I can say on behalf of the team, that our defeat against Pioneer on Thursday March 21st was discouraging. We competed well and we knew going in that Pioneer was a good team. We were not prepared for the frankly crushing loss that we suffered, particularly on the boys side.
With that in the rear view mirror, 20+ Comet athletes took to De Anza College on Saturday March 23rd, focusing on improving their marks against good competition on excellent facilities. The De Anza Invitational was exactly the bounce back the Comets were looking for.
The meet began with the boys 4×100. In my most recent post, I discussed my excitement that the team had already run a low 46 second 4×100, when the team took until May to run that fast a year ago (and the 2019 team was already the 2nd best Comet relay team of the decade behind the 2018 crew). With that in mind, the teams goal was to break 46 seconds at the De Anza Invite, and seeing as the team was ranked 3rd in the meet, to hopefully place 3rd or higher and earn a medal.
The team came through in spades. Raven Alcantara, Josh Merin, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos combined to run 45.72 to win the De Anza invite in the event! The time was the 2nd best 4×100 time by James Lick in the last 10 years (last year at BVAL champs we went 45.50) and it’s the first time in many many years that James Lick won an invitational 4×100, albeit one that was fairly low-key.
At the same time, the Comets were dominating a very thin Pole Vault field. Rodolf Ocampo and Mark Orpia (who is dealing with injury preventing him from running) tied for the meet win at 9-6. This matched Rodolf’s PR, and it was Mark’s first time going 9-6. Adrian DeLaRosa placed 4th by matching his PR of 8-0.
Valeria Cortez won the next individual medal on the day with a 3rd place throw in Shot Put of 30-11. Adriana Marcelino also competed, throwing 19-10. Later in the girls discus, Valeria would placed 2nd with a toss of 103-2. Adriana threw 54-10 and Arlet Miranda, in a rare appearance in the girls discus, threw 49-0.
In other field event news, Josh cleared 5-2 in high jump for the first time, an achievement he’d been working towards all season. Yesenia Martinez went 4-2 in the girls edition of the event. Geo went 18-8 in boys long jump, rounding out the field events on a day where most of the team focused on their running events.
In the girls 1600, Jessica Cervantes and Ashley Preciado both ran big seasons bests of 6:34 and 6:43 respectively. Valerie earned her 3rd medal of the day with another 3rd place finish, with a time of 17.33 in the 100 hurdles. Yesenia ran 19.46. Rodolf ran a new PR of 17.11 in the boys hurdles to finish in 3rd, albeit with the benefit of a strong tailwind.
The Comets sent two of their distance boys into the 400 in search of PRS. Branon Cruz’ PR entering the race was 1:02 and Jerricho Habon’s was 59.20. Both boys rarely run the 400 since they focus on distance, and hadn’t run an open 400 since last year when they were sophomores. Both boys capitalized on the chance running massive PRs.
Jerricho lowered his time all the way down to 55.28, the best time by a Comet this season and tied for the 3rd best time any Comet has run since I’ve been coaching. Brandon lowered his PR to 58.02 as well.
Finally came the 100 meter dash, arguably the highlight of the meet for the Comets. Geo ran 11.95, the 2nd best time of his career. A heat later, Sal and Rodolf crushed their PRS, though the wind was a 2.4 meters per second, slightly over the “wind legal” standard of 2.0. That being said, the wind had only a little to do with Sal lowering his 100m best from 12.41 to 11.86 and Rodolf lowering his from 12.54 to 12.06. Misael also lowered his seasons best from 12.74 to 12.55. These performances were very affirming to me personally since this is my first time directly training the sprint crew since 2015.
On the girls side, Jessica lowered her PR to 14.87 while Arlet lowered hers to 15.09. Arlet has been dealing with stomach pain that held her out of her usual distance events at this meet. Yesenia also ran a seasons best 15.64 in the event.
The girls 800 saw several more PRS. Erika Camacho lead the Comets, running 2:57 to break the 3 minute barrier for the first time. Lizbeth Espana narrowly missed doing the same, running 3:00.64, a PR by 9 seconds. Estefani Herrera ran a huge PR, taking her PR from 3:21 to 3:11.
After a little rest came the 200s. Many of the distance girls participated. Jessica lowered her PR from 34.68 to 33.48. Erika lowered her PR from 37 seconds to 35. Estefani ran a 35 second clocking in her first try at the event.
On the boys side, Sal lead the group again with a huge PR. Sal stopped the clock at 24.26, his first time under 25 seconds. This was with a big aiding wind of 3.1m/s. Still a big PR. In the same heat, Jerricho lowered his PR to 25.93, breaking 26 for the first time.
Raven ran a PR of 24.81, but he continues to be very bad at the 200 considering his 100m PR is 11.72. Josh made a very solid 200m debut, running 24.89. Somehow Josh managed to run the 800 before the 200 despite being a sprinter/jumper.
The final open running event of the day was the 3200. Mya Hammond and Jessica ran together to both achieve PRs of 15:06 and 15:07 respectively. On the boys side, Brandon slugged out an 11:40 despite being fatigued.
The final event of the day was the 4×400, and the team was eager to go out with a bang. Misael, Sal, Josh and Jerricho combined to run 3:45.44 to finish 3rd place. Like with the 4×100, this is the best March relay time for a James Lick team that I have on record since the team of 2000 ran a 3:35 at the K-bell Invitational.
The team will continue to chase after the best teams of James Lick history, and we feel we are inching closer every day.
The team will take on Prospect next Thursday with renewed confidence. Then the team will head to arguably our favorite invite of each season, the Firebird Relays at Fremont High School.
Thanks for reading!