan Bernardo: Team captain and the boy’s team’s highest point scorer in 2016. Nathan became the first Comet ever to qualify for BVAL Championships in all 3 distance events in the same season last year.
Azael Zamora/ Erik Olsvold: This dynamic duo combined to give Nathan a run for his money all cross country season, and even beat him at times. Erik in particular is only beginning to come into his own as a sophomore, and is in my mind the favorite to win individual WVAL titles for the team on the boys side. Both athletes were BVAL qualifiers last year.
Jose Limon: The team’s top sprinter in 2016 despite only joining in April. Jose qualified for BVAL champs in the 400 as a freshmen. He will need to continue to recover from a broken collarbone sustained in football season, to continue to spearhead our spirits team this year.
Hadji Yono-Cruz/ Gustavo Aguilera: Our top 110 and 300 hurdlers respectively. The WVAL hurdlers around the league are historical weak from a competitive standpoint, these two have the opportunity to capitalize with huge point totals for the team. Both athletes were BVAL qualifiers last season.
Alex Alonzo/ Josh Garcia: Alex was the team’s top discus thrower in 2016 but lost the last half of his season due to grades. Josh was the only boys thrower to score points at WVAL last season for the team. These two will need to combine to give the team the boost they need in throws to win the WVAL title.
Arlet Miranda: Arlet, like Nathan, qualified for BVAL champs in every distance and anchored the 4×400 team to 3rd place at WVAL finals as well. She was the team’s highest overall point scorer last year as a freshmen, and coming off a great cross country season, is likely to repeat in that roll.
Valeria Cortez: Last year Valeria was the only freshmen girl in the entire CCS to make CCS trials in a throwing event. She did so by setting a new school record in the discuss with a throw of 99-9.50. She also made BVAL champs in Shot Put and the 100h, making her an incredibly versatile athlete.
Alejandra Ceron: Valeria’s partner in crime and appointed “big sister.” Alejandra beat Valeria in discus at WVAL finals last year to be the schools only individual champion, and placed 2nd in Shot Put, making her another likely candidate for individual titles this season.
Maria Mendoza: After qualifying for BVAL champs in the 400 last season, Maria is likely to be our leading sprinter this season. Her versatility means she will be able to help the team in a variety of ways in 2017.
Lyndel Ventura/ Elyse Elder: The team’s top jumpers, qualifying for BVAL champs in the Long Jump and high jump respectively, they are also key members of the 4×100 team and will likely do more sprinting this season as well.
These are just some of the teams key returning athletes.
Lastly, as the team’s distance coach, I have several goals for the distance team as a whole this season.
Score 70 combined points in the 3 distance events at WVAL finals on the boys side.
Have 3 boys under 4:40 for the 1600
Have two distance runners qualify for CCS.
Establish new school records in 2 girls distance events, girls and boys DMR and 4×800.
Between the boys and girls, win 3 individual WVAL event championships.
Have a 1-2-3 finish in a distance event at WVAL finals.
Have an athlete run under 10 minutes for the 3200.
Have every distance boy run under 6 minutes for the 1600, and every girl under 7 minutes for the 1600m.
Conditioning is just now getting underway and meets are along way off. The members of the team who are not participating in Winter sports however, are already hard at work with big goals in mind.
In the next few weeks I will do reviews of James Lick’s championship history in Track, as well as BVAL qualification history.
On October 31st, all 24 teams of the BVAL took to the Crystal Springs cross country course for BVAL Finals. The meet determines the final standings for all 3 BVAL divisions, the WVAL (‘C’ division) STAL (‘B’ division) and the MHAL (‘A’ division).
The WVAL, STAL, and MHAL, were all their own individual leagues, but in 1996 they came under the governance of the 24 team ‘super league’ called the BVAL. This re-structing (which happened throughout the CCS during this era) occurred after the glory days of James Lick sports. With teams moving up and down in the BVAL based on strength of program, where a school has it’s teams places is a good indicator of how strong the school’s programs are.
The fact that the BVAL came into existence at the same time that James Lick was achieving the makeup that it has today, helps us to analyze James Lick teams over the past 20 years as part of the “modern era.”
Since the BVAL’s foundation (1996) , James Lick entered the 2016-2017 school year with a total of 16 championships across all sports. Only 3 of these 16 championships were in the STAL (‘B’ league of the BVAL) with the Wrestling team of 2004 being the last JL team to win a title in the B division. Just being placed in the B division is a victory for a James Lick sport these days. Since the BVAl era, James Lick has offered 16 sports, (considering Cross Country, Swimming, and Track as 1 sport each, since boys and girls teams score separately, but cannot move divisions independently). Only 8 of these 16 sports at James Lick however have ever competed in any division other than the WVAL (‘C’ league of the BVAL). In addition, 2 of those 8 competed in the B division while there was no C division due to a shortage of BVAL teams offering the sport. This means only 6/16 JL sports in the BVAL era have ever been out of the lowest division of the BVAL.
While some teams commonly have most of their teams in the A and B divisions, James Lick currently only has 3, Cross Country, Boys Soccer, and Boys volleyball (though there is no ‘C’ division for boys volleyball). In 20 years now in the BVAL era, with at least 13 sports offered a year, James Lick has never had more than 4 teams in the same year be placed in the ‘B’ division or higher. As such, the cross country team continues to strive to represent the school as a legitimate ‘B’ league team.
BVAL finals in cross country is a great way to prove this strength of program, with all 24 teams in the same race, theoretically a perfectly formatted league would have the MHAL teams place 1-8, STAL place 9-16 and WVAL place 17-24. Any placing higher than 16th in a race legitimatizes the Comets standing and gives the team a sense of pride. As the 4th smallest school in the BVAl, and the 2nd poorest as measured by % of students who receive free/reduced lunch, overcoming this disadvantages to beat schools in a better place to succeed is something to be proud of.
The day started well, with the team’s two reserve girls racing for the Comets. After running 29:24 at the Crystal Spring’s invite, Valerie Flores ran 27:09 to place 17th in the reserve race, a huge PR for Valerie. The 9:12 mile pace is by far the best of her career, ending with a very strong peak performance. Brittany Salazar had a similarly huge PR, after running 34:49 at the invitational, she ran 32:41 at league finals. Her 11:05 mile pace was also by far the best of her career. A very strong ending for the two seniors.
The JV girls race was next, as the first scoring race of the day, the team looked for a top 16 team performance. The JV girls is the easiest race to score highly in, as many programs struggle to field a full team. In any case, the Comet girls came in 12th in the BVAL a solid performance. Camila Hernandez lead the group with a very strong time of 24:34. Camila looks poised to have a big track season, and be a key member of the girls team in future seasons. The 8:20 mile pace at league finals was the best of her career. The same was true of Aliana Santos, running 9:01 pace for a time of 26:36. At the CS invite, Aliana ran 29:27, making her league finals PR another outstanding performance. Susie Peterson was next in, while her time of 28:14 was an off race compared to other races this season, it was a solid 30 second PR at Crystal Springs. Ashley Preciado also had the best race of her career, running 29:06 and breaking the 10 minute mile pace barrier for the very first time. Diana Romero ran 31:20 to seal off the team, and Ally Floreza battled through an ankle injury to finish her race and show a warrior spirit in the process.
The Frosh/Soph Boys were next, and they improved their league standing by placing 2nd amongst B division teams at league finals. While final team results are not yet up of FS, I believe that the team managed to finish 8th overall, beating several ‘A’ division teams. Similarly, I do not know the records of the other teams in the ‘B’ division, but this performance may have moved the FS team as high as 2nd place in the STAL.
Vincent Giglio lead the team with a strong PR of 18:22, placing 1st in the STAL to give the team the STAL F/S boys individual champion 2 years in a row. Mark Orpia gave the team a 2nd boy under 20 minutes, running 19:34. The 6:38 mile pace for Mark was the best of his career, though I think it was actually a bit of an off-race for him after he ran 6:40 mile pace at Montgomery Hill a few weeks back. Nien Tran ran 20:18 to manage a 6:53 pace, the first time Nien has run under 7 minute mile pace for an XC race. Rudy Peterson and Melvin Estrada completed the scoring team with times of 21:00 and 21:03, the first the fastest paces of both boys career for a course longer than 2.1 miles. Hugo Marquez was close behind at 21:16, the 7:13 pace being the best of his career as well. Jerricho Habon rounded out the team in 21:25, battling the hip injury that has troubled him throughout much of the season. The team’s 8th place finish saw them defeating 2 teams from the MHAL and running the best James Lick frosh/soph team time in the BVAL era. Their team time of 1:40:25 (100:25) beats the FS team of 2010 (101:06) for a new BVAL Finals FS record. Our goal of breaking the 100 minute barrier was narrowly missed.
Next up were the varsity girls. Arlet Miranda ran a small PR of 20:12, running a very productive race in which she experimented with running a very hard 2nd mile in preparation for CCS. The Varsity girls team has struggled with finding time to train this season, but the pack of Maria Mendoza in 22:44, Milka Perez in 22:50 and Daisy Nava in 23:02 helped solidify the team’s placing. Denisse Calixto ran 24:28 the best race of her career to come through as the 5th girl. Belen Sanchez had a bit of an off-race running 25:03, though Analilia Regla ran 25:08, the best mile pace of her career as well. The teams time of 1:53:16 (113:16) is the 4th best team time in school history.
Skipping ahead to the reserve race, David Bejines lead the Comets with a strong reserve time of 20:14. Isaak Herrera came in next at 20:31 and Austin Swank was 3rd in 20:50, giving the team 3 athletes solidly under 21 minutes. Both David and Isaak ran under 7 minute mile pace for the first time on a near 3 mile course. Manuel Villalobos ran 21:42 and Esteban Garcia-Gomez ran 22:08 to seal off the top 5. Kevin Bach ran 22:34 and Daniel Portillo was not far behind in 23:00 a big PR from the Crystal Springs invite. Jesse Friaz finished off the team’s day with a time of 24:26. All 8 reserve boys ran the best mile pace of their career for a new 3 mile course.
The Varsity boys team went in highly motivated, knowing that a good race would clinch championship. In order to seal the victory, the team would have to hold off a very strong Pioneer team. Erik Olsvold lead the group, displaying his signature strong finish, Erik moved from 15th to 9th place in the last 200 meters of the race. His time of 16:22 is the best time by any James Lick boy in over 10 years, and puts him tied for 20th on the school’s al time list as only a Sophomore. Narrowly holding off Evan Franco of Branham who ran 16:24, Erik also ends the season as the STAL individual champion on the boys side, one year after being the FS champion. Erik’s remarkable improvement, from 18:14 a year ago, speaks to the immense work ethic of the varsity team. Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora both missed their PRS, but competed well running 16:47 and 16:59, giving the team 3 boys under 16 minutes in the same race at Crystal Springs for the first time in over a decade. All 3 boys finished in the top 20 overall. Inteus Castro-Lopez had a rough race, but showed his toughness, gritting out a time of 17:33 for a 22 second PR. Gustavo Aguilera also ran a 20 second PR of 17:39, with Gustavo Parra right behind in 17:40.
Pioneer ran a very strong race as well, and ended up placing 5th in the entire BVAL, beating half of the ‘A’ division teams. The Comets nonetheless were able to clinch their STAL championship, placing 2nd out of all 24 BVAL teams, only losing to Willow Glen, the ‘A’ league champs. The fact that the team was able to jump from a disappointing 13th place finish last year, to 2nd this year is truly remarkable. Their team time of 1:25:20 (85:20) is the best James Lick time at BVAL Finals in school history.
When Nathan and Gustavo A were freshmen, they ran 20:36 and 22:34 at BVAL finals. Nathan was the 7th boy on a varsity team where the #1 runner ran 18:29. That James Lick team placed 20th at BVAL Finals. The work ethic of Nathan and Gustavo, taking minutes off of their starting times, has helped foster a culture of hard work that has inspired their teammate around them, and drawn in athletes like Inteus and Gustavo P. In their 4 year careers, they saw the varsity boys team move from 20th in the BVAL to 2nd, and from a team time of 97:09 at league finals, to the 85:20 of today.
In the now 38 years of school history (on record) at the Crystal Springs cross country course, the team of 2016 ranks 11th in team time, showing that in 4 short years, the Comets were able to take a team from its 2nd slowest time, back to the times of James Lick’s heyday. It is up to the returning and future members of the team, to keep James Lick where it belongs an to keep driving the team upwards towards greater success. While the varsity and Frosh/Soph boys teams could have committed in the MHAL this year, the girls team has a ways to go before they are able to do the same.
Willow Glen has won 12 of the last 13 BVAL finals meets, and there is no sham in losing to the highly formidable team. The varsity boys team of 2016 showed that the Comets are still capable of competing with the best however, and every year we will try to reach greater and greater heights. The varsity boys, and fellow CCS qualifier Arlet Miranda now look ahead to CCS Finals on November 12th, where they will compete against fellow D3 runners from the CCS. To better understand CCS qualification you can read here:
The team will unfortunately be without top runner Erik Olsvold at CCS, making a top 3 finish, and a better team time difficult, but the Comets will do their best to try to get a State Qualifier for the first time in 2005.
The Comets took a record number of athletes to the BVAL Championship meet at Sliver Creek high School on May 12th. In total 16 Comets competed. The meet held such strong results for the team, though it was not a great showing for the team overall. The team will look to emphasize this meet to a greater extent in future seasons, with more and more Comets advancing from WVAL finals with ease.
The BVAL Championship meet is contested between all three BVAl divisions (A, B and C). A total of 16 automatic qualifiers advance to BVAL Championships, based on their divisional meets. The top 8 Athletes in each event at BVAL champs advance to CCS trials.
The girls 4×100 team of Lyndel Ventura, Maria Mendoza, Karen Montes and Elyse Elder ran 54.68 to end their season. Arlet Miranda got valuable big-race experience in the girls 1600. She placed 10th in a time of 5:41, the fast first lap of the race costing her in the later half. As a freshmen however, Arlet will look to build on her performance in future seasons, coming within 2 places of making CCS. In the boys 1600, Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo competed, though they did not perform well, running 4:54 and 4:58 respectively.
Andrea Ortiz had a strong final 100h race of her high school career, running 17.68 for 10th place after not even making BVAL champs in the event the year before. Valeria Cortez competed as well, though she had a poor race. Hadji Yono-Cruz ended his season on a high note, running a PR of 18.27. Hadji will look to break through next year.
The girls 400 had Maria running 1:08.91, while Jose Limon ran the boys 400 in 55.99. The girls 800 had another solid race for Arlet, coming home in a high 2:31. Daisy Nava competed as well running 2:46. Erik Olsvold ran a small PR in the boys 800 of 2:08.14. Nathan ended his season with a 2:10 following his 1600. The girls 300h had Andrea placing 10th in 50.96. Andrea’s injury plagued season limited her potential in the event. Her knee pain was so bad she was on the verge of dropping out 100m into the race, but decided to finish at a lessened effort level. She ran a time which only missed qualifying for CCS by .3 seconds, despite being hampered by injury causing her to hold back. Andrea’s toughness is a lesson in perseverance, as well as illustrating the fact that things don’t always go smoothly just because you work hard. While we dearly wish she could have run to her full potential, she has a bright future ahead of her and will be competing at De Anza college next year. Gustavo Aguilera competed in the boys 300h, running 46.80.
The team finished the running events with the 4x400s. The boys team of Jose, Gustavo, Misael Herrera and Nathan ran a seasons best of 3:45. The girls team of Maria, Daisy, Andrea and Arlet ran a solid 4:34. In the field events, Elyse Elder placed 11th in girls high jump at 4-4. Lyndel Ventura jumped 14-4.5 for 12th place in girls long jump.
In the girls Shot Put, Alejandra Ceron threw a PR of 31-9 for 10th place. Valeria threw a solid 30-0. The event of the day for the team however was the girls discus. Alejandra struggled, throwing 82-0, but Valeria had a huge day throwing a new PR of 99-9.50. This was good enough for 6th place and a CCS berth. This also makes Valeria the school record holder in the girls discus, beating the 96 foot throw of Ward in 2002. Valeria has had a tremendous season. At her first ever high school competition, Valeria competed in her 3 primary events. At the Willow Glen Invitational she threw 25-5.50 in the Shot Put, 65-10 in Discus and ran 22.94 in the 100 hurdles. Valeria worked hard all season under Coach Vela in the throws and myself in the hurdles, and drastically improved her marks. She ended up throwing 31-1 in the Shot Put, 99-9.50 in Discus and 17.80 in the 100 hurdles. Valeria should be a huge factor in the WVAL, and the entire BVAL for years to come.
Valera will head to Gilroy High school next Saturday for the CCS Trials, while some members of the team will contest the Stanford Cardinal All Comers Meet at Gunn high School in the same day.