Varsity Girls Scrape Pair of Wins at ST Division Race 1

The 2019 James Lick cross country team had their first league meet of the season on Wednesday September 5th at Montgomery Hill. For the 5th consecutive year, JLXC is competing in the Santa Teresa (‘B’) division of the BVAL.

While every ST team was present, the Comets were specifically competing against Independence and Prospect. The first league meet being this early is unusual, and I think this contributed to the meet being a very rough performance for much of the team.

The frosh/soph boys fell to both Independence and Prospect to start the meet. Almost every member of the team was competing on the course for the first time however. Jay Austria lead the team in 23:03, but this is a far cry from his PR of 19:12. Freshmen Justin Nguyen and Navbir Kahlon had solid debuts of 24:22 and 24:28. Ronaldo Castillo and Huu Thai came in together as the 4-5 in 25:23 and 25:36. Carlos Nava was just behind Huu in 25:37. Omar Sanchez rounded out the group in 25:58.

While these times were not exceptional, our young Comets have some good examples to look up to, for example Brandon Cruz. When Brandon first ran the course as a sophomore, he stopped the clock in 23:41. Now a senior, Brandon finished in the top half of the varsity race despite not being within a minute of his PR as well. This is the example we will be trying to follow for our young runners.

The varsity girls team managed to defeat Independence and Prospect despite a very rough showing across the board. Mya Hammond ran a PR 24:02, finishing in the top 20 in her first varsity race. Lizbeth Espana had a strong first XC race, running 24:30 as the 3rd girl. Emely Lopez ran a PR of 24:43 as well. Ashley Preciado was 5th in 25:13, a very off race by her standards. Ashley’s PR is 22:09, and while it’s early in the season, last year she was able to start off at 23:31. It was a similar day for Yesenia Martinez, the 7th girl who ran 26:34 compared to a PR roughly 3 minutes faster. Alexa Rodriguez made her debut in between these two seniors, running 25:34.

Despite it being a very off day for the girls overall (like most of the team) they still managed a narrow win over Prospect due to the team’s depth. The team managed a 28-29 victory, and it was only possible because all 7 Comets finished before the Panthers 5th girl.  A decisive win against Independence made it a 2-0 start for the varsity girls team.

Mark Orpia spearheaded the varsity boys with a strong time of 16:44, placing 7th overall in the varsity race. This was the highest placing of Mark’s career and was a very strong start to the season, 30 seconds better than the 17:16 clocking he managed a year ago at ST #1. Jerricho Habon had  a decent race running 18:06. Brandon Cruz was next in 18:30. Both boys were about a minute off of their best times. Melvin Estrada and Nien Tran came across in 19:31 and 19:32, both over 2 minutes slower than their PRS. Omar Fimbres in 20:11 and Geovanny Campos in 20:17 rounded out the group. The varsity boys lost to both Independence and Prospect, starting the season 0-2.

The reserve boys race had a few bright spots. Rodolf Ocampo and Josh Merin lead the team 21:12 and 21:37. Josh’s time was a PR whereas Rodolf’s was well ahead of his early season times from a  year ago. Both boys should make a serious run at the 20 minute barrier, always a good benchmark. The same can be said of Hugo Marquez who ran 21:59. Luis Escamilla and Abraham Benitez ran 25:44 and 25:46 to finish together as well.

A year ago, the team’s strongest group was the JV girls. The team went 7-0 and placed 5th at BVAL finals, defeating half of the teams in the ‘A’ division. This year’s team figures to be even stronger.

Ruth Rodriguez lead the team in 24:39, close to her PR to start the season. Estefani Herrera was not far behind, running 25:05. Both girls are way ahead of last year’s first ST meet times, despite the very early start. Mariana Perez is likewise a minute up on her counterpart from last year, giving the team 3 JV girls under 26 minutes to start the season. Melanie Sanchez and Erika Camacho rounded out the scoring 5 with times in the 27 minute range.

Sisters Deisy and Marisol Carlos came in together in 32:56 and 33:12 in their first race for the team. Adriana Marcelino ended the Comets day at 37:04.

What made many of the performances so disappointing to myself and coach Raul, was the fact that so many members of the team performed great at the alumni race. Our team showed then that they were physically capable, and we will be greatly emphasizing consistency in mental preparation over the next few weeks with the aim of performing far better at ST division #2.

In the meanwhile, the team will look for a bounce back race at the Lowell Invitational on Saturday September 7th. Then team will get two weeks of pure training in before they race again at the De La Salle Invitational on Saturday September 21st.

Thanks for reading!

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Comets win Second Consecutive Girls Track Championship, Boys finish 2nd.

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The Comets Who Stuck Around for the final results after the meet was over

Day 2 of the 2017 WVD (West Valley division) finals took place on Friday May 5th 2017. The teams contested 4/15 events on the girls side, and 3/15 on the boys side two days earlier. The remaining events were contested on day 2, making it a day jam packed with meaningful competition.

The day

The meet began with the girls 4×100. The team of Lyndel Ventura, Susie Peterson, Silvia Amaya and Justine Austria ran 57.72 and succeeded in helping the Comets qualify for BVAL championships in the event for the 4th concessive year. The boys 4×100 made BVAL champs for the first time since I’ve been coaching. The team of Hadji Yono-Cruz, Cody Huoch, Misael Herrera and Ace Medina ran 46.88 despite poor handoffs to finish 4th.

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Coach Steve (Left) looks on as Justine Austria (Front) and Lyndel Ventura (Back) prepare for the 4×100

 

Field events were kicking off at the same time. The girls would go on to dominate the discus impressively. Despite the fact that they were throwing directly into the wind, Charli Chircop would win the discus in 103-5 a new PR, with Valeria Cortez 2nd in 103-4. Alejandra Ceron  threw a new PR of 95-3 for 3rd place to complete a 1-2-3 sweep of the event. This is the first 1-2-3 sweep of any event at WVD finals in school history for the Comets. Freshmen Mariah Santos also threw 71-4 for 7th place, giving the team a whopping 26 points in the discus alone, another school record for points in a single event at WVD finals. Adriana Marcelino also competed for the team, throwing 55-10.

Daniel Medina took 7th place in 35-10 for the boys Shot Put. This is Daniel’s first time scoring points at WVD finals. Roger Alonzo threw 34-1 as well for the team, just missing his PR.

The next running event on the track was the boys 1600. After an impressive victory over Overfelt’s Jesse Cruz in the 3200 on Wednesday, Jesse was the victor in the 1600 running 4:43 to win the race. Erik was 2nd in 4:46.81 and Azael Zamora was 4th in 4:48. Inteus Castro-Lopez and Mark Orpia also competed though neither boy PRd, Inteus just missed scoring by placing 9th overall.

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Jesse Cruz of Overfelt leading the 1600 with Erik Olsvold and Azael Zamora following 

Valeria Cortez was ranked #1 in the girls 100 hurdles fresh off a PR of 17.07 from Wednesday. She shattered that mark to run 16.75 and capture the WVD title, the 4th title of WVD finals for the team to that point. Her time was likely wind aided, but was nonetheless an impressive breakthrough. Susie Peterson and Kirsten Yutuc placed 6th and 7th to give the team 15 points in the event.  On the boys side, Cody Huoch ran 17.19 to take 3rd place in the 110 Hurdles. Jonathan Rodriguez ended his career with a PR of 18.52 for 7th place.

The boys 400 saw a huge upset win for the Comets. Gustavo Aguilera was ranked 4th entering the event, but after his mistake in the 300 hurdles likely costing him a shot at a WVD title there, he put all of his efforts into winning a title in his secondary event. Gustavo pulled it off, storming out of the blocks into the lead early on in the race, and holding off challengers down the final 100 meters to run a PR of 54.70 for the victory on the windy day. Misael Herrera placed 6th in 56.63. This put the Comets at 5 total WVD titles. Ace Medina matched his 100m time from trials in 11.80, taking 6th place for the team.

The girls 800 was next, and Arlet Miranda stormed out from the gun and won a decisive victory in a 2:34 solo run, 2nd place ran 2:40. This was a nice victory for Arlet after battling injuries throughout the season, a well deserved first WVD title for Arlet. Daisy Nava ran a seasons best 2:47 for 7th place and Belen Sanchez a PR of 2:50 for 8th place. Justine also competed for the team in the event running 2:58.

Valeria ran a 52.77 in the 300 hurdles for 3rd place in the event, ending her WVD finals with a grand total of 29 points to lead the team. A massive total, matching Ruth Lebeau’s 2008 WVD performance for the highest point total at WVD finals in school history. Ruth is pretty clearly the greatest track athlete in school history on the girls side, but Valeria is slowly building a pretty good case herself. Kirsten Yutuc ran a big PR in the race, running 54. 93 for 5th place, a nearly 2 second PR. Susie Peterson took 8th to score once again for the team.

Cody blew the field away to win the WVD title in 44.99. His final hurdle clearance was very poor and likely cost him a PR, but he was so far ahead that the title was his regardless. Jonathan ran 47.89 for 5th place in the event as well, a 14 point haul for the team in the event. Cody’s victory gave the team their 7th WVD title for the 2017 season, 4 on the girls side and 3 on the boys side, a great improvement over the 1 title a year ago, and the pre-season goal of 5 titles.

Ace ran 24.46, well off of what he ran on Wednesday but still secured 5th place for the team in the 200. The boys sprint team had a greatly improved performance over last year. In 2016, the sprint team managed only 8 points between the 3 sprint events. This year they knocked down 20 points despite the loss of Jose Limon to start the season. Next year’s team is poised to be a force. This shows the progress the team has made under Coach Steve’s sprint training.

The field events continued with a very strong day for the Comets in the jumps. Ace and Jonathan both had somewhat disappointing days in the high jump, only clearing 5-3.50. They took 7th and 8th, becoming the first Comets to score points at WVD finals in the boys high jump in several years. Juan Gutierrez competed as well.

In the girls long jump, Lyndel Ventura took 2nd overall with a huge PR of 15-3. Yaliza Cortez took 6th in 13-2.5 narrowly missing her PR. Kirsten scored as well, taking 7th in 12-11 though she scratched on a much bigger jump. Elyse Elder competed as well.

The boys triple jump was one of the biggest performances for the team as well. Cody jumped a 2 foot PR of 39-4 to take 2nd place. Freshmen Jamie Vong scored the first points of his JL career going 37-6.5 for more than a 2 foot PR and 6th place. Hadji Yono-Cruz jumped 36-10 for 8th place to give the team 12 points in the boys triple jump, the most points for the team in the event in over a decade.

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Jamie Vong in the final phase of his Triple Jump. Jamie placed 6th by PRing by more than 2 feet. 

The girls 3200 was one of the final events on the track. Arlet ran strong, placing 2nd in 13:19, a seasons best despite a not all-out effort. Denisse Calixto just missed scoring in 15:41, a 20 second PR for Denisse.

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Girls 4×400 team Left to right: Justine Austria, Daisy Nava, Belen Sanchez, Arlet Miranda 

The girls 4×400 was a struggle for the team to qualify for BVAL championships. Justine, Daisy, and Belen all ran admirable 400 legs, but the team handed the baton to Arlet (fresh off of her 3200) in 5th place behind 4th place by more than 2 seconds. Arlet was able to run down 4th place however, sending the 4×400 team to BVAL champs for the 3rd consecutive year.

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Boys 4×400 team left to right: Misael Herrera, Erik Olsvold, Nathan Bernardo, Gustavo Aguilera

 

The boys 4×400 went in aiming for the win even though they were ranked 4th. Misael started the team off in 5th place, running a 57 second leg. Gustavo worked the team up into 3rd place on his leg, splitting a 55 second leg. Nathan Bernardo moved the team into 2nd place on the 3rd leg, running a high 54 split, and Erik held that position with another 55 split on the anchor leg.

When all was said and done, the team scores for the WVD finals were as follows:

Boys

  1. Independence 139
  2. James Lick 127.5
  3. Overfelt 96
  4. Del Mar 55
  5. Gunderson 51
  6. Live Oak 47
  7. Yerba Buena 43.5
  8. San Jose 17

Girls 

  1. James Lick 141
  2. Yerba Buena 107
  3. San Jose 100
  4. Del Mar 71
  5. Overfelt 49
  6. Independence 42
  7. Live Oak 40
  8. Gunderson 19

The final scores mean that the girls clinch their 2nd consecutive WVD title, the 2nd in school history, and the boys clinch 2nd place for the season. While the boys were unable to win the WVD title, James Lick was by far the best combined team in the division all season.

Their 13-1 record beats both Del Mar and Independence who had combined records of 10-4.  Between both boys and girls divisions, The Comets scored a total of 268.5 points. No other team scored above 200 total points.

The team’s top point scorers were:

  1. Valeria Cortez: 29 points
  2. Arlet Miranda: 27.25 points
  3. Erik Olsvold: 27.25 points
  4. Cody Huoch: 25.25 points
  5. Alejandra Ceron: 16 points
  6. Charli Chircop: 14 points
  7. Kirsten Yutuc: 13 points
  8. Lyndel Ventura 12.25 points
  9. Azael Zamora: 12 points
  10. Gustavo Aguilera 11.25

A very encouraging point about the list is the fact that the team’s top 9 point scorers are all not seniors. For the strength of the combined team, and the fact that so many of our athletes should be back next year, we will be making the case at the BVAL league meetings that we should move up to the Santa Teresa Division.

We would have loved to have come away with a title on the boys side, but the progress I think it is time for us to test ourselves against a new level of competition.

Over the past four years, our point totals at Division Finals have skyrocketed.

2014:    Boys: 35 points (6th)    Girls: 28 points (8th)   Combined: 63 points (8th)

2015: Boys: 51 points (5th)      Girls: 91 points  (3rd)   Combined: 142 points (4th)

2016: Boys: 78 points (4th)      Girls: 127 points (1st)  Combined: 205 points (2nd)

2017: Boys: 127.5 points (2nd)  Girls: 141 points (1st)  Combined: 268.5 points (1st)

This year also is the first time that more than 20 Comets will advance to BVAL championships, with a grand total of 27 total BVAL qualifications, another school record.

If the BVAl decides we should remain in the ‘C’ division we will attempt to succeed in winning the title on both sides next year, but my perspective is that our growth as a team is more important than titles, and the ‘B’ division will push us to grow rapidly if we hope to compete at that level.

Overall it was a very good season for the team. The team will head to BVAL championships next Thursday (May 11th) at Westmont HS, where they will hope to have multiple athletes qualify for CCS trials.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

West Valley Division Finals Preview: Which Comets Can win Titles?

The regular season is over, and every track team in the CCS is rocketing towards their league championships. Our biggest Competitive goal as a team was to try to go a combined 14-0, and to win both West Valley division titles as a result. While division finals are still ahead, dual meets are weighted more heavily than finals in our league, making it unlikely we will win the boys title. The girls need only finish 2nd at WV finals next week to clinch their 2nd consecutive championship. The boys would not only need to finish 1st, but they would need Independence to finish 3rd or lower to win the title.

We are overall happy with the way that our boys competed this season however. Ending the WV season with a 1st place finish at West Valley Division finals would mean alot to the team on several counts. James Lick has been in the West Valley Division since 1997. In the 20 seasons since, at West Valley finals, the boys finished 1st in 2000, and the girls finished in 1st last year. Never have the Comets won the WV meet on both sides simultaneously. Pulling this feet off on the boys side would also be a small form of compensation for the loss against Indy earlier in the season.

Based on the rankings of the BVAL this season, this is how WV finals would shake out in terms of team scores if every athlete matches their season best:

Girls 

 

WVD Finals Simulation (Girls) 

Event Del Mar Gunderson Independence James Lick Live Oak Overfelt San Jose Yerba Buena Points Scored
4×100

6

2

5

1

8

3

4

10

39

1600

3

0

3

13

14

3

0

4

39

100 hurdles

0

0

3

14

0

11

0

11

39

400

9

0

1

0

4

0

23

2

39

100

8

0

2

0

8

0

17

4

39

800

0

0

0

12

5

4

15

3

39

300h

0

0

5

9

0

10

5

10

39

200

3

0

0

0

0

9

21

6

39

3200

0

0

3

10

16

1

0

9

39

4×400

6

1

4

5

8

3

10

2

39

High Jump

4

0

3

8

2

7

0

15

39

Long Jump

4

0

6

3

8

12

0

6

39

Triple Jump

0

0

3

10

13

3

0

10

39

Shot

6

0

3

23

0

6

0

1

39

Disc

13

0

2

24

0

0

0

0

39

 DM  G  IND  JL  LO  OV  SJ  YB

62

3

43

132

86

72

95

93

585

0

Boys 

WVD Finals Simulation (Boys) 

Event Del Mar Gunderson Independence James Lick Live Oak Overfelt San Jose Yerba Buena Points Scored
4×100

4

8

10

6

1

5

2

3

39

1600

9

0

3

24

0

3

0

0

39

110h

3

0

13

8

10

0

0

5

39

400

6

18

5

7

0

3

0

0

39

100

0

11

13

4

0

5

6

0

39

800

6

3

2

23

4

1

0

0

39

300h

2

0

14

14

5

0

0

4

39

200

0

12

12

1

0

8

6

0

39

3200

9

0

1

19

0

10

0

0

39

4×400

8

10

5

6

3

2

1

4

39

High Jump

12

0

8

9

0

4

0

6

39

Long Jump

0

0

25

2

0

0

0

12

39

Triple Jump

0

0

11

11

0

3

0

14

39

Shot

0

6

14

9

10

0

0

0

39

Disc

1

0

16

6

10

6

0

0

39

 DM  G  IND  JL  LO  OV  SJ  YB

60

68

152

149

43

50

15

48

585

0

0

The simulations do not take into account exactly what events athletes will do as the program is not yet completed, but it nonetheless provides a solid idea of what the meet may look like. The simulation has the girls team winning comfortably, lead on by the monumental 47 point performance by the lady throwers. They will in all likelihood come very close to scoring 50 points between the two trowing events at finals, and a 1-2-3 sweep in the discus is very achievable for the team.

The boys simulation indicates a two-team battle, with Independence at 152 points, and the Comets at 149. The meet should be a close battle on many fronts. On both sides, the Comets will look to do the best they can, and do what they’ve done well in all season.

The team finished 13-1, the best combined record on record for the team. A 7 point loss to Indy was a crushing blow to the team, but the season should be measured as a success for the dramatic improvement of the boys team.

There were 4 events on the boys side, and 2 events on the girls side, that the Comets won at every dual meet this season. That was not the case in any event last season. The boys never lost in the 300 hurdles, or in any of the 3 distance events. The girls never lost in either throwing event. In fact, opposing teams scored only 1 point against the Comets all season in the girls discus.

Last year, despite a first place finish on the girls side at WV finals, the team had only one individual champion, Alejandra Ceron in the girls discus. The team is aiming for at least 5 individual titles this season, and going undefeated in these 6 events sets the team up toa accomplish the goal.

The teams strongest event groups in order, as measured by percentage of available dual meet points are as follows.

  1. Girls Throws 96%
  2. Boys Distance 90%
  3. Boys Hurdles 84%
  4. Girls Hurdles 79%
  5. Boys Throws 71%
  6. Girls Jumps 66%
  7. Girls Distance 60%
  8. Boys Jumps 55%
  9. Boys Relays 50%
  10. Boys Sprints 48%
  11. Girls Relays 35%
  12. Girls Sprints 32%

The girls team went 7-0 in large part thanks to the consistent dominance of the girl throwers. The girls sprint team was a weakness for the squad this year. Grades hit the team hard, with the two top sprinters for the team being lost early. This coupled with a smaller girls team than in 2016, made the repeat undefeated season a huge accomplishment in it of itself.  The team also saw a number of improvements in different areas competitively.

Last year, the girls throwers were very strong, scoring 86% of dual meet points. That number jumped to 96% an extremely difficult number to hit in any division. The boys distance team had a dominant season as well, after taking 74% of points last year, they jumped to 90% this year. The most improved group was the boys throwers, who went fro 42% last season, to 71% this year. Boys sprints also saw a 10% jump despite the loss of top sprinter Jose Limon to start the season. Next year the boys sprint team should leap forward with a healthy Jose.

Another measure of team success is the individual point scorers list. The school has no record of dual meet points from the past. I have however kept track of points scored in the 4 years I’ve been coaching. The highest point total any Comet in those 4 years has accumulated, was the 114 points scored by Karan Singh in 2015. Valeria Cortez is poised to better that mark. Maria Mendoza, Arlet Miranda and Andrea Ortiz have all succeeded in scoring 100 points in a single season, but Valeria is the first Comet on record to score 100 points before West valley finals. She currently sits at 105 points, and is ranked to place 1st in discus, 2nd in Shot Put and the 100h, as well as 3rd in the 300 hurdles. That performance would give her a point total of 137 points, a mark which would be difficult to better.

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Ace Medina knocking the high jump bar down

 

Potential champs 

Girls Shot/Disc 

The team should be able to capture individual tiles in both girls throwing events. Alejandra Ceron is the favorite in the girls Shot Put. Her PR of 35-8.75 is more than 2 feet ahead of the #2 ranked girl. That girl happens to be Valeria Cortez. Valeria is ranked #1 in the discus throw at 106-2. Her nearest competitor is teammate Charli Chircop at 103-2. Alejandra is ranked 3rd at 93-5. Whatever Comet has the better day should capture the girls discus title.  

Girls 800 

Arlet Miranda narrowly missed winning the 800 last year as a freshmen. Arlet was battling neck and neck to the finish line with Lydia Ma of Independence before falling with 10 meters left n the race when her spike caught in the track. Arlet struggled with injury this season, but recent performances indicate she is ready to make a run at her PR, and a title in the event. Her primary competition figures to be San Jose’s best 800m runner Chloe, Roth. She beat Arlet on the line at the Firebird Relays in 2:35, a strong time. Chloe is a strong 400m runner, and Arlet will look to take her speed out of the equation by making the race a test of endurance.

Girls 100h

Valeria is currently ranked 1st in the WVD in the 100 hurdles. She recently ran a PR of 17.40, into the and headwind of our home track. Middle school teammate Chrizna Milanes of Overfelt has a better PR (16.80) but struggles with inconsistency. A perfect race by Valeria could see her upsetting the reigning champ on her home track.

Boys 300 hurdles 

Gustavo Aguilera and Cody Huoch were ranked 1 and 2 in the division for the 300 hurdles until very recently. Julio Santillan of Independence ran 44.25 at the CCS top 8 meet to take over the WV lead. When the 3 hurdlers went head to head in our dual meet, the race was thrilling. Cody won in 44.75, with Gustavo second in 44.76 and Julio 3rd in 44.79. The rematch at finals should be equally thrilling. The fact that the team didn’t lose this event once in dual meets will mean little if the Comets fail to come away with the title in the event. We think both boys are ready to run under 44 seconds in the event, though Julio may well be as well. It should be a very exciting race.

Boys 800 

This event is another undefeated one for the team this season. Nathan Bernardo has run 2:07 and Erik Olsvold has run 2:08 for the two fastest times in the division so far. There are threats in runners like Chris Solorzano from Del Mar who has run 2:08 as well, but I think both Nathan and Erik are ready to go 1-2 in the event, with some PRS as well.

Boys 1600 

Azael Zamora has the WVD leading time at 4:40.90. Erik is right behind him at 4:41.46 and Nathan is 3rd at 4:47. Chris from Del Mar, and Jesse Cruz from Overfelt should help make things interesting for the Comets, but I think Erik and Azael are both ready to go under 4:40 and I’m not sure any other boy in the division is. Azael should be very motivated having taken 2nd at least years 1600 final by only .01.

Boys 3200 

Erik and Azael are ranked 1st and 2nd though the wildcard in the race is Jesse from Overfelt. Last year, Jesse beat all Comets and ran the best WVD time of the season at BVAL champs, clocking 10:13. Jesse only began racing recently due to grade issues earlier in the season, but should figure to be the teams biggest challenge to winning the 3200 title.

Boys 4×400

At the beginning of the season, we were actively aiming for a title in this event as well. The loss of Jose Limon put a big hit on the teams title hopes, but an outside shot remains. Gunderson has two boys at 52 seconds in the open 400, no one else has a boy under 55. One team does have 3 boys at 55 seconds however and that is James Lick. Erik, Nathan and Gustavo have all run 55 seconds for the open 400. Misael Herrera has brought his PR down to 56.48. In the team can split their laps in the high 54-low 55 range, they should have a very good chance at taking down Gunderson (and hopefully cracking the 3:40 barrier).

The team will be aiming to score as many points, set as many PRs and send as many athletes to BVAL championships as possible.

The meet begins on Wednesday March 3rd at Overfelt with trials of all lane events. The day will also see finals of the girl High Jump, girls Triple Jump, girls Shot Put, Boys Discus, Boys Long Jump, Boys 3200 and Girls 1600. All other finals will take place on Friday.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for recaps of WVD finals!

-Benny Reeves

 

Comets Split Dual with Independence

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Adrian DeLaRosa gets into the blocks to begin the 4×100 relay. 

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.

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Cody Huoch, Julio Santillan and Gustavo Aguilera clear the final hurdle of the 300 hurdles in an intense race to the line. 1st and 3rd were separated by .05. (Youtube video below)

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).

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

Lady Comets Win First Championship in School History, Boys Clinch 3rd

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Andrea Ortiz (center) on her way to 2nd place in the girls 100h Valeria Cortez (right) one her way to 4th. 

The James Lick Comets had Day 2 of the West Valley Division Finals at Overfelt High School on May 6th. This final day was the last determining factor for the standings of the WVAL for the 2016 season. The girls only needed a 2nd place finish to clinch their title after finishing the season 7-0, but the team wanted to end their season with the first #1 finish at finals in school history.

After Wednesday’s events, the girls were in 2nd pace to Live Oak, 31 points to 30. The boys were in 5th with 10 points with favorite Independence running away with the lead at 35 points.

The meet began with the field events. The team got off to a hot start with the team’s strongest event, the girls discus. Alejandra Ceron threw 90-10 to win the west valley league title in the event. Teammate Valeria Cortez was 2nd at 88-4. This is the first time on record where lady comets have finished 1st and 2nd in the sam event at finals. Alejandra has come along way from last year as a freshmen when she threw 66 feet at finals. Her 2nd place finish in Shot Put nets her 18 points for the team, a huge performance and a nearly perfect one competitively. Leysmi Saldana had a huge PR of 72-8 to finish 7th and add 2 points for the team. Valerie Flores also threw a PR of 56-10 to end her season.

The girls long Jump also netted 9 points for the team, with Lyndel Ventura and Elyse Elder taking 4th and 5th with Lyndel advancing to BVAL championships next week. Crystal Nguyen competed as well, though none of the girls managed PRs. On the boys side field events will be the primary focus of improvement for next year. No boy managed to clear 5-0 in high jump. Hadji Yono-Cruz managed 1 point in boys triple jump and Josh Garcia got 2 for the team in boys Shot Put. Daniel Medina and Osman Lopez also competed.

The running events kicked off the the 4×100 relays. The girls team of Lyndel Ventura, Maria Mendoza, Karen Montes and Andrea Ortiz ran a seasons best of 54.14 to place 2nd, their highest finish in yeas and grabbed 8 points for the team in the process. The Boys team of Hadji, Jesse Chircop, Adrian DeLaRosa and Jose Limon ran 47.17 to place 5th and end their season with 4 points at finals.

The boys 1600 was next and it demonstrated the dramatic improvement of the distance team over the past few seasons. 2 Years ago, the team failed to score a single point between the 3 distance events. This year, the team took 15 points in just the 1600. The race was a brutal tactical fair. Two runners fell during the race as the pace was not initially fast and runners were bunched up as a result. Even so, the Comets navigated the slow pace and clustered field to place well. Azael Zamora missed winning the race by .01 second, running 4:49.02 compared to the 4:49.01 of winner Alexsis Mendez of Overfelt. This is outstanding when one considers that Azael is only a sophomore in his first season of Track, who only 2 months ago had never ran faster than 5:20 for a mile. Nathan Bernardo placed 3rd in 4:49.51 a big improvement on his 7th place finish a year ago. Hector Ramirez placed 8th in 4:55 despite losing a show on the 2nd lap of the race. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran a PR pf 5:03.43 as well.

The girls 100 hurdles had 3 scorers for the team. Andrea ran 17.62 to finish 2nd place and Valeria placed 4th in 18.13, both athletes advance to BVAl championships. Susie Peterson placed 6th in 20.00, meaning the team took 16 points in the event! The boys 110h had Hadji narrowly miss his PR of 18.70 to place 3rd.Jonathan Rodriguez placed 8th in 19.69.

The girls 400 had Maria Mendoza placing 3rd for the team, advancing to BVAL championships and gaining the team 6 points. The boys event was similar, with Jose placing 4th for the team in a PR of 55.28, advancing to BVAL champs as a freshmen. The team fell behind as the 100m races were contested with no Comets, but the 800 proved to be the chance the Comets needed to make up the losses.

Arlet Miranda took the lead and pushed the pace from the gun of the 800. She lead the race for 700 meters before being passed by rival Lydia Ma of independence. Arlet and Lydia battled down the home straight and Arlet pulled into the lead again with only 10 meters left before her spike caught in the track and she fell. Lydia finished in 2:28, meaning Arlet likely would have broken 2:30 for the first time as well. As it was, Arlet got to her feet and scurried across the line for 2nd place. Daisy Nava kicked home in 4th place with a new PR of 2:41.58. Denise Calixto ran 2:59.71 to PR as did Analilia Regla running 3:11.13.

The boys 800 saw the strength of the Comet youth. Erik Olsvold ran bravely, taking 3rd place in 2:08.18 less than a second behind the winner. This was a 7 second PR for Erik, and a fantastic freshmen time. Nathan was close behind in 2:08.39 for a New PR and 4th place after the 1600. Vincent Giglio ran a 10 second PR of 2:12.70 to place 7th.

The girls 300 hurdles had 3 scorers as well. Andrea placed 2nd in 50.84 despite battling knee problems. Belen Sanchez and Valeria placed 6th and 7th to round out the team’s hurdle scoring. Gustavo Aguilera placed 4th in the boys 300h with a time of 46.24 to advance to BVAL champs for the first time in his career. Jonathan was 5th in 47.30.

The girls 200 had no JL athletes, while Jose placed 5th in the boys 200. The girls 3200 had Arlet coasting to a 3rd place finish in 13:30, though the absence of Elizabeth Guevara due to a family trip was unfortunate as she likely would have placed highly and advanced to BVAL championships. The girls 4×400 team of Maria, Karen, Andrea and Arlet ran a huge seasons best of 4:33.15 to place 3rd. The boys also placed 3rd with the team of Misael Herrera, Gustavo, Azael and Nathan running a seasons best of 3:46.63.

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Karen Montes, Arlet Miranda, Maria Mendoza and Andrea Ortiz after their 3rd place 4×400 Finish.

 

When all was said and done, the final scores were as follows:

Girls:

  1. James Lick 127 Points
  2. Live Oak 109 Points
  3. Gunderson 80 Points
  4. Independence 78.5 Points
  5. Yerba Buena 75 Points
  6. Overfelt 66 Points
  7. Del mar 25 Points
  8. San Jose 14.5 Points

Boys:

  1. Independence 160 Points
  2. Yerba Buena 119 Points
  3. Live Oak 92 Points
  4. James Lick 76 Points
  5. Overfelt 43 Points
  6. Gunderson 34 Points
  7. Del Mar 30 Points
  8. San Jose 12 Points

Alejandra was the only individual champion, but the team was the leader in points in several event groups. Girls throws netted 34 Points, an average of 17 points per event. This tied with Independence boys jumps total 51 (17 an event on average) for the most dominant event group for any team. The girls were also the leader in points for the hurdles event group, and the distance group. On the boys side, the Comets lead in distance points as well, with exactly half of the team’s total points coming from the 3 distance events. The boys scored 38 Points in boys distance to be the highest scoring of all JL event groups, and that ‘s with only 2/38 points scored by a senior.

Program building is about progress over every season, and for as great a season as this was, the team should be better next year.

The team’s leading Point Scorers were:

  1. Arlet 23.50                        1. Nathan 17.50
  2. Valeria 21                          2. Jose 10
  3. Andrea 19.50                   3. Erik 10
  4. Alejandra 18                    4. Azael 9.50
  5. Maria 9.50                       5. Hadji 9

Among the group only Andrea is a senior, and in fact half of the teams leading scorers were freshmen, setting the stage for very exiting upcoming seasons.

The James Lick Track Team has succeeded in dramatically changing their fortunes this season. They demonstrate to the other sports of JL, that despite the financial limitations and small student body of James Lick, it is possible to blossom even when no one expects you to. 2016 Has been a very successful season for the team, and the rebirth of JLTF has only just begun.

The team will take a group of 16 athletes to BVAL Championships at Silver Creek next Thursday. Only a handful of athletes qualified for this meet 2 years ago, now the number of qualifiers from JL is larger than the total number of athletes on the teams of 2008-2013.

Congrats to the ladies on their historic victory and great job to both sides for working to better the James Lick name. Thank you for reading and stay tuned fro more Comet news.

 

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Azael Zamora, Gustavo Aguilera, Nathan Bernardo and Misael Herrera after their 3rd place 4×400 finish.