Comets Rack Up Medals at Firebird Relays: Varsity Girls Finish 3rd Out of 42 Teams.

The James Lick Comets took to Fremont High School on Saturday March 31st for arguably the teams favorite invitational, the Firebird Relays. The meet features combination relays in the field events and hurdles. Every team with 3 athletes in an event, 3 varsity girl long jumpers for example, will have their marks added up. The 3 best teams in each event based on this format receive medals and score points for their teams.

Every year we gear up to field combination relays here, taking a small break from striving for individual PRs, to go for team accomplishments. It means alot for athletes who are new at track or are usually nowhere near the top of their event to be able to pursue medals. Overall on this day, the Comets netted 32 medals as a team.

The meet however did start with the individual hurdle events. Valeria Cortez just missed medaling, taking 5th overall in a seasons best 17.04 (3rd was 16.96). Yesenia Martinez won her heat in 18.99, her 2nd best time of the season despite a bad stumble on the 8th hurdle. Rodolf Ocampo ran 17.38 in the boys 110, a solid performance, though just off of his wind legal PR of 17.29.

Yesenia Martinez on her way to a victory in her heat

The boys 4×100 team of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Misael Herrera and Geovanny Campos ran 46.14 for 8th place in the varsity boys 100. Last year at Firebird an almost identical team (Salvador Lopez instead of Misael Herrera) ran 48.39 at this event. This team continues to improve by leaps and bounds, and with our 5 fastest sprinters being juniors, it makes the future very exciting indeed.

The field event relays got under way with the Varsity Boys triple jump. Sal lead the team with a small PR of 38-2.50. Jamie Vong achieved a new seasons best of 36-10.50. Angel Guerrero went 32-8. The team was hampered by the fact that Raven was not able to achieve a mark. Raven has been having major issues with scratches of late in the horizontal jumps, an issue we will be working to fix this week.  The team just missed medaling, placing 4th as a unit.

Angel Guerrero in the last phase of his triple jump


In the girls long jump, Natalie Rem went a seasons best 14-4 and Lisbeth Galdamez jumped 13-6. The Comets did not have a 3rd athlete to complete the relay however.

The first medals of the day came in the varsity girls shot put relay. Valeria Cortez (31-5.25) Marquise Nelson (30-11.50) and Natalie with a very strong debut of 25-8.50 completed the relay. The Comets placed 2nd overall in the event, out of 14 teams with athletes competing in the event. Adriana Marcelino also threw for the team. She threw 21-10.75, a seasons best and only a quarter inch off of her PR.

Three frosh/soph girls competed in the 1600 with great results as well. Ruth Rodriguez lead the freshmen in a new PR of 6:47.57. Estefani Herrera broke the 7 minute barrier for the first time, clocking in at 6:52.20. Mariana Perez ran a seasons best 7:02.75 as well.

The next event was the DMR (Distance Medley Relay). The first leg runs 1200 meters,  2nd runs 400, 3rd runs an 800 and the anchor runs a 1600. There are only a few results in the event (on record) in school history, but the Comets added a few more at Firebird. The varsity girls team of Belen Sanchez, Arlet Miranda, Ashley Preciado and Yeimili Adame ran 15:02.87 to place 2nd and win themselves medals. The frosh/soph team of Mya Hammond, Jana Kikia, Jessica Cervantes and Lizbeth Espana ran 15:45.86, 10 seconds better than last years frosh/soph team.

On the boys side, the team was Melvin Estrada, Misael Herrera, Jerricho Habon and Mark Orpia. The team stopped the clock at 11:53.48, the 4th best mark on record in school history out of 10 total marks.

The Comet DMR and 4×800 team, left to right: Ashley Preciado, Belen Sanchez, Arlet Miranda, Yeimili Adame 

The distance crew was at it again later in the 4×800. The varsity girls team again took 2nd, finishing in 11:41. The frosh/soph team took 3rd place between the team of Estefani, Jana, Mya and Jessica. The varsity boys were unable to medal in a competitive race, but ran a 9:23.71, 11 seconds better than last year between Melvin, Josh Merin, Mark and Jerricho.

A few Comets contested the open 100, though none quite achieved PRs. Lis ran 14.10, and Chnatrea Thach clocked in at 15.58. Krystal Tran ran 16.35 in the frosh/soph version of the event. Angel was the only boy to run the 100, running a 12.82.

The field events marched on with the boys long jump. Sal went 19-1.50, the 2nd best jump of his career to lead the team. Jamie went 18-5 to miss his PR by 1 inch. Geo did not have his best day, going 17-7 with Raven also struggling at 17-4. Nonetheless, the team did manage to medal between Sal, Jamie and Geo, placing 3rd, just inches off of 2nd.

The girls discus throwers just missed medaling, placing 4th. Valeria and Marquise had off days, throwing 95 feet and 69 feet respectively. Adriana broke through with a PR of 66-7 however. This had been a long time coming for Adriana, whose previous best of 65-0 had stood for over 2 full years. It was a big moment for her and throws coach Raul Lopez.

It was a different story in the girls triple jump however. Natalie took 3rd overall with a leap of 31-8.25. Marquise made her triple jump debut and went 28-6.5. Yesenia went 26-6 an off day by her standards. Nonetheless, the girls won the triple jump replay!

The boys also got medals in the high jump. Geo Campos cleared 4-10, while Josh cleared 5-0. Sal completed his best ever jumps day (PR in triple, 2nd best mark in long jump) with a PR in the high jump of 5-8, tying him for 3rd overall.The girl high jumpers also took 2nd as a team. Marquise went 4-0, with Yesenia and Lisbeth both going 4-2.


Sal’s takeoff in the long jump 

With the field events completed, the Comets had two running events left. In the girls 300 hurdles, the team of Valeria, Arlet and Yesenia managed to take 2nd as a team for the combination relay. The boys managed the same feet with some big PRS.

Sal went 45.74 for his 2nd try at the event, a very strong mark when one considers how bad his form was in the race. Mark managed a huge PR of 46.02 as well, beating his previous best by over 2 seconds. Rodolf had an off race, but did enough to ensure a 2nd place for the team in the combo relay.

The final event for the Comets on the day was the SMR (Sprint Medley Relay). It consists of two 100 meter legs, a 200 meter leg, and a 400 meter leg. This was only the 2nd time (on record) that the team contested this version of the event.

The girls team of Lisbeth, Natalie, Yeimili and Arlet ran 2:07.47, shaving two seconds off of last years time for a new school record. The frosh/soph team of Araceli Mejia, Krystal, Mya and Jessica ran 2:18.85.

On the boys side, Raven, Geo, Misael and Jerricho combined to run 1:45.00, 2 seconds better than last years mark for a new school record again. The ‘B’ team of  Mark, Jamie, Angel and Josh ran 1:49.15 to end the Comets day.

When all was said and done, the Comets were 10th out of 42 teams with all 4 divisions combined (no Comets competed in frosh/soph boys). The team was a very strong 3rd place on the girls side.

With the confidence gained from the Firebird Relays, the team will head to Lincoln on Thursday April 4th for a quad meet against Lincoln, Piedmont and Sobrato. This meet will go a long way towards determining the Comets’ season record.

The team will then head to Leland High School on Saturday April 6th for the Quicksilver Classic.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves




James Lick Track Combined 4-0 After Narrow Win over Yerba Buena

With all other events over, both teams gather to watch the girls high jump (Elyse Elder jumping). 

The James Lick Track team hosted the always competitive Yerba Buena Warriors on March 15th. The Comets had not beaten the Warriors on the boys side in years, and the lady Comets handed the lady Warriors their only defeat a year ago. Heading into the matchup, we anticipated the dual meet would be a big early test on both sides, with the girls team being especially challenged.

YB won both 4×100 relays to begin the meet and took an early lead. They won with times of 55.24 on the girls side, and 47.58 on the boys side. The Comets earned their first wins of the day in the 1600. Inteus Castro-Lopez got his first ever event win, taking the boys 1600 in 5:08. Erik Olsvold and Nathan Bernardo were right behind him in 5:09 and 5:11 to complete a Comet sweep in the 1600, their 2nd consecutive sweep of the event to start the season. Mark Orpia ran a seasons best 5:38 and Osman Lopez ran a PR of 6:14 in the event as well.

After sitting out last week with a minor injury, Arlet Miranda returned to win the 1600 for the girls in 6:08. Analilia Regla ran a big PR for 2nd place, clocking 7:00.55 to give the Comets two girls knocking on the 7:00 barrier for the 1600. The girls 100h was slightly disappointing for the team. Valeria Cortez got off to a great start and lead for 7 hurdles before a misstep cost her the victory. She ran a solid 18.78 for 2nd place to top YB hurdler Angelica Salvador. Susie Peterson had a seasons best of 20.30 for 3rd place and Yvette Arciga ran a full second PR in 5th. Hadji Yono-Cruz won the boys 110h despite an off race, and teammate Jonathan Rodriguez took 3rd in a seasons best 19.71.

Both 400 meter races saw the Comets taking 2nd place, with Warriors 1st and 3rd. Belen Sanchez knocked down 2nd place for the girls with a seasons best time of 1:12, while Misael Herrera ran a PR of 57.47 to take 2nd on the boys side.

Valeria took 2nd place in the 100 with a time of 14.63, and Kirsten Yutuc took 3rd in 14.90 to get the team 4 points in the 100m dash. On the boys side Cody Huoch scored 3rd place for the Comets in 12.43. A few Comet boys ran PRs, namely Raven Alcantara in 13.13 and Josue Marcelo in 13.15.

The 800m was a key swing event for the team. Arlet won the girls 800 comfortably but 2nd place was a battle all the way to the line. Daisy Nava held off YB’s top 800m runner, Evelyn Garibay, by only .02 taking 2nd place for James Lick in 2:54.11, a seasons best. Denisse Calixto and Analilia ran seasons bests of 3:06 and 3:13 respectively.

On the boys side, Nathan ran 2:16 to lead a sweep with the help of teammates Erik and Inteus. Mark ran a 10 second PR of 2:26. Osiris and Melvin Estrada both ran small PRs (2:29 and 2:33 respectively) as did Julian Delreal and Daniel Portillo (2:40 and 2:51). Osman ran the event for the very first time, opening up at 2:57.

The girls 300h was won by Angelica from YB, though Belen ran a seasons best of 57.62 for 2nd place. Kirsten also ran a huge PR of 59.50 in 3rd place. Yvette had  strong debut time of 1:04.50 as well. The race of the day however was in the boys 300h. In only his 2nd ever race over the distance, Cody ran 44.87, a mark which stands as a 5 second PR and the 5th best 300 hurdles time in school history. Jonathan had a strong seasons best for of 47.55 as well, within a second of his PR to take 2nd place in the event.

Valeria took 2nd place in the girls 200, running 31.66 for her debut in the event. With the strength of the girls throws unit, we made the decision to have Valeria spend most of her time running against Yerba Buena. As the lone scorer for the team in the 200, this decision paid off handily. Irene Nava ran a big PR in the event to the tune of a 33.87 clocking.

The best distance girls on the team saved their energy for the 4×400. Even so, Raquel Rodriguez managed 3rd place for the team in the event. On the boys side, Azael Zamora and Nathan took 1st and 2nd place for the team. Osiris had a very strong debut in the event, running 12:38, and is showing good potential as a runner in general.

With all of the field events and running events save for the 4×400 determined, the score was 62 James Lick 60 Yerba Buena on the girls side, meaning the 4×400 would determine the meet. The team of Belen, Denisse, Kirsten and Arlet combined to run 4:48, a seasons best and good enough for the win. On the boys side, the team of Misael, Nathan, Azael and Eirk also ran a seasons best to earn the win, a 3:50.90 result.

The field events went a long way towards sealing the meet for the Comets. Alejandra won the girls Shot Put in 30-5, with Charli Chircop 2nd in 30-2.50. This was a big PR for Charli, and also the first time she has broke the 30 foot barrier. It’s early in the season, but so far based on Athletic-Net results, the Comets are the first team in the entire BVAL with 3 girls over 30 feet in the Shot Put. Valeria clinched 3rd for the team in 29-11. That wasn’t the end of the day’s excellence for the throwers however. Mariah Santos shattered her PR, throwing 23-0 despite never having thrown above 20 feet before. The same went for Ruth Rodriguez who threw 20-11 from a previous best of 19-5. Adriana Marcelino managed a small PR of 19-5, and Kiely Leal earned a massive new PR of 18-7 as well. Sandra Naranjo got a 1 inch PR as well.

The boys side saw equally strong results. After inching towards his PR of 36-7 (set last season) Josh Garcia busted out with a throw of 38-5 to win the boys Shot Put. Daniel Medina’s best had stood at 35-9 for a long time before he threw 35-9.50 last week. Against Yerba Buena however, Daniel threw 37-9. These heaves make the PR of Alex Alonzo (36-0 beating his best of 35-8 set a week ago as well) seem pedestrian by comparison. Alex’s brother Rogelio three 32-7 for more than a 1 foot PR as well, as did Nathan Rios, with a best toss of 29-0.

The girls took 1-2 in discus with Charli winning with a  90-1 toss,and Alejandra 2nd in 85-8. YB was able to net 3rd place. On the boys side Daniel won the Discus in 106-8, with Alex 2nd in 101-4. Josh took 3rd place. Nathan R also managed a he PR in discus, throwing 80-1.

Lyndel Ventura and Elyse Elder managed a 1-2 finish in the girls long jump with seasons bests of 13-5 and 13-0 respectively. They took 2nd and 3rd in the triple jump with more seasons bests, going 27-3 and 26-6.5. Elyse capped off her day by matching her high jump Pr of 4-6, taking 3rd place in the girls high jump for the team.

Hadji lead the boy jumpers with a 3rd place finish in both long and triple jump. Hadji matched his seasons best of 18-3 in the long jump, and went a seasons best 37-7 in the triple. Ace managed a strong PR of 17-5 in the long jump. Anthony Soto Prd in both horizontal jumps, going 15-10.50 and 33-5. Jamie Vong, Jose Garcia and Juan Gutierrez all PRd in triple jump as well, as they continue to get there feet wet in the low 30s.

Ybs best jumper won the boys high jump, but Jonathan placed 2nd with a jump of 5-4. Ace matched Jonathan’s 5-4 for a new PR as well, and Juan went 5-2 again to match his PR for the 3rd meet in a row.

When all was said and done the final scores were:


JL: 76 YB: 51


JL: 67 YB: 60.

Both teams are 2-0 now, and the team is stronger for having survived the meet with a very competitive opponent. Now the team will look ahead to a meet against the Live Oak Acorns on March 22nd, before heading to Fremont High School for the always fun “Firebird Relays.”

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves