Comets Shake Off Rust at De La Salle Invitational

After a 2 week hiatus from any racing, the James Lick Comets began their busiest stretch of the season by competing at Newhall Park in Concord, in the hyper competitive De La Salle Invitational. This was the 9th time in school history that James Lick competed at this invitational, the first time being 2005. With less than 10 years on the course, every year the team improves the school’s all-time list on the course, an exciting prospect for many of our runners. The varsity runners contested the 3 mile course, while the JV and frosh/soph runners ran the 2 mile course.

The meet began with the varsity girls race. Jessica Cervantes lead the Comets with a strong time of 22:39, the 6th best time in school history. The Comets were without #2 runner Mya Hammond, but the other girls picked up the slack by running as a pack. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez came in together at 24:37. Mariana Perez ran 24:51 and Ashley Preciado 24:54. Yesenia Martinez ran 26:49 to round out the team. The times from Lizbeth- Ashley are actually quite encouraging. Over the years I have several examples of lady Comets who ran over 25 minutes at De La Salle, who would go on to run under 23 minutes at Crystal Springs for BVAL finals, a solid middle of the pack time. Despite Mya’s absence, the team ran the 2nd best team time on the course in school history, missing the mark of the 2014 squad by only 20 seconds.

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Left to Right: Emely Lopez, Ashley Preciado, Yesenia Martinez, Mariana Perez, Lizbeth Espana and Jessica Cervantes

 

The varsity boys race was next. Top runner Mark Orpia is still battling injury and did not run.  Nien Tran lead the Comets with a solid time of 18:33, the fastest time Nien has ever run for a 3 mile race by over 40 seconds. The last time we ran at De La Salle, Nien was a freshmen, who ran 7:12 pace for the 2 mile version of the course. The 6:11 pace for 3 miles he was able to produce as a senior is the result of 4 years of hard work.

The same can be said about Jerricho Habon who finished in 18:54. He ran only 7:06 pace for the 2 mile as a freshmen and just produced his first sub-19 3 mile clocking at De La Salle. Brandon Cruz was next in 18:55, giving the Comets 3 boys under 19 at De La Salle for just the 2nd time in the 9 years we’ve race the course.

Without Melvin Estrada or Mark present, Omar Fimbres was the 4th boy in 19:51. Hugo Marquez stepped up to give the team a 5th varsity boy, running 22:27. The varsity boys beat 7 teams despite missing some key players, a solid performance as they look ahead to more races to come.

The next race saw the JV and frosh soph girls competing on the 2 mile course. Daisy Flores spearheaded the group with a time of 15:52, just the 3rd girl in school history to run under 16 minutes for the course. This was the single race with the most additions to the all time list for James Lick, since our JV girls have never been stronger than they are right now. Ruth Rodriguez was next in 16:26, the 6th best time in school history. Estefani Herrera claimed the 8 spot in 17:17. Junior Keyla Sifuentes, in her first race for the team impressed by running 17:20, good for #10 on the all time list. Melanny Sanchez and Erika Camacho ran 18:02 and 18:10 for spots 16 and 17, and Kaylena Gil ran 18:32 for the 19th spot on the list. Adriana Marcelino ran 23:18 to round out the girls day with her best performance of the season so far.

This squad managed a new team course record by over 5 minutes, stopping the clock at 84:59.

The next race up was the frosh/soph boys. Justin Nguyen and Ronaldo Castillo came in together at 14:44 and 14:45, solid performances for the duo who will look to crack the 7 minute pace barrier by the end of the season. Omar Sanchez squeezed under 15 minutes with a time of 14:59. Omar continues to be one of our most rapidly improving athletes. A month ago at our north rim trial he ran 9:56 pace for the difficult 3 mile course. The De La Salle Course may be shorter and less challenging but 7:29 pace is a dramatic improvement anyway you slice it.  Navbir Kahlon was next in 15:12, the 7:36 pace being the best of his career so far. Carlos Nava (16:17) Huu Thai (16:45) and Jason Garcia (17:02) rounded out the group.

The final race of the day was the JV boys over the 2 mile course. Josh Merin lead the group in 14:40, his best performance of the season so far. Abraham Benitez was the next boy across in 15:00 even. Rodolf Ocamp and Luis Escamilla came in at 15:35 and 15:52. This was the 2nd straight race under 8 minute pace for Luis.

The Comets have their 2nd league meet of the season on Thursday September 26th against Branham. Branham has been by far the toughest boys team in the division over the last 2 seasons, and the Comets  will be mostly focused on achieving PRS after a rough showing at our first league meet this season.

Then the team will take to the Scott Bauhs Invitational in Pleasanton for the first time in school history on Saturday September 28th.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

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With Division Finals Looming, Comets show up big time at Bearcat Invitational: Varsity Girls Place 4th out of 50 Teams

The Comets took to San Mateo High School for the 2019 edition of the Bearcat Invitational on Saturday April 14th. This has been one of my personal favorite invitationals over the past 6 years. Usually it comes after a hard week of spring break training, which results in big PRS for our competing athletes. This year, spring break is yet to come, but with division finals next Thursday and Saturday, this would be the final meet of the year for many of the teams athletes, and a final tuneup for our Comets competing at finals.

The meet began with the boys 4×100. Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Jordan Laguna combined to run 45.79 for 6th place overall, the 2nd best time the Comets have run this season.

Valeria Cortez took 3rd place overall with a 17.44 in the 100 hurdles. This is the best time she’s run at the Bearcat Invite. Yesenia Martinez narrowly missed a medal, finishing 7th in an off race of 19.22. The medals go 6-deep at the Bearcat invite, a nice incentive for athletes. Rodolf Ocampo finished 5th in 17.66 despite a messy race, showing how much potential he still has in the event.

At this same time, the varsity long jump was going on. Salvador Lopez just missed medaling, taking 7th place in a new PR of 20-4. This was achieved on a slightly descended pit (the sand is not as high as the runway) but is a strong PR nonetheless. Geo Campos also managed a PR going 19-2. Jamie Vong missed his PR by a fraction, going 18-4 compared to a best of 18-6. In the frosh/soph version of the event, Jordan Laguna managed a huge PR of 18-0.

In the girls discus, Valeria managed the win in 108-3. This is the 2nd time this season she has been an invitational champion in the girls discus, adding with her 7 dual meet wins, she has 9 total meet victories in the event. She will aim to make it 10 at division finals next week. Marquise Nelson managed 6th place with a throw of 85-1, the 2nd best mark of her career. Adriana Marcelino had an off day, throwing 67-4 and 21-11 in the shot put. Valeria took 3rd overall in shot put with a best of 30-9 and Marquise won the meet overall with a toss of 32-0. A strong day for the lady Comet throwers to win both throwing events at an invitational with 50 total registered teams.

The distance events have always gone very well for us at the Bearcat invite, and today was some of the same. Arlet Miranda ran a seasons best 5:42.11 in the girls 1600 despite a poorly paced race. Jessica Cervantes ended her season with a PR of 6:24.56. Mya Hammond and Jessica continue their rivalry as despite being in separate heats, they ran nearly identical times with Mya lowering her PR from 6:30 to 6:24.68. Ashley Preciado ran a seasons best 6:29.42 as well. Ruth Rodriguez lowerred her PR from 6:37 to 6:38, and Emely Lopez took a huge chunk out of her PR, running 7:03 compared to a previous best of 7:19. Jhesselyn Santos rounded out the lady Comet milers with a time of 7:24, compared to a previous best of 7:36.

On the boys side, Mark Orpia lowered his PR to 4:56, while Brandon Cruz ran the 2nd best time of his career, clocking in at 5:03. Better things were ahead in the 800 for the team as well.

Our sole 400m runner of the day was Misael Herrera. Considering it was his final HS invitational AND it was his birthday, his might have been the performance of the day. Misael was never the most talented runner. When we first timed his as a freshmen, he ran 1:04 for the 400 on natural ability. His sprint speed is not killer, as this season he’s only run 12.52 for the 100. He’s always worked hard to chip away at times, making himself more and more valuable to the team. As a freshmen, his PR at division finals was 57.72. Sophomore year he lowered it to 56.48 at none other than the Bearcat Invite. Last year, his PR came at division trials when he ran 55.61 finishing 10th, just shy of making the final. At the Bearcat invite, he went into the meet with a seasons best of 56.41 and absolutely went off to run 54.51, a PR by over a second and the best 400m time any Comet has run since I’ve been coaching.

54 seconds is not blazing fast for a 40m runner. We have Comet alum who could have managed it comfortably for the first lap of an 800. It means alot to see an athlete consistently work hard and improve, so athletes like Misael achieving times like this is truly the most rewarding aspect of coaching. He will look to go even faster at division finals.

The 100m dash at bearcat is never particularly fast. The track usually produced better distance times than sprint ones. That being said, the Comets had a few strong marks. Raven Alcantara ran 11.81, the fastest time he’s ever clocked at an invitational. Valeria ran the 2nd best 100m dash of her career, running 14.26. Most impressive was Mya running a huge PR in the event. Mya has shwon great improvement to her speed this year and this was her first meet ever wearing spikes. Her previous best was 15.48 and she ran 14.27 for a massive PR. (THis was after a PR in the 1600 mind you). We think long term she is a 400/800 runner but she has struggled to execute a race utilizing her good speed and balance it with her solid endurance. Emily De Dios ran a big PR of 16.04, compared to a previous best of 16.48. A great way to end her season.

Arlet ran her best 800m of the season, despite it being a negative split (first lap slower than the second) to clocking in at 2:31.84 for 2nd place. It is also the 2nd best time she’s ever run after a 1600, showing she is back in good shape heading into division finals.  Emely managed a 2nd big PR on the day, lowering her best from 3:20 to 3:10.

One of the very best breakthroughs of the day came in the boys 800. Jerricho Habon lowered his PR from 2:10.75 to 2:06.52, a huge PR that saw him just miss a medal. Jerricho is rounding in to shape at the right time, and figures to go even faster at division finals. Most of my best runners to this point have been 3200 runners rather than 800 runners, so Jerricho’s time is the best any Comet has achieved under me. I trust he will improve upon it soon. Mark also took 4 seconds off his PR, lowering his PR from 2:16 to 2:12.88 a solid PR to end his season in the event.

Yesenia ran a seasons best in the 300 hurdles, clocking in at 58 seconds. She also cleared 5-0 in pole vault, the first time she’s competed at an invitational. On the boys side of this event, Rodolf cleared 10-0 for the 2nd time in his career, equalling his PR. He also just missed a PR in the 300 hurdles, running 45.60, .01 seconds off his best. Sal lowered his PR to 45.13 in the event, and he still has tone of room for improvement as he is very new at hurdling,

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As seen here, Sal does not yet have a full feel for hurdling, clearing the hurdle way higher than is necessary. 

The final event the Comets competed in on the day was the 200. Estefani Herrera lowered her PR in the event 34.31 and Emely Lopez ran 38.26 for a new PR as well. Raven ran a big PR of 24.19, taking a full half second off his best best in the event. Misael just missed his seasons best, running 24.76 the 3rd best time of his career. Angel Guerrero ran a new PR of 25.58 taking 3 tenths of a second off his best.

It was a great confidence building meet for the team as they head towards division finals. There were 22 PRS on the day and the varsity girls finished 4th place overall out of 50 listed registered teams. It should be acknowledged that the CCS top 8 meet was the same day, so many of the top athletes in the area headed to that. That being said, many strong athletes from other sections were present, and the team will prepare for division finals ready to show their stuff.

The team will compete at BVAL – ST (‘B’)- division finals on Thursday April 18th and Saturday April 20th at Lincoln High School. All trials for lane events and the 800 will take place on Thursday April 18th, as well as finals in the following events:

Boys 3200, Girls 1600, Boys Long Jump, Boys High Jump, Girls Triple Jump, Girls Discus, Boys Shot Put. The Pole Vault competition will likely take place on Wednesday April 17th at Prospect High School.

ST division finals are significant in a few ways. The meet will determine the final standings for each team in the division. The top 8 athletes in each event score for their teams and the top 5 in each advance advance to BVAL Finals (CCS qualifying meet)  on Thursday May 2nd.

The big meets are ahead and I for one could not be more excited.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

 

Comets Finish 6th out of 26 Teams at De Anza Invitational: Highest Invitational Finish This Decade

 

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.

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Sal Handing Off to Geo on the final leg of the 4×100.

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.

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Mark Orpia clearing the bar at 8 feet

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.

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Rodolf on his way to a new PR and a hurdles medal

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.

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Sal, (Right) Misael (Left) and Jerricho (Middle) racing the 200.

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!

Comets break barriers at Quicksilver Classic

The Comets took a small group of athletes to the Quicksilver Classic at Leland High School on Saturday March 31st. Despite the small number of athletes that attended the meet, the Comets saw quite a few PRs and seasons bests. The first Comet to compete was Luis Escamilla in the 300 hurdles. Despite being sick, Luis managed a new PR of 50.77. Yesenia Martinez was next, running 31.74 for the 200, a massive improvement on her previous best of 33.16. Yeimili Adame ran a PR of 30.26, the 2nd best time by a Comet this season. Raven Alcantara rounded out the frosh/soph 200s with a PR of 25.11, smashing his previous best of 26.06. This is also the best time by a Comet this season.

Ashley Preciado managed a big PR in the girls 3200, taking her PR all the way down to 14:15, (previous best 14:49). Hugo Marquez broke the 12 minute barrier in the frosh/soph event, running 11:53. Brandon Cruz ran a PR of 12:05 as well.

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Jerricho Habon, Hugo Marquez and Brandon Cruz running the 3200

The Varsity session began in the early afternoon, and more improvements were had. Valeria Cortez, ran a 19.08 in the 100 hurdles, not a good time for her, but the race was actually a strong improvement in many ways. Valeria was the clear leader in her heat going into the final hurdle with a solid lead. She clipped the last hurdle badly and only barely managed to avoid falling, losing all momentum in the process. The girl who won the heat (who only passed her because of the final hurdle) ran 17.4, meaning Valeria was likely going to run a big seasons best, and potentially even threaten her PR.  Valeria would go on to place 3rd in the girls discus with a seasons best throw of 105-1. Alejandra Ceron took 8th in 93-3.The duo would be at it again in the girls Shot Put. Alejandra threw a big seasons best of 34-11 to take 2nd overall. Valeria threw a solid 30-8 for 9th place.

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Alejandra Ceron after her big throw.  Fun fact: Alejandra is famously picky about only throwing her favorite Shot Put. 

 

The biggest breakthrough of the day came in the varsity boys 300 hurdles. Cody Huoch had a great first track season as a junior, winning the WVAL division title in a PR of 44.32. He only narrowly missed making CCS with a mid 44 clocking at BVAL champs. Cody showed that he is ready for new heights with his performance at Quicksilver.

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Cody Huoch (center) hurdling the 7th hurdle of the 300 hurdles

Cody decimated his PR, running 43.20 to take 3rd place overall. This new PR puts Cody in strong contention for a CCS spot in the event.

Aliana Santos ran a PR of 32.27 in the 200 next. Aliana has been a dedicated track athlete for years, but has really broken through this season. Aliana had seasons bests of 34.32 as a sophomore, then 33.93 as a junior. In this week alone however, she lowered her PR massively, running 33.59 on Thursday, and then 32.27 on Saturday. A great reward for a hard working athlete, and evidence of the excellent job Coach Turner is doing with the teams sprinters.

Azael Zamora and Inteus Castro-Lopez ended the teams day with the varsity boys 3200. Despite both boys being sick, they nearly ran seasons bests. Azy ran 10:06, 1 second off his PR, and Inteus ran 11:17, 4 seconds off of his seasons best. Azael’s performance was good for 3rd place overall.

The team now heads into Spring break, a big training week for the team. After spring break the Comets will host Piedmont Hills on Thursday April 12th, before heading up to the Bearcat Invite.

As things currently stand, the comets are a combined 1-7 in varsity.

0-4 varsity girls, 1-3 varsity boys and 2-2 frosh/soph boys. As I discussed in my pre-season blog, our toughest opponents were our very first few meets. Our goal to prove that we belong in the ‘B’ division is unchanged. We will be working towards a strong finish, and our pre-season goal of a 6-8 combined varsity finish is still within reach.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

James Lick Throwers Shine at Firebird Relays

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The Varsity Girls Throws Team (Charli Chircop, Alejanda Ceron and Valeria Cortez) with their coaches and teammate Daniel Medina

The Firebird Relays at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale have been one of the team’s favorite invites for several years now because of the variety relays available. In addition to the standard 4×100 and 4×400, the meet holds the Distance Medley Relay and 4×800, as well as combination relays in all field events and the 300 hurdles.

To qualify for combination relays, a teams top 3 athletes have their best marks/times added up and compared across the top 3 of others teams. The team with the 3 best relays in each event received medals. This makes the Firebird Relays a great meet for the team to compare its depth against other teams.

The meet started off strong for the team. Susie Peterson ran a huge seasons best in the 100h, running 19.63 to go under 20 seconds for the first time this season. Kirsten Yutuc ran 21.15 for a PR in the 100h despite a fall on the final hurdle of the race.

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Left to right: Susie Peterson, Valeria Cortez and Kirsten Yutuc before contesting the 100 hurdles

Jonathan Rodriguez also ran a PR in the 100 hurdles, clocking a time of 19.16 for his race. Soon afterwards field events got under way.

Lyndel Ventura went 12-11.50 for the team in the long jump, though she was jumping from a board 2 feet behind the board the meet was using to measure from. This shows that Lyndel is near her 15 foot long jump PR.

The team sent 3 triple jumpers on the boys side to compete as a relay team. Ace Medina led the team with a new PR of 37-3. Cody Huoch was 2nd in a PR of 36-7.50 and Hadji Yono-Cruz was rd in 35-9. The team placed 5th in the triple jump relay, only missing 3rd place by a  combined 5 inches.

Arlet Miranda ran a 5:49 1600, well off the 5:41 she ran a few weeks earlier at the Willow Glen Invite as she continues to battle through minor injury. Daniel Portillo had an excellent race, breaking the 6 minute mile barrier for the first time to the tune of a 15 second PR of 5:54.

The Comets ran a Frosh/Soph Boys team of Raven Alcantara, Misael Herrera, AdrianDeLaRosa and Bryan Cuevas who combined for a solid 49.31. The Varsity team of Cody, Hadji, Ace and Chris Okoro competed as well but were Disqualified for a lane violation.

 

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Raven Alcantara handing off the baton to Misael Herrera in the 4×100 relay.

Both the Varsity Boys and Frosh/Soph Boys competed in the 4000m Distance Medley Relay or DMR. The Varsity Boys team placed 6th despite the absence of top runner Erik Olsvold and missed the school record by less than 1 second, running 11:30.81. Inteus Castro-Lopez started the team off with a 1200m leg of 3:38. Gustavo Aguilera ran a 57 second 400m split, followed by a 2:07 800m leg by Nathan Bernardo. Azael Zamora anchored the team home with a 4:47 1600m. On the FS side, Melvin Estrada, Misael Herrera, Hugo Marquez and Mark Orpia combined to run 13:01.

Meanwhile, the strong Lady Comet throwers were strutting their stuff. In 2016, Alejandra, Charli and Valeria took 3rd in the Frosh/Soph Discus relay, and first in the Shot Put relay. Their combination relay mark of 83-8 gave them the win. Alejandra was the team’s leading thrower on the day with a  toss of 28-2.5. This year, with Charli and Alejandra being juniors, the team stepped up to compete at the varsity level and showed just how far they’ve come by winning the Varsity Shot Put relay with a combo of 96-5.5.

It was the first time in school history that 3 Comet girls cracked 30 feet for Shot Put in the same meet. All 3 girls PRd. Alejandra threw 32-7, Charli threw 32-5 and Valeria threw 31-5 to seal the deal.

The team had similar success in the discus Throw, taking 2nd as a team in that as well.  In 2016, the team’s combination mark was 214-10. This year the three-headed monster combined for a total of 287- 5.5. Valeria led the team with a throw of 99-2, Charli threw 96-5.5 and Alejandra threw a PR of 91-11, the first time 3 lady Comets have cracked 90 feet in the discus throw in the same meet.

As if the throws of the varsity girls were not impressive enough, freshmen Mariah Santos took 5th in the Frosh/Soph girls discus witha  huge PR of 74-1.50. For comparison sake, at the 2016 Firebird Relays, Aleajndra led the team in discus with a throw of 74-11. She backed up this impressive PR with a throw of 22-9 in the Shot Put. Adriana Marcelino also competed for the team.

The Comet throwers on the girls side are as impressive a group as the team as seen in decades. They have anchored the girls team all season and are probably the team’s strongest overall event group (the only possible competition being the boys distance crew).  With the rapid improvement he’s fostered in the team’s throwers, in my mind Coach Vela is the best throws coach in the WVAL by a wide margin, if not the entire BVAL.

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Alejandra Ceron throwing the Shot Put

The boys throwers saw a huge PR as well. Both Daniel Medina and Rogelio Alonzo competed. Roger threw a massive PR in the discus, hitting a mark of 97-11 after setting a PR of 89-0 just days earlier.

The team of Cody, Ace, and Hadji in the long jumped all jumped roughly 17 feet to end their day in the horizontal jumps. In the vertical jumps, the team took 2nd in the varsity boys high jump relay. 5 Different teams had 3 jumpers clear a height. Juan Gutierrez and Ace both went 5-0 for the team,and Jonathan went 5-4 to clinch the medal for the team.

The distance teams took both to the track in the 4×800 relay. The Varsity boys team only missed a medal by 5 seconds despite missing two of the team’s top 3 800m runners in Erik Olsvold and Gustavo Parra. The team’s time of 9:03 is the best time the Comest have run for the 4×800 on record. The Frosh/Soph boys clocked a time of 10:27 as well. Arlet Miranda ran a strong 800, but was caught on the line to finish 2nd overall to a San Jose High runner in 2:35. This sets up a  good WVAL rivalry going forward.

The Frosh/Soph boys 100m dash saw Raven go under 13 seconds for the first time, crossing the line in 12.91. Kirsten made her 400m debut in 1:15 as did Chris in 1:05.

The final event the team competed in was the 300 hurdles. Cody ran a strong time of 44.98, just a tenth of a second off his PR. Gustavo A ran a huge PR of 44.71, taking more than a full second off his PR from last season. Jonathan coasted home to a 49.28. The team was a combined 2 seconds away from a medal.

Overall the meet was a huge success for the team. Many athletes received medals, and the team competed well against some of the best teams in the CCS. The team placed 13th overall out of  more than 40 competing teams, giving them a confidence boost as they look ahead at the 2nd half of the season.

The team will take on the Gunderson Grizzlies at Gunderson on Wedensday March 29th, then they will head to Overfelt  on Saturday April 1st for the first ever Royal Relays.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves.

 

JLXC Course History: Mt. Sac Cross Country Course

In recent years, one of the Comets most beloved traditions has been the yearly trip down to Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. Sac for short) for the largest high school cross country invitational in the entire world. James Lick began taking athletes to Mt. Sac in the year 2000 and has taken athletes every season since for a total of 16 years of history on the course. At most the team has taken 7 boys and 7 girls a season, and these athletes are chosen based on factors such as dedication, and commitment to being a student athlete. As a result, athletes who run for James Lick at Mt. Sac range from top varsity runners, to lower level JV/reserve runners. In any case, there have been some quality times on the Mt. Sac course over the years, and the Comets will look to add more good times this season.

The course is a challenging 2.93 mile course, and times at Mt. Sac have always been a good indicator of what an athlete is capable of running at Crystal Springs. This coupled with Mt. Sac being the team’s final race of the year before league finals at Crystal Springs, make it the perfect final tuneup for a very dedicated group of athletes. The course involves 3 significant, but  very different hills, and despite these hills, the course is overall a good course to run fast on due to the high level of competition and very fast 1st mile.

The year 2000 had only boys competing for the Comets. The results did not include the boys names unfortunately, but they nonetheless ran a team time of 1:26:42 (86:42) a strong time for an essentially 3 mile course. Again, as Mt. Sac and Crystal Springs are very comparable in terms of time,  a team time in the mid 80s is in line with what James Lick was capable of throughout much of its history. In 2001, Ivan Navarro ran 16:38 on the course for what stands as the #2 all time James Lick clocking on the course. Nelson Funston ran 17:50 that season as well for what is currently #15 on the school’s all time list. The team of 01′ combined for a team time of 87:00 exactly, #3 on the school’s all time team times list.

2002 saw Jose Gutierrez run 16:13 for the school record on the course. Teammate Brent Nichols also ran a very strong time of 16:43, with Roger Mendez running 17:03 to take spots 3 and 4 on the school’s all time list. Juan Montiel in 17:12 and Efrain Estrada in 17:24 both also cracked the top 10 list, and helped the team to the team record on the course of 1:24:58 (84:58). Aurel Hernandez ran 17:39 for 14th place on the school’s all time list as well, giving the team of 02′ six total entries on the school’s all time list at Mt. Sac, a very impressive performance. Victor Rendon ran 17:54 the next year to place 17th on the school’s list. The team of 2003 ran 1:28:59 (88:59). Just like at Crystal Springs, the team of 03 would be the last James Lick team to run under 90 minutes at Mt. Sac for more than a decade. While in 2015 we were finally able to break the 90 minute barrier at Crystal again, we were unable to do so at Mt. Sac, making it a clear goal for this season.

2003 was the first year the team took girls to Mt. Sac and has done so every year since. The team of 03′ currently stands in 10th on the all time team list with a  time of 2:05: 31 (125:31). The fastest girl on this team was Anita Castillo at 24:32, though she is no longer on the top 20 list for the course.

Chris Wiltron and Rogelio Gonzalez both ran 17:20 in 2004 to place 7th and 8th on the school’s all time list.The team time of 91:02 from this season is #5 on the school’s team time list. Joanna Rabano ran a then school record (now #8) time of 22:38 on the girl’s side this season. Mary Crable ran 23:38 for the 16th best Lady Comet time on the course this season as well.

In 2005, the girls team broke 2 hours for the first time the course, running 1:57:48 as a team for the current 5th best team time in school history. This year Gabriella Dominguez ran 22:08 for #5 and Esmeralda Gutierrez ran 23:06 for #11 on the school’s all time list. The next year both the individual and team record on the girl’s side was established. Kayla Matsuda ran 19:04 to lead the Comets to a team time of 1:56:11, still the school record a decade later. Reyes Morones ran 17:14 on the boys side this year as well, #5 all time.

In 2007 the girls saw me significant additions, Auror Lepe at #7 all time in 22:31 and Angelica Gutierrez at #14 in 23:20. This year the team ran 1:56:31, the 3rd best team time in school history. A year later Elsie Carillo ran the #6 time for James Lick, 22:25.

No additions were made on either side in 2009, though several were made in 2010. Ana Tapia ran the 3rd best time in school history on the girls side this season, clocking in at 21:43. Teresa Farias ran 24:02 to make the girls list as well. The same year I ran 17:25 for #11 currently on the school’s all time list, while my teammate Ricardo Flores ran 17:50 for 16th place. The team ran 91:45 this season, the 6th best team time in school history and the best of this decade (which should change this year). In 2011, Omar Vasquez ran 17:33, #13 all time,  to lead the team to a team time of 92:54, 8th on the school’s team time list.A year later Armando Aguilar ran 17:58 for the current 18th best time in school history.

2013 saw the #2 team time in school history for the girls, 1:56:25. Karla Rodriguez ran 23:00 for #10 on the all time list this season. A year later, Daniela Camacho beat her PR from the year before, putting her #2 on the school’s all time list in 20:41. Paloma Contreras ran 22:50 for 9th in school history, and Alma Padilla ran 23:55 for 17th the same year.

In 2015 Nathan bernardo moved himself up the boys list to 9th with a time of 17:21. he helped lead the team to a team time of 92:12 #7 in school history as a team. The girls team became the 6th James Lick team to run under 2 hours at Mt. Sac, running a team time of 1:57:50. They were lead by several new additions to the all time list. Maria Mendoza ran 21:56, Andrea Ortiz ran 23:08, Elizabeth Guevara ran 23:15 and Jennifer Custodio ran 24:26 to put these runners 4th, 12th, 13th and 20th on the all time list.

The Comets will take to Mt. Sac this Saturday and will look to improve the team record books. Obviously some course lists are tougher to improve than others. Mt. Sac being a more modern course is easier to improve than courses like Crystal Springs, and as the team continues to work to restore the program, Mt. Sac will be a good final barometer before the team takes to BVAL Finals 9 days later.

 

 

 

Comets Knock Down Barriers at Crystal Springs Invitational

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Arlet Miranda, Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora with their “Top 20 varsity individual” medals following PRs at the Crystal Springs invite

Ideally, the Crystal Springs Invite is one of the biggest invitationals of the season for the Comets, a chance to compete against many of the top schools in the CCS on a historic and significant course. Every member of the team can stand to benefit from running at Crystal Springs, as BVAL Finals in 3 weeks will be held there. Due to SATS, homecoming week, and other such commitments, only a small group of Comet runners made the trip up for the invite this year, but the invite still yielded some impressive results for the team.

The day began with the JV boys race, the only race in which the Comets fielded a full team.David Bejines nearly broke 7 minute mile pace for the first time on a (basically) 3 mile course, running 20:42 for the 2.95 mile crystal springs. Freshmen Nien Tran and Jerricho Habon followed in 20:58 and 21:00, strong times indicating both boys should have a chance at breaking 20 minutes for Montgomery Hill next week.  The 7:06 pace was the best of Nien’s XC career, and the best pace of Jerricho’s career on any course longer than 2.3 miles. Austin Swank ran a solid 21:24 to be the next boy in, and Hugo Marquez was the 5th boy in 22:21. The 7:35 mile pace for Hugo was also the best of his career for a course close to 3 miles. Melvin Estrada ran a solid 22:31, but other races suggest he can already go faster. Daniel Portillo rounded out the team in 23:45, following his teammates lead with a career best pace for a 3 mile or similar race.

4 of the team’s Varsity girls competed in the highly competitive Varsity Girls Championship race next. Arlet Miranda lead the group in 20:18, the 3rd fastest time in school history. Her performance earned her a medal in the very competitive race. Maria Mendoza ran 22:52, a solid time though well off of her strong times form last year when she had more time to train. Daisy Nava cam in next, a bit off of her initial Crystal Springs time from last year, though Denisse Calixto ran a solid PR to finish in 25:21. The final 3 Comet girls to run ran later in the JV girls race. Valerie Flores and Aliana Santos kicked in together at 29:25 and 29:56. Brittany Salazar finished in 34:49.

The team took only two varsity boys to the race, but they performed exceedingly well. Nathan Bernardo ran a 17 second PR of 16:45 to become the first Comet since 2005 to break 17 minutes at Crystal Springs. Azael Zamora was right behind him at 16:48. The pair worked together throughout the race, running a 5:25 1st mile, a 5:43 second mile, followed by a 5:37/5:40 for the final .95 miles, which are slightly uphill. The presence of only two boys made it so that the team could not compare team times directly to other teams however, Nathan and Azael finished 6th and 7th amongst BVAL runners with 16/24 total schools represented. Nathan and Azael ran very well compared to many of the team’s target schools, setting the team up well for future meets at full strength.

I believe a reasonable translation for Montgomery Hill to Crystal Springs comparison is to add 45 seconds to 1 minute depending on a runners proficiency on either given course. For example, Nathan ran 16:45 at Crystal Springs just days after running 15:52 at Montgomery. Azael had an off race at Montgomery, running 16:26, then ran 16:48 today at Crystal Springs. Arlet and Mara ran 19:16 and 21:50 at Montgomery Hill, then 20:18 and 22:52 today. These are anecdotal comparisons, but they illustrate the conversion as relatively accurate. Athletes significantly stronger at Crystal Springs can keep the gap to about 40 seconds, but 1 minute is a fair time to add for conversion purposes.

Using this conversion to add Inteus (16:40 at Montgomery this week) Gustavo A (16:53) and Gustavo P (16:56) would give the team a 1-5 of: 16:45, 16:48, 17:40, 17:53, 17:56. This is with the omision of Erik Olsvold who ran 15:57 at Montgomery, since he is unlikely to be able to run at CCS this year. Even with the omission of Erik, this team’s hypothetical time would have been 87:02. The top 3 teams in CCS division 3 go to State. At the last ranking, the Comets were 6th with Mills, St. Ignatius, Riordan, Sacred Heart Cathedral, and Aptos ranked ahead of James Lick in that order. At the Crystal Springs invite Riordan was the top D3 school at 86:23, with SHC at 87:26 and St. Ignatius at 89:10. It’s no mean feet to take on private schools like these, but the Comets are showing a capability of at least putting up a strong fight at CCS.

The Comets will take to Montgomery Hill again on Thursday October 13th for STAL #4 against Oak Grove.

Thank you for reading

-Benny Reeves

 

STAL 2 and DLS Invitational recaps

This blog will summarize the team’s week, both at STAL 2 and at the DeLaSalle Invitational.

On Thursday 9/15, the team and their 2nd league meet of the year which was also the team’s final league meet of the season at Alum Rock Park. The team was facing both Prospect and Sobrato, two of the top girls teams in the BVAL last season. It being the team’s last meet of the year in Alum Rock Park, the Comets were looking to end on a high note.

The Frosh/Soph Boys started the team off well with a split meet. The team was lead by Mark Orpia who improved his PR a small margin to 20:45. Melvin Estrada was close behind him. Jerricho Habon was the team’s 3rd boy with a small PR of 21:11, and Nien Tran had a huge PR of 21:17. The absence of Rudy Peterson hurt the team however, with 5th boy Kevin Bach not crossing the line until 22:40. Hugo Marquez was just behind Kevin and Daniel Portillo rounded out the team with a huge PR of 23:18. The team was able to defeat Sobrato, but fell to Prospect, giving them a 2-2 record on the season.

The Varsity Girls team was the next group up. Arlet Miranda lead the team with a very strong time of 19:42, good for a 26 second PR and #2 time on the school’s all time list. Her time put her 4th place overall in the very challenging STAL division as well. The team and to deal with the absence of two teammates, Maria Mendoza and Analilia Regla.Daisy nava was the team’s second runner with a 14 second PR of 23:15. Mika Perez came in next, a bit off of her PR. Denisse Calixto came through with a big PR of 24:22, far better than her 25:38 from a week ago. Belen Sanchez also ran strong in her first ever XC race, finishing in 24:39 to be the team’s 5th runner.

The Varsity Boys team again came away with a pair of comfortable victories to move them to 4-0 on the season. Erik Olsvold lead the team with a very strong PR of 16:04, taking 2nd place overall. Nathan Bernardo was 4th in a small PR of 16:23. Azael Zamora battled through sickness to run 16:34 and finish 7th. Inteus Castro-Lopez and Gustavo Aguilera finished in 17:26 and 17:31, small PRS for the pair of them as well, they were 14th and 16th overall. Gustavo Parra finished in 17:59, and Jesus Deloya rounded out the team as the 7th boy. It’s shaping up to already be a strong season for the boys, this meet clinched a winning season for the boys team. Currently, the only team that looks to seriously threaten the Comets is Pioneer. The Comet boys ran a team time of 83:59 (1:23:59) and Pioneer was less than a minute back. No other team ran faster than 89 minutes by comparison. With a 2 week training period before STAL #3 at Montgomery Hill where James Lick and Pioneer will square off, the stage is being set up for a dramatic showdown. Had James Lick raced Pioneer on Thursday, the Comets would have prevailed 26-29, a very close meet.

The Reserve Boys had a good meet as a team as well. David Bejines once again lead the group in a small PR of 20:33. Isaak Herrea was next in 21:03, a 30 second PR and Austin Swank managed a small PR as the team’s 3rd boy. Esteban Garcia-Gomez, making his XC debut ran 21:59 to help the reserve team as well. Manuel Villalobos ran a small PR of 24:35, while Angel Hernandez and Joseph Allen made their XC debuts.

Susie Peterson lead the team in the girl’s JV race in 27:21. Camilla Hernandez, making her XC debut was just behind her in 27:25, a good opening time. Aliana Santos PRd to give the team 3 girls under 28 minutes. Diana Romero and Jocelyn Rios helped fill out the group, with teammates Ashley Preciado, 33:04, Ally Floreza, 24:09, and Brittany Salazar, 34:00 all running PRS. Valerie Flores and Nayley Flores rounded out the reserve team and finished the Comets day.

 

DeLaSalle Invitational 

 

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Varsity Boys Left to Right: Nathan Bernardo, Gustavo Aguilera, Gustavo Parra, Inteus Castro-Lopez, Azael Zamora, Jesus Deloya

 

On Saturday September 17th, the Comets took to the DeLaSalle Invitational in Concord to compete in the very competitive Nike Sponsored race. The invitational takes place in Newhall Park, Varsity teams contesting a 3 mile race while all others run 2 miles. This being the 8th time in school history the Comets have contested the Invite, the team was looking to leave their best mark yet. Recent history has shown that a runner should be able to run faster at Crystal Springs, (The BVAL league finals and often CCS course) than they can for the 3 mile in Newhall Park, giving the team a good reference as to their fitness. David Bejines started the team off strong running a time of 13:08 in the boys JV race, his first time running under 7 minute mile pace for the team by a huge margin. Joseph Allen made his invitational debut in the same race, running 25:24.

The Varsity Girls were the next team to see action. Arlet Miranda ran a strong time of 20:23, her first time breaking 7 minute pace for a full 3 mile race. Arlet ran this strong time, despite a slow first mile of 7:06. Realizing her mistake, (after I yelled at her to start racing already…) Arlet ran 6:39 pace for the remaning two miles, good for the #2 time in school history on the course. Milka Perez was the next Comet in at 25:20, placing her 14th on the school’s all time list for the course. Her time is faster than athletes from last year like Andrea Ortiz and Jennifer Custodio, who went on to have very strong varsity seasons. Milk’s rehab from her torn ACL is going well. Analilia Regla finished off the Varsity girl’s day. Despite having been sick early in the week, Analilia ran the fastest pace of her XC career, finishing in 26:46, a faster pace than she ran for the 2 mile version of the course a year ago.

The Varsity Boys group was up next, and had their minds set on a team goal of under 90 mins, after setting a new team record of 96 min last year on a day where they underperformed. Azael Zamora and Nathan Bernardo lead the group in 17:11 and 17:13. Nathan ran nearly 20 seconds better than his 17:31 school record from last season, but the record now belongs to Azael. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran 18:23 for a solid time of his birthday, and Gustavo Parra ran a very strong 18:31 for his best ever 3 mile by far. Gustavo Aguilera finished off the group’s top 5 with an 18:45, a more than 20 second PR. The team rewrote the all time list, with Azael becoming the school record holder, Inteus becoming #5, Gustavo P #6 and Gustavo A #7 on the school’s all time list. Jesus Deloya rounded out the team at 20:16, and the group narrowly missed their team goal, running 90:04 as a group.

The JV girls race was also a success for the team. The team saw 4 performances, Valerie Flores, 19:34, Diana Romero, 20:58, Ashley Preciado, 22:29 and Ally Floreza in 23:10. All 4 girls ran the best pace of their XC career so far.

The Frosh/Soph Boys was the team’s final race on the day. Vincent Giglio made his 2016 XC debut in style with a strong season opening time of 12:56. Vincent’s time is good for 11th on the school’s all time list, and sets him up to be a big Frosh/Soph factor in the STAL. Mark Orpia ran 13:29, 6:45 pace to break the 7 minute mile pace barrier for the first time. Jerricho Habon was next in 14:12, and he was followed in by Nien Tran at 14:24 and Melvin Estrada in 14:34. Kevin Bach was the last boy in for the team in 16:08, rounding out a very solid day for the team overall.

It was a good week of racing for the team, and they will now have 2 full weeks of training to work towards faster times before heading to Half Moon Bay for the Artichoke Invitational on October 1st. The Comets will likely contest the team’s watermelon run before then, in preparation for a big showdown with Pioneer on October 5th.

Thank you for reading,

-Benny Reeves

 

Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational

Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational
Improvements Abound at Stanford Invitational

 

The Comets took to the highly competitive Stanford Invitational on Saturday, September 26th to compete against some of the best runners in the State. Only Varsity teams compete at the prestigious invite. The team was looking to use the fast 5k race over the flat Stanford Golf Course,as a means of preparing themselves for fast paced races down the road. The end result was nearly every Comet runner, running the fastest mile pace of their career for a Cross Country race of any distance.

The Boys Varsity team once again demonstrated their dramatic improvement, running over 6 minutes faster as a team than they did last year at the same meet. The best performance was from team captain Hector Ramirez who ran 17:35. Hector had only ever once run under 6 minute mile pace for an official Cross Country race, and that was at his first league meet of the season where he clocked 5:59 pace. At Stanford however, Hector ran 5:40 pace for 5k distance. He was closely followed by Nathan Bernardo who ran 17:39, 5:42 mile pace. Inteus Castro-Lopez was the 3rd boy in, at 18:11, with a mile pace of 5:52. This gives the Comets 3 boys much faster than last year’s best runner at Stanford, when Karan Singh lead the team in 18:33. Gustavo Aguilera and Azael Zamora completed the team’s scorers, in 18:45 and 18:58 respectively. Gustavo Parra took a big step forward in his recovery, running 19:05, for a mile pace of 6:09. He had never before run under 6:30 pace. Jesse Chircop finished the team’s day by running 19:20 as the 7th man. This is after last year’s 3rd best runner was Hector in 19:19.

On the girl’s side, Arlet Miranda lead the group in 23:37 treating the race as a tempo run, she nonetheless earned the 5th spot in the school’s all time list for the Stanford invite. Andrea Ortiz was next in 24:23, running under 24 minutes for 3 miles for the first time en route. Raquel Rodriguez ran 24:50, 8:01 pace after never having run under 8:30 pace before. Daisy Nava finished the teams day in a solid 25:12, 8:08 pace, compared to her previous best pace of 8:17.

The team looks ahead to the Watermelon run next week, and the Artichoke Invitational in Half Moon Bay next Saturday where even faster paces are sure to come.