On Saturday September 9th, the James Lick Comets took to Golden Gate Park to participate in the Lowell Invitational for the 5th time in school history. Due to very muddy conditions the courses were slightly altered making the traditional Frosh/soph course 2.07 miles instead of 2.13, and the traditional long course 2.8 miles instead of 2.93.
This might not seem like a big deal to many but it is unfortunate in my opinion since we cannot directly compare the performances to past years and use the comparisons to project ahead. For example, at the end of the meet, we were under the impression we had established a new varsity girls team record, only to learn later that the course had been altered.
In any case, the invitational was a good bounce back race for many of the Comet runners after what was a tough day for the team on Wednesday at their first league meet. The meet began with the freshmen boys race.
Despite the mud, the flat nature of the course and cool weather makes it a course where many runners run a fast pace and build confidence going forward.
Justin Nguyen lead the Comets with a strong time of 15:09, good for a 7:21 mile pace. This was a huge breakthrough for Justin, who just 3 weeks ago ran a 7:31 for our 1 mile time trial to start the season. Omar Sanchez was next in 16:10, also running under 8 minute pace for the first time in his career. Carlos Nava came across in 16:28, just under the 8 minute mile pace barrier as well. Jason Garcia rounded out the group in 17:40, a strong showing for him as well.
The frosh/soph girls race was next, and the first lady Comet across was Ruth Rodriguez in 16:45. The 8:05 pace is by far the best pace of her career to this point. Marisol Carlos also ran in the race as a substitute for a runner who couldn’t make it, and she ran 19:21. The 9:21 pace was a strong improvement for her as well.
In the soph boys race, Jay Austria ran a strong time of 14:45, a 7:08 pace, the 2nd best pace of his career so far. Navbir Kahlon finished in 15:56, a 7:42 pace as well.
With the JV races, the day turned to the 2.8 mile course, more comparable to our league races on the 2.74 mile Montgomery hill course. Even though it is a slightly longer course than Montgomery Hill, the conditions make it much faster. A good goal for any athlete is to try to run faster at Montgomery than you were able to manage at Lowell. This is even more challenging with the course being shortened this year.
Mariana Perez lead the JV girls with a time of 23:18. Estefani Herrera was close behind in 23:27. The 8:23 pace for Estefani is the best of her career to this point. Erika Camacho ran 24:06, a big step forward from a 27 minute clocking at Montgomery on Wednesday. Melanny Sanchez ran 24:21, the best race of her young career so far.
Hugo Marquez lead the JV boys with a time of 19:57, a big step forward from a 23 minute run on Wednesday. Abraham Benitez had by far the best race of his young career. He stopped the clock at 20:13, running 7:13 pace. Josh Merin was close behind in 20:24. Rodolf Ocampo ran 20:56 to and Luis Escamilla ran 21:23, breaking the 8 minute pace barrier for the first time.
The varsity girls race some some big breakthroughs as well. Namely Mya Hammond running 21:08 for the 2.8 mile course. Mya had never run under 8 minute pace for a cross country race before. She went way under that mark, managing a 7:33 mile pace for the race. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez ran 22:16 and 22:18, both dipping just under 8 minute pace for the race as well. Ashley Preciado and Yesenia Martinez both took solid steps forward running 23:19 and 23:33 respectively to round out the groups.
The final race of the day was varsity boys. Mark Orpia lead the group in 16:10, the 5:47 pace being the fastest of his career so far. Jerricho Habon was next in 17:00. Brandon Cruz and Nien Tran made up the 3rd and 4th in 17:26 and 17:39. Omar Fimbres was the 5th boy in 18:09
After a very rough first league meet, the team bounced back soundly at the Lowell Invite.
The team will work towards matching their Lowell Invite times at Montgomery Hill, which would make the team a force to be reckoned with at meet #2.
The team will take most of the next 2 weeks to focus on training. The Comets won’t race again until September 21st at the DeLaSalle Invitational.
The 2019 edition of the James Lick Alumni Race took place on Friday August 30th in Alum Rock Park. With the team’s first league meet of the just days away, the Alumni Race was critical for coach Raul and myself to determine who would run on which squad for the team.
We were fortunate to have a myriad of esteemed alumni in attendance, and several made a big impression on the race itself. The 2.25 mile course is shorter than the Comets league races, but it provides a good indicator of a runners potential nonetheless.
The first Comet to cross the line was Mark Orpia in a strong time of 13:22. Over the past 15 years of alumni races, only 2 Comets have run faster on the alumni course, Azael Zamora, and Nathan Bernardo, two of the spearheads of the 2016 league championship team. Mark’s time was a 1:10 second PR and puts him in a very strong place to start the season. He should already be able to attack his PR at Montgomery Hill despite the earliness of the season.
The next finisher was Joe Amendt, the legendary Comet from the class of 88. Joe finished in 13:43, nearly 30 seconds better than his 14:10 clocking from a year ago. He passed Nien Tran on the downhills, where Nien typically struggles. Nien nonetheless finished in a PR of 13:55, a PR by 1:20. Branon Cruz was next in 14:01, a 40 second PR for him as well, giving the Comets a much stronger 1-2-3 punch where the top runners were Erik Olsvold at 13:50, Jerricho Habon at 14:06, and Melvin Estrada at 14:34.
Azael Zamora and Erik Olsvold ran together, finishing in 15:04, and Omar Fimbres impressed running 15:10. Jerricho had a very rough race, but is normally close to Brandon and Nien. As Such, the real question mark on the boys squad is around the 5th boy, and Omar’s performance helped to ease some of those concerns. Geovanny Campos ran 15:39, and Melvin Estrada ran 16:08 to round out the varsity group.
Alumni Don Mora was the next runner in, stopping the clock at 16:44, a big improvement over his 18:01 from last year. Josh Merin and Rodolf Ocampo came in together at 17:04 and 17:08, both big PRS. Hugo Marquez followed close behind in a 30 second PR of 17:22 to give the reserve team a solid trio.
Jessica Cervantes ran a strong time of 17:36, demonstrating hwo rapidly she has become the team’s heir apparent to recent graduate Arlet Miranda. Jessica isn’t quite at the elite ‘B’ division level of Arlet and her preceder, Daniela Camacho (they both ran in the low 16s at Alumni) but her mid 17 clocking makes her just the 4th girl this decade to break 18 for the course. The girls team has a a lot to feel good about, more on that later.
Ronaldo Castillo was the top freshmen of the day, running 17:48, a promising time on the course. For reference, Nien is working towards his 3rd consecutive CCS appearance in XC, and as a freshmen, he ran 17:34 at the alumni race, very comparable to the time Ronaldo managed.
Luis Escamilla as another reserve boy finished in a solid 18:26, followed by #2 Lady Comet Mya Hammond. The fact that Mya ran faster than Belen Sanchez and Yeimili Adame did in 2018 is very encouraging. It was a massive PR as a year ago Mya only managed a time of 21:11. She would not be the last lady Comet to really stand out.
Abraham Benitez, and Navbir Kahlon, newcomers to the team came in together at 18:49 and 18:50. Freshmen Daisy Flores and Justin Nguyen came in together at 18:55 as well. Daisy looks to be the next in a strong line of a good Comet family. Daisy’ brother, Ricardo Flores, was a friend and teammate of mine on the 2009 WV (‘C’) division championship. Ricardo and I battled for status as the #1 runner on the team senior year, and he ended his HS career with a strong PR of 4:41 in the 1600. Daisy looks to have the genes for running, along with the work ethic, and she’s established herself as a runner to watch going forward. Her cousin, Brianna Flores, was a member of the 2014 WV division championship team. We’ll have to make sure that Daisy isn’t the only runner in her family without a league title.
Not far back was Omar Sanchez in 19:04. Omar has improved dramatically over the course of the summer and along with Carlos Nava in 19:20, (brother of Daisy Nava, scoring member of the 2016 and 2017 WV division championship track teams) gives the team 4 dedicated freshmen to work with going forward.
This insurgency of youth was badly needed. Of our top 10 boys at the alumni race, only 1 was not a senior (Omar Fimbres, junior). Our goal is to try to have these boys ready to be quality ‘B’ division varsity boys by next season.
Just before Carlos finished, Emely Lopez came across as girl #4 in a great performance, running 19:18. This is faster than key runner Ashley Preciado managed last year when she ran 19:27. Alumni John Acosta came in right with Carlos Nava in 19:20, with freshmen Alexa Rodriguez, and Senior Yesenia Martinez finishing in 19:34, and 19:40 respectively. Ashley had an off day but still ran 19:52, and Lizbeth Espana, a standout in track now trying XC for the first time, ran 19:53. Estefani Herrera just missed the barrier running 20:01.
The 20 minute barrier is significant as it has always signified a standard for the varsity girls. In my 6 years of coaching, we have never been worse than the 16th best team at BVAL finals, we’ve always been at least middle of the pack. Last year we managed 12th, a top half finish and in 2014 we were 8th. In all those years, the highest total of girls we’ve had who could run under 20 minutes at the alumni race was 5. That was last year, when Arlet, Yeimili, Belen, Ashley and Yesenia did so. That group went on to place 12th at BVAL’s WITHOUT Yeimili, our then #2 runner.
Despite Yeimili’s absence today, the team had 8 girls under 20, and Estefani missed by less than 1 second. Our JV girls team has been a BVAL powerhouse the past few years, but this year is going to be special in that regard because of the sheer depth on the team. We will be aiming for a top 5 finish at BVALS on the JV girls side.
Huu Thai was the next Comet in at 20:02, just beating out alumni Andres Rosas. Ruth Rodriguez and Mariana Perez ran PRS of 20:14 and 20:18. Erika Camacho took a step forward from her time trial result, running 21:12. Melanny Sanchez and Kaylena Gil finished in 21:59 and 22:46 respectively, adding even more depth to the JV girls. Jason Garcia finished in 23:06. Deisy Carlos ran 24:43. Emily DeLaRosa and Francia Castro ran 30:22 and 30:25 and alumni Nancy Reed finished the race with a clocking of 33:07.
The Comets have a lot to feel good about, and the season is here! The team will take on Prospect and Independence in their first league meet of the season on Wednesday September 4th at Montgomery Hill. Then, they will head to Golden Gate Park for the Lowell Invitational on Saturday September 7th.
The 2019 school year is under way and with it, another cross country season for the James Lick Comets. This marks a significant milestone, as the 2019 iteration of the team will mark the 70th year of James Lick’s existence.
In the nearly 70 years of James Lick cross country, the school has managed 15 league/ division championships, (13 boys, 2 girls) more than any other James Lick sport. It is also the only James Lick sport I know of that has achieved a CIF section title, winning a CCS boys title in 1970.
As we head into the school year, James Lick stands as the smallest school in the entire 24 team BVAL. Despite this fact, in 2018 the team managed a combined 9-5 record in the ‘B’ division, placing 10th of the 24 teams at league finals on the boys side, and 12th on the girls.
By any measure we were a middle of the pack team, despite being at a huge disadvantage in terms of sheer enrollment to draft talent from. The 2019 team is aiming to build on this status, and take steps towards an even better year this season.
With these goals in mind, we completed our annual time trial of the 3.03 mile north rim course from the park entrance. We’ve used this course to track our athletes fitness since 2009, and I am personally a big fan of the course for the sheer fact that it is a slower course than any the team will run this year. Typically, a varsity boy will run 2 minutes faster at our league races at Montgomery hill, and 1 minute faster at Crystal Springs (our league finals and CCS course) than they can run for our north rim time trial course.
Obviously our team is not in their peak shape with 11 weeks until league finals, but we go in with the hope that our returning runners will be ahead of where they were a year ago at this time of year.
Our top boy runner immediately achieved more than this. Last year, Mark Orpia ran 20:10 to lead the team at our pre-season time trial. He would go on to run 16:19 at Montgomery Hill (8th all time in the 18 year school-history of the course) and spearhead a top 10 BVAL team at Crystal Springs with a time of 17:36.
Mark opened the season with a time of 18:14, the 3rd best time any Comet has recorded on the course, and the 2nd fastest early season time next to only the 17:53 clocking of Azael Zamora in 2017, a year that would see Azael get on the school’s all time-list at Crystal springs with a time of 16:17. This goes to show that Mark is in phenomenal shape, and he should be one of the best James Lick runners of the BVAL era if he can continue to improve on his current form.
As stated, Mark had a very strong 2018 after starting off at 20:10 for this time trial.This makes us very pleased with the 19:31 time by Nien Tran and the 19:43 time of Brandon Cruz as the 2nd and 3rd boys. Both boys are more than a minute ahead of their times from last year. It was even a 5 second PR for Brandon. Jerricho Habon had an off race but was still near his time from last year, stopping the clock at 20:45. The 5th boy on the team was a close race between Omar Fimbres, 23:17 Melvin Estrada, 23:25, and Hugo Marquez 23:31. Hugo is working his way back to health after an injury plagued 2018, while Omar and Melvin are coming in off of a summer where they were not training with the team. These boys will need to narrow the gap between themselves and the top 4 to help the team reach it’s potential, which I see as a top 8 BVAL team.
The first girl across was Jessica Cervantes who has looked like a breakout runner all summer long. Jessica finished in 24:51, 3 seconds off of her PR but way ahead of where she was at to start last season. With the graduation of Arlet Miranda (2nd best female XC runner in school history) just months ago, the team will need athletes like Jessica to step up.
Josh Merin ran 25:42 compared to a 31 minute clocking a year ago, and Rodolf Ocampo was more than a minute up on last year’s time as well. The next boys in were Luis Escamilla in 27:14, Jay Austria 27:16, Abraham Benitez in 27:40 and Josue Gomez in 27:43. These boys were sandwiched between a stream of rapidly improving lady Comets.
Mya Hammond ran 27:07, Ashley Preciado ran 27:32. Ruth Rodriguez (27:45) Emely Lopez (27:48) Estefani Herrera (27:50) and Alexa Rodriguez (28:14) came in close together, displaying the team’s formidable depth on the girls side. Depth will absolutely be the strength of a team full of girls who have transformed themselves into varsity caliber runners through sheer hard work and dedication.
When they began their careers, Mya, Emely and Estefani ran North Rim in 39:05, 41:04 and 44:06 respectively. I can’t say enough about these 3 who helped form the core of an undefeated JV girls team last year. None of them broke the 30 minute barrier to start least season’s trial, nor did Ruth. The addition of Ruth’s sister Alexa only makes this group stronger. The same goes for the knowledge that Yeimili Adame, Mariana Perez, and Erika Camacho all had very rough days by their standards. Even with those girls struggling, (The #1, #4 and #5 returning girls on the team based on last year’s times) the team has never produced more girls under the 30 minute barrier to start the year than the 9 the team managed this year. Yesenia Martinez (28:54) and Lizbeth Espana (29:10) both accomplished the feet as well.
Some of the younger boys on the team came across the line around this time as well. Navbir Kahlon, Ronaldo, and Justin Nguyen came across in 28:41, 28:52 and 29:00 as the 2nd 3rd and 4th frosh/soph boys. Huu Thai ran 29: 14 not far behind. Two more freshmen, Carlos Nava and Omar Sanchez finished in 30:06 to give the team 6 frosh/soph boys at or under 30 minutes.
These times might not be particularly fast yet, but we have a great recent track record of rapidly improving frosh/soph boys around those times. Gustavo Aguilera for example, ran 31:50 in his first try on the course as freshmen. As a senior, he would run 19:10 and was the 5th boy on the school’s 2016 ‘B’ division championship team.
The team can look at similar examples like Nien Tran and Omar Fimbres. Both boys failed to run under 27 minutes at their first time as freshmen, but both boys were CCS caliber runners by the end of their sophomore years. In short, if these boys are dedicated, we have great confidence that they will improve by leaps and bounds.
Melanny Sanchez and Caylena Gil finished in 30:51 and 31:00 adding yet more depth to the girls team. It’s crazy to think that just 2 years ago only 1 girl on the entire team ran under 33 minutes at this time trial to start the season.
Emily De Dios and Jayson Garcia finished in 36:47 and 37:45. Alex Rios and Marisol Carlos rounded out the group in the 47 minute range.
As the team looks ahead at the season, the depth of the girls team should give the team a good shot at a 2nd consecutive winning season in the ‘B’ division. It should also produce an absolutely lethal JV girls team. Last year at the final division race our JV girls achieved a perfect score against every team except Sobrato, as our girls finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th overall. This year’s JV girls team should be even better as no girl on the JV squad has aged out of it.
On the boys side, the focus will be on having a strong top 5, and on developing the freshmen boys to be ready to replace our senior heavy group next season. Especially if Melvin Estrada can find his form, the boys team will be a force to be reckoned with.
The team will contest the Alumni Race on August 30th in Alum Rock Park at 6:00 P.M. Any alumni, fans of James Lick, or runners in the area are welcome.
After that the team will have it’s first league meet of the season on the early date of September 4th at Montgomery Hill.
This blog is in two parts. The first part is a summary of the 2019 track team. The 2nd part is located at the end of that post, and is a summary of the Ryan/Oyama Awards ceremony.
A I write this there are only 6 school days left at James Lick High School. Graduation for the class of 2019 is a week away, and all of the sports teams have finished their competition. It is a good time to look back on the track season briefly, and to recap the school year in terms of sports.
We went into the 2019 track season with the goal of achieving a winning record in the ‘B’ division in what was only our 2nd year in the division in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). The boys managed to achieve this goal, going 5-2. The girls had a myriad of issues and only went 2-5. Nonetheless, the combined 7-7 record was an improvement on the 6-8 record the year before.
The team looked very strong at our first meet against Live Oak. The Comets took dominant wins against a quality Acorn team. At that moment, hopes were very high that both teams could be a force in the division.
As the season went on, the boys team showed more depth than any James Lick track team in nearly 20 years. For example, this season the Comets had 11 different boys run under 13 seconds for the 100 (they were all under 12.8 in fact). Since the year 2000, the most Comet boys to break that barrier in a single season had been the 8 boys who managed it last year. Of the 11 who managed it this year, only two were seniors.
Only one Comet in the last years had run under 55 seconds for the 400, Gustavo Aguilera in 2017. This year two Comets accomplished the feet, with Misael Herrera leading the way at 54.51, the best time since I’ve been coaching. We had 9 different boys run under 60 seconds in the 400, also a best of the last decade.
In my first 3 years of coaching, we had only 3 different boys who managed to long jump farther than 18 feet. This year alone we had 6 (None of them had done it before this year) and none of them are seniors. We also had our first 20 foot long jumper in over a decade in Salvador Lopez, who missed making CCS by only one place this year.
Perhaps the biggest leap forward for the boys was in pole vault however. Coach Raul Lopez worked hard last year to produce two vaulters for the first time in decades. Mark Orpia went 9-0 and Rodolf Ocampo 8-6. The two are the top returning vaulters in the division for next year, with PRS of 10-8 and 10-2. Rodolf also became the first Comet in 11 years to run under 16 seconds in the 110 hurdles. The 4×100 team ran 45.06, the best time by a James Lick team since 2002. The 4×400 achieved the same distinction running 3:36.78.
The team’s most valuable athletes based on league meet points scored were as follows:
1. Rodolf Ocampo: 106.75
2.Mark Orpia: 83
3. Salvador Lopez: 77.50
4. Raven Alcantara: 53.50
5. Erik Olsvold: 39.50
The top 4 point scorers on the boys side were all juniors, as were the 6th and 7th (Jerricho Habon with 38 and Geovanny Campos with 34). For reference, Rodolf is only the 2nd Comet boy to score over 100 points in a season since I’ve been coaching, and the first to do so in the ‘B’ division.
The team’s only real weakness was the throwing events, as demonstrated by the chart below.
Average Points Per Dual Meet
Points Available Per Meet
Average Points as percentage of Available
League Finals Points
The large amount of juniors on the team puts us in a great place for next year on the boys side, especially if we can find some strong throwers.
What started off as a season full of hope on the girls side, became a season of struggle unfortunately. We had a number of injuries, and some issues with academic ineligibility that really held the girls team back.
While the team had some standout athletes, team depth was simply not there. Valeria Cortez won league titles in the discus and the 100 hurdles to cement her already impressive legacy. Marquise Nelson finished 2nd in the girls shot put and discus at division finals, along with a 2nd place finish for Arlet Miranda in the girls 800.
Average Points Per Dual Meet
Points Available Per Meet
Average Points as percentage of Available
League Finals Points
As you can see from the girls event scoring breakdown, the girls sprint team due to injuries and grade issues, was not where it needed to be for the team to be competitive. This lead to a deficiency in jumps as well, by division finals the team was not able to score a point in jumps.
This will be an area of emphasis for next season. With the team’s top 3 point scorers all graduating on the girls side, the team will need to re-load quickly.
The girls top point scorers were as follows:
Valeria Cotez: 155
Arlet Miranda: 71.25
Marquise Nelson: 61
Natalie Rem: 53.25
Yesenia Martinez: 49
Valeria’s point total is an unofficial team record (I only have records of points since I’ve been coaching) but it is a mark I do not see falling anytime soon.
Below are the top 3 marks in each events by the Comets this season:
# 2 Comet
# 3 Comet
Alcantara, Ocampo, Lopez, Campos
Alcantara, Merin, Lopez, Campos
Alcantara, Merin, Herrera, Campos
Lopez, Olsvold, Habon, Herrera
Herrera, Campos, Habon, Lopez
Herrera, Lopez, Merin, Habon
# 2 Comet
# 3 Comet
Galdamez, Cervantes, Hammond, Rem
Galdamez, Nelson, Adame, Gonzalez
Thach, Nelson, Hammond, Adame
Espana, Sanchez, Adame, Miranda
Hammond, Sanchez, Adame, Miranda
Hammond, Cervantes, Nelson, Adame
The track season is over and the team is now finishing up their schoolwork. The distance- underclassmen will begin training for cross country in June, and a few of the Comets will be competing in summer track meets as members of a few clubs, such as the Eastside Running club.
Thanks for reading!
It was a down year for the school overall. The 2017/2018 school year saw James Lick finish with a combined record of 101-85-4, the first combined winning record for the school in many years. This year the school went 67-85-4. It should be acknowledged however that the James Lick girls basketball team moved up to the ‘B’ division, which made it more difficult to obtain a great win/loss record.
We had the 2019 addition of the Ryan/ Oyama Awards on Tuesday May 21st in the James Lick gym. This ceremony is our signature end of the year award ceremony for all sports, and the Ryan award is the award for our best senior student-athlete as determined by their four years of athletics for the school. The Oyama award is the female equivalent.
The award ceremony begins with the coaches awards. Every team is allowed to give out two awards for each group on their team. For example, in cross country we are able to give two varsity and two JV awards for both boys and girls.
The JV girls awards went to Jessica Cervantes as the JV girls MVP and Estefani Herrera for the girls most improved runner. On the boys side, Gustavo Madrigal was our most improved JV runner and Omar Fimbres was our team MVP.
Arlet Miranda was our varsity girls MVP and Belen Sanchez was our most improved athlete. On the boys side, MVP went to Mark Orpia and Most Improved went to jared Resendiz.
In track, we gave our JV awards to Lizbeth Espana and Mya Hammond on the girls side, and Jordan Laguna and Dekota Castro-Lopez on the boys side. Valeria won the team MVP for girls and Adriana Marcelino was most improved. On the boys side, Adrian DeLaRosa won an award for leadership, and Rodolf Ocampo was our MVP.
Next up were the class awards. Jhesselyn Santos won freshmen girl of the year. She participated in cross country, wrestling, and track. She was a strong young athlete in the sports I coach, and she won the most improved award for JV wrestling.
Jordan Laguna won the boys freshmen of the year. He excelled as a jumper in track and besides our award, he won an award for wrestling as well. Sophomore of the year went to a couple more XC runners. Omar Fimbres won the boys award, he played basketball and baseball in addition to being a strong cross country runner. Esetfani Herrera won the girls award, she played soccer besides running cross country and track.
Dulce Jacobo, one of the stars of the school’s championship volleyball team, and the school’s ‘B’ division basketball team, won junior of the year. I’ve been trying to get Dulce to join track for several years now to no avail. Rodolf won the boys junior of the year in something of an upset victory considering there were several 3 sport junior athletes of comparable caliber, whereas Rodolf only ran cross country and track.
Finally the moment everyone was waiting for, the Ryan/Oyama Awards themselves. The Ryan Award went to Misael Herrera, the 3rd straight track athlete to win it following Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora. Misael competed in football and track all four years of his HS career, and also competed in wrestling his junior and senior year. He is a dedicated and very hard working teammate. His victory was not shocking considering he had won freshmen of the year, sophomore of the year, and junior of the year throughout his career.
The girls competition however was very tight. It’s difficult to compare across eras, but I think there is a legitimate case to be made that the 2019 girls class is the best athletic class in James Lick history.
The girls class of 2019 produced 6 division titles for the school. Of those 6, 4 came in sports that James Lick had never won a championship in. During Arlet and Valeria’s freshmen year, they both scored a ton of points towards helping us win our first ever championship in girls track. This duo were the 1-2 punch that helped us repeat this feat in 2017, and saw us move up to the ‘B’ division for the first time.
In the fall of 2017, Valeria was the setter for the school’s first ever championship in girls volleyball. The star of the team was the middle hitter, Marquise. Marquise used her height to excel at spiking, and this duo was the driving force behind their back-back titles in girls volleyball.
In winter of 2018, the girls basketball team won their first title since 1997, lead by the efforts of Marquise, and other key contributors from the class of 2019 like Corina Gutierrez and Serena Salas (both also played for the championship volleyball team). The girls softball team was lead by star pitcher Corina, and twice finished with a record of 17-4 during this four year span, missing a title by one game twice.
In addition to her prowess in volleyball and track, Valeria made it to the State meet in wrestling with a 3rd place finish at CCS finals. This to say nothing of the accomplishments of 3 sport athletes like Belen Sanchez, who was also a key to several team records in cross country this season, a team captain on the soccer team and a member of both track championship teams.
In most years, I think Arlet would have been a shoe in for the Oyama award. She is a 4 time CCS qualifier (3 in cross, one in track) who has won individual league championships and lead a team to two league titles, all while maintaining a 4.0. The high number of string 3 sport athletes made it so that she was not even in the top 3 candidates considered.
In the end, Valeria won the Oyama award against a very deserving runner up in Marquise. To me, this was the toughest call between any Oyama or Ryan award duo that I’ve ever seen. I think either lady could have taken home the honors.
That puts a wrap on another year of James Lick sports. James Lick graduation is on Wednesday May 29th at the football field beginning at 7 PM. The final day of school is on May 30th.
Counting the relay athletes, the Comets had 9 CCS qualifiers from the BVAL Finals meet on Thursday May 2nd at Westmont High School. This is the most athletes the team has seen qualify for CCS in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). That being said, the team only produced 3 individual qualifiers, compared to 4 the year before.
The meet features the top 7 athletes from the ‘A’ division finals, the top 5 athletes from the ‘B’ division finals and the top 4 from the ‘C’ division finals. In some events, additional athletes competed in the case that the “At-large” mark was reached. For example if the 5th place time in the ‘C’ division final was high quality enough, they would also advance to BVAL finals.
For the most part, every event has 16 entries and the top 8 in each event advance to CCS Trials.
The meet began with the pole vault. Last year at BVAL finals, both Mark Orpia and Rodolf Ocampo competed, representing the Comets at the meet in Pole Vault for the first time in school history. They went 9-0 and 8-6 respectively, both PRs at the time. The duo has come a long way, with the pair achieving PRS of 10-8 and 10-2 respectively at this years addition. They placed 10th and 12th.
Next up was the girls discus. Valeria Cortez took 2nd overall with a toss of 111-1, sealing her 4th consecutive CCS appearance in the girls discus. Joe Amendt and Ruth Lebeau are the only other Comets (on record) to make CCS four times in a single event. Marquise Nelson managed a PR in the event though she came in 10th, ending her career with a best of 94- 4.5, the 5th best mark in school history in the discus.
The running events began at 5:00 PM with the 4×100. This years squad has established themselves as the best 4×100 team from James Lick in many years and they backed it up, becoming the first 4×100 team from James Lick to make CCS trials in the BVAL era. The squad of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos combined to run a seasons best 45.06 to place 7th, clinching their spot at CCS.
The next event with Comet competitors was the hurdles. Valeria ended her career in the event with a 17.28, finishing 10th place. Valeria’s PR of 16.75 in the event is currently the #3 all-time mark in school history (on record).It was an off race for her, where many times were hampered by a headwind. Yesenia Martinez was racing well until she clipped a hurdle and stumbled, losing her balance. She recovered but it was a poor time by her standards.
The performance of the day in my opinion, and perhaps the performance of my entire coaching tenure was Rodolf in the 110 hurdles. Last year, Rodolf began hurdling late in the season and ended the year with a PR of 19.01, not advancing to BVAL finals. This year, he improved dramatically, lowering his PR all the way down to 16.85 at ‘B’ division finals to place 3rd and qualify for BVALS. He went into BVAL finals ranked 11th, meaning he would need a big day to make CCS. Rodolf had more than a big day, he had an absolute breakthrough. He placed 5th in a massive PR of 15.97, making CCS by a wide margin. After “four-stepping” all year, it was Rodolf’s first time “Three-stepping” a race and it lead to the huge PR. Rodolf is the first boy to make CCS in the 110 hurdles in the BVAL era.
The Comets did not have any more competitors in the meet until the boys 100. Raven ran 11.63, the 2nd best time of his career in the event, placing 14th. Next up was the girls 800. After years of ups and downs, Arlet Miranda went out with the best time of her career, 2:28.08. This PR was not enough to get her to CCS however, as she finished 9th, one spot out of qualification. Arlet nonetheless ends her career #2 in school history in all 3 distance events.
Jerricho Habon competed in the boys 800 but had a poor race, gaining experience for next years addition. The final field events were going on at this time. Marquise Nelson threw 32-4.5 for 7th place in the girls Shot Put, punching her ticket to CCS trials. In the long jump, Sal barely missed his PR, going 20-3.5 but sadly finishing in 9th place. Even so, Sal had a great season as last year his best long jump was 17-10. Yeimili Adame contested the girls 3200 for the Comets, running 13:27, a PR by more than 30 seconds, moving her to #7 on the schools all time list in the event.
The final event of the day was the boys 4×400. The Comets went in ranked 11th, needing a great performance and some good luck to make it through to CCS. The team of Sal, Erik Olsvold, Jerricho and Misael Herrera combined to run 3:36.78, the best time by any JL 4×400 team since the 3:35 clocking of 2002. Initially, it looked like the Comets were 10th, but disqualifications to Willow Glen and Pioneer moved the Comets up to 8th place.
The Comets who advanced to CCS trials will be competing on Saturday May 11th at Westmont High School with the chance to end the season with some good marks, and to potentially make CCS finals. The 9 total qualifiers is the highest number the Comets have ever produced at BVAL finals.
Our track was a source of frustration for the vast majority of the season. We were able to practice on it for the first time on Tuesday April 2nd. After a long wait however, our track was complete in time to host our final dual meet of the season, as the Oak Grove Eagles took to James Lick on Thursday April 11th.
It was also the final home meet (and regular season meet) of the careers of several of the teams key athletes over the past four years. This is especially true of Valeria Cortez, Arlet Miranda, Erik Olsvold, Misael Herrera and Adrian DeLaRosa. These athletes competed in James Lick track for 4 years. When Arlet and Valeria were freshman, they entered a James Lick team that had never won a championship in girls track and field. They finish their careers with two BVAL league championships (‘C’ division) and have helped the Comets prove that they can compete in the ‘B’ division.
The meet began in high spirits on our home track, but our signature gusting headwind was present for the entire meet, greatly hurting the times on the day.
The meet began with the 4×100. The team of Lisbeth Galdamez, Marquise Nelson, Yeimili Adame and Valeria Gonzalez combined to take the win 56.22 The ‘B’ team of Chantrea Thach, Mya Hammond, Jenny Fimbres and Azalea Galinato ran 58.24 as well, a solid ‘B’ team showing.
On the boys side, Raven Alcantara, Jordan Laguna, Salvador Lopez and Geo Campos combined to run 46.12 on the windy day, taking the victory. Jamie Vong, Misael Herrera, Adrian DeLaRosa and Angel Guerrero combined to run 49.26 for 2nd, beating the Eagles as well.
In her final home meet, Arlet took the win in the 1600, cruising to a 5:52 and looking back at full health as she did it. Belen Sanchez ran 6:25 for 3rd place. Jhesselyn Santos and Melanny Sanchez both ran small PRS of 7:35 and 7:41 respectively. On the boys side, the Comets netted a sweep between Jerricho Habon, Mark Orpia and Brandon Cruz. Melvin Estrada was 4th and the boys packed together the whole way to make it a Comet 1-2-3-4. Dekota Castro-Lopez won the frosh/soph version of the event.
In the girls 100 hurdles, Valeria won to go 7 for 7 for the 3rd consecutive year in dual meet 100 meter hurdles in a bit over 18 seconds. Yesenia Martinez took 2nd and Oak Grove 3rd. For fun, Arlet ran the race as well, clocking 21.88 for the event. On the boys side Rodolf Ocampo had an upset victory in 17.55 over Julius Jacroux of Oak Grove who ran 17.61. Josh Merin was 3rd in his debut in the event, running 21.18. Dekota won the frosh/soph version of the event.
After missing the last meet with illness, Yeimili Adame lead a Comet sweep in the girls 400, running 1:08 to seal the victory. Mya Hammond and Jessica Cervantes took 2nd and 3rd in PRS of 1:14 and 1:16 respectively. Erik took home the victory in the 400, running a seasons best 56.39 to claim the win. Josh was 3rd in 58 seconds. It was a brutal day for everyone having to fight the wind on the home straightaway.
It was not much easier for the throwers as well, who were throwing into the wind. Despite the conditions, Valera threw a very strong 108 for the win in discus. Marquise Nelson took 3rd with a best 70 feet. Lizbeth Alonzo and Sandra Naranjo managed PRS of 54-7 and 52-3 respectively. On the boys side, Nathan RIos took the win in 83-0. Alexis Sarellano was 2nd with a new PR of 71-8. Luther Villaspir managed a PR of 60-6.5 as well.
In shot put, Nathan and Rodolf went 1-2 with tosses of 31 feet each. Isaac Otrega won the frosh/soph version of the event with a toss of 29-1. Valeria won the Shot Put for her 3rd win of the day, going 31-7. Marquise was 2nd in 29 feet. Adriana Marcelino managed a small PR of 23-6, and Lizbet Alonzo had a massive PR of 22-2. Sandra made it a 2nd big PR on the day as well, throwing 18-3 compared to a previous best of 16-10.
Back to the running events, it was time for the 100m dash into the awful wind. Lisbeth Galdamez took 2nd for the Comets in nearly a dead-heat, as she and the Oak Grove winner ran 14.67. On the boys side, Jordan and Geo combined for 2nd and 3rd in the varsity 100 while Dekota won the frosh/soph version of the event.
Arlet suffered a narrow loss in the 800, finishing in 2:39, a fairly strong dual meet time. Ashley Preciado ran a big seasons best of 2:52.05, now just a few seconds off of her PR for 3rd place. Ruth Rodriguez managed a small PR despite the wind, running 3:08.59. Jerricho won the boys 800 in 2:15 to complete the first 1600/800 double victory of his career.
Valeria, Yeimili and Belen combined to sweep the girls 300 hurdles, though none of the times were particularly great. Rodolf, Mark and Adrian combined to sweep the boys 300 hurdles as well, though the times saw similar impairment.
In the girls 200, both Mya and Azalea Galinato scored for the team. It was the first point of Azalea’s career, always a noteworthy achievement. Misael managed a final win on his home track in 26.20, with Geo taking 2nd for the Comets as well.
Oak Grove took 1st and 2nd in the girls 200, while Mariana Perez took home a point for the Comets. Mark, Brandon and Melvin swept the boys 3200, finishing with 23 of 27 possible distance points on the day.
Both James Lick 4×400 teams won on the day as well, giving the Comets the win without the field event scoring even being completed.
The Comet boys swept the long jump between Sal (18-8) Jamie (18-2) and Geo (17-11). In the triple jump it was a 2-3 with Sal going 38-2 and Jordan 37-7. Bryan Rdoriguez on both frosh/soph jumps with leaps of 13-9 and 30-10.
Yesenia Martinez took 2nd place in triple jump with a best of 27-1. She also won the high jump on the day, going 4-3. On the boys side, Sal took 2nd in High Jump at 5-5 with Erik taking 3rd in a new PR of 5-3. Josh also managed to go 5-3 for a new PR.
The Comets had a strong day in the pole vault as well. Rodolf took the win and cleared 10-0 for the first time, the first Comet to do so in decades. Mark took 2nd in 9-6. Adrian managed a new PR of 8-6 and Josh also cleared 8-0 for the first time to give the team 4 different height clearing vaulters.
Yesenia also cleared 6-0 for the first time to take the win. She is the first female vaulter from James Lick to clear a heigh in pole vault in this century.
When all was said and done, the final scores were as follows:
James Lick: 107
Oak Grove: 29
James Lick: 81
Oak Grove: 41
James Lick: 35
Oak Grove: 29
This meets the team finishes the season a combined 7-7 on varsity, an improvement over last years 6-8. In particular, the boys did well with a 5-2 record, the first JL track team in BVAL history to have a winning record in the ‘B’division.
With the regular season over, the Comets highest point scorers (through all 7 meets) are as follows:
Rodolf Ocampo: 90 points
Mark Orpia: 73 points
Salvador Lopez 68 points
Raven Alcantara 44 points
Erik Olsvold 40 points
Valeria Cortez: 122 points
Natalie Rem: 53 points
Arlet Miranda: 52 points
Marquise Nelson: 45 points
Yesenia Martinez: 44 points
Since I’ve been coaching, I’ve kept track of the points scored for every meet each season. So far the highest scoring season was Valeria’s sophomore year where she scored 130 points. She was only at 102 for that season through the dual meets however. As a result, she is likely to shatter this unofficial team record at division finals despite us being in the ‘B’ division with her sophomore year coming back in the ‘c’ division.
The team will head to the San Mateo High School for the Bearcat Invitational on Saturday April 13th. This meet has historically lead to great PRS for the team, although this is the first time the meet will be held before spring break for the team which may hurt performances slightly. The hard work of training during spring break is what always leads to PRS in my opinion.
After this weekend, only the teams top athletes will remain for ST division finals on Thursday April 18th and Saturday April 20th at Lincoln High School. Most of the trials will take place on Thursday with finals on Friday. A few field and distance events will contest their finals on Thursday however.
For the first time since 2007 when they were a member of the West Valley Division (‘C’ division) James Lick contested a quad meet in their league season. The Santa Teresa Division (‘B’ division) quad meet was hosted at Lincoln High School on Thursday April 4th. Besides Lincoln, James Lick also competed against the Sobrato Bulldogs and the Piedmont Hills Pirates.
Even though 4 teams competed, each event was scored as a dual meet, similar to in cross country. For example, the 4×100 featured four teams competing at once, but would be scored James Lick Vs Lincoln, James Lick vs Sobrato and James Lick vs Piedmont.
With the wins/losses being determined on the single day, this was the most consequential league track meet (in terms of season record) for James Lick in my coaching career.
The meet began with the varsity girls 4×100. The Comet team of Lisbeth Galdamez, Jessica Cervantes, Mya Hammond and Natalie Rem ran 56.02, a seasons best time. The girls team managed to beat Sobrato in the event, though they fell to Piedmont and Lincoln respectively. The boys team of Raven Alcantara, Salvador Lopez, Rodolf Ocampo and Geo Campos also took 3rd in 46.16, beating Sobrato.
Next up on the track was the 1600. In the girls event, Arlet Miranda took 5th overall, losing to two Sobrato athletes and two Lincoln athletes as she continues to work back towards full health. Arlet managed to lead a sweep of Piedmont Hills however, with Ashley Preciado and Lizbeth Espana completing the sweep in season best times of 6:37 and 6:38. Melannie Sanchez ran a big PR of 7:42, breaking the 8 minute barrier for the first time. Jose Ruiz ran a seasons best 6:14 in the frosh/soph boys 1600.
Standout Lincoln athlete Omar Pina (who has run 4:27 for 1600 and 9:39 for 3200 this year) won all 3 distance events handily, but each time a Comet followed. In the 1600, Erik Olsvold was 2nd in a seasons best 4:51. Brandon Cruz ran 5:07 to complete a 1-2 punch against Piedmont.
The next event was the 100 hurdles. Valeria Cortez won overall with a seasons best 17.02. Yesenia Martinez had a very off race by her standards however, clipping a hurdle badly, resulting in a disqualification when she used her hand to clear the next hurdle. She was in 2nd place in the race before this moment.
Dekota Castro-Lopez won the frosh/soph boys 110 hurdles in a PR of 21.88. Rodolf Ocampo took 2nd overall in the varsity 110, running 17.18, the 2nd best time of his career. He only lost to Lincoln’s best athlete. Mark Orpia took 4th in a PR of 18.47, beating every athlete from Piedmont and Sobrato.
The team was without top 400 runner Yeimili Adame who was home sick. Without Yeimili there, the Comets had no in the event, however Yeimili’s season best would have been 2nd overall. This missed opportunity would loom large for the team. In the boys 400, Misael Herrera and scored points for the team, though neither had a particularly good race.
Sprint times across the board were not great on the day for the Comets. Natalie Rem lead the Comets in 8th overall (out of 42 athletes). She scored 3 points for the team against Sobrato and 1 against Lincoln with a time of 14.20, not near her PR or seasons best. Lisbeth Galdamez scored a point against Sobrato, running 14.36. Azalea Galinato ran 14.59, lowering her PR from 14.80. Many other Comets competed in the event. Standout performers include Krystal Tran who ran a PR of 16.23 and Emily De Dios who lowered her PR to 16.52.
Jordan Laguna ran 12.36 to win the boys frosh/soph 100 in a new PR. Jordan is really busting out as a potential star in future years, as arguably the most impressive freshmen boy we’ve seen in years. In the boys varsity 100, Raven Alcantara took 2nd overall in 11.77, the 2nd best time of his career. Geo Campos took 9th overall in 12.10, scoring a point against Sobrato in the process. Adrian DeLaRosa ran a seasons best 12.77 and Erik ran a PR of 13.16.
In the girls 800, Arlet had a strong racing, taking 2nd in 2:34 and defeating star runners such as Emily Minjares of Lincoln and Emily Harris of Sobrato. Mya ran a PR of 2:57 to score a point against Piedmont and Sobrato as well. Mariana Perez ran a seasons best 3:19. In the varsity 800, Erik and Jerricho Habon managed a 2-3 overall finish, only losing to Omar of Lincoln. For Jerricho, the 2:10.75 clocking was a PR. Adrian ran 2:58 for the 800, as he pursues the unusual feet of achieving a mark in every single track event.
Meanwhile, the field events were well under way. In the girls Shot Put, Marquise Nelson took the win in a new PR of 32-0. Valeria was 3rd overall with a toss of 31-3, with a Sobrato athlete just 1 inch ahead of her for 2nd. Adriana Marcelino threw a PR of 22-3, as did Lizbet Alonzo who threw 20-1, breaking the 20 foot barrier for the first time.
In the boys Shot Put, Rodolf threw 34-2 to take 4th overall despite his small frame. Josh Merin managed a point in the boys discus against Sobrato, though it was not a good day by his standards. The girls version of the event was the best performance of the meet for the team. After an off day at the firebird relays, the gilrs throwers stepped up big. Valeria threw 109-9 to win the meet. Marquise threw 80-0 for 2nd and Adriana had a massive PR, throwing 74-7.50 for 3rd place.
It was overall a rough day in the horizontal jumps for every school, though the team did have a few standout performers. The first of which was Natalie, who triple jumped a PR of 33-4.25, missing winning the meet by only a half inch. She only lost to one athlete from Piedmont Hills. Even more impressive was Jordan in the frosh/soph triple jump. His previous PR was 34 feet, and he went off for a 37-9.50 jump. He easily won the frosh/soph event, and would have been 2nd in varsity on the day! Bryan Rodriguez also jumped a PR, going 30-5 for 2nd place. The varsity triple jump was an off day for the Comets, but Sal, Raven and Jamie Vong did go 2-3-4 overall.
In the long jump it was a similarly rough day. Jamie and Geo went 3-4 in the event overall, though neither was near their best marks. The girls scored only 1 point in long jump, against Sobrato.
Back to the running events, Valeria took 3rd overall in the 300 hurdles, with Arlet 4th. On the boys side, it was a 1-2 finish for the Comets between Rodolf and Mark.
The girls 200 continues to be a weakness for the team overall. Natalie lead the team with a time of 30.48. Mya Hammond was next with a big PR of 30.52. Azalea ran a second big PR on the day, stopping the clock at 30.80. The team was swept by Lincoln and Piedmont though they went 1-2 against Sobrato. Jordan took 3rd in the frosh/soph 200 with a new Pr of 25.94.
It was a similar result in the boys 200, with the Comets being swept by Lincoln and Piedmont but Josh and Geo forming a 1-2 against Sobrato. Jamie ran a huge PR of 26.50 in the event as well.
In the girls 3200, Sobrato swept but the Comets and Lincoln had a 1st place. The team of Lizbeth Espana and Ruth Rodriguez managed a 1-2 against Piedmont however, with both girls running PRs of 14:14.08 and 14:48.21 respectively. On the boys side, Mark and Brandon managed a 2-3 overall finish, Brandon also ran a small PR of 11:23.
The final field event of the day was the high jump. Marquise and Yesenia went 4-4 ( a PR for Marquise) with both girls scoring against Lincoln and Sobrato. Sal won the boys high jump, matching his PR of 5-8. Josh went 5-0 to score as well.
The meet ended with the 4×400, though the Comets didn’t run their best team on either side. Lincoln did not have the pole vault set up, and we are the only school with vaulters. As a result we will contest the pole vault at our newly resurfaced track.
With Pole Vault Pending, 5/6 varsity matchups are decided. The scores are as follows:
Lincoln 84.00 43.00 James Lick
James Lick 71.50 54.50 Piedmont Hills
James Lick 90.50 36.50 Sobrato
Lincoln 82.00 44.00 James Lick
Piedmont Hills 71.00 55.00 James Lick
Sobrato 64.00 62.00 James Lick
If a James Lick girl clears height in pole vault, the Sobrato result would switch from a loss to a win.
The teams combined record with one dual meet left is 5-7. The varsity boys are 4-2 and the varsity girls (pending) are 1-5.
The team will head to the Quicksilver Classic on Saturday April 5th and then will host Oak Grove in their final dual meet of the season on April 11th.
The James Lick Comets took to Fremont High School on Saturday March 31st for arguably the teams favorite invitational, the Firebird Relays. The meet features combination relays in the field events and hurdles. Every team with 3 athletes in an event, 3 varsity girl long jumpers for example, will have their marks added up. The 3 best teams in each event based on this format receive medals and score points for their teams.
Every year we gear up to field combination relays here, taking a small break from striving for individual PRs, to go for team accomplishments. It means alot for athletes who are new at track or are usually nowhere near the top of their event to be able to pursue medals. Overall on this day, the Comets netted 32 medals as a team.
The meet however did start with the individual hurdle events. Valeria Cortez just missed medaling, taking 5th overall in a seasons best 17.04 (3rd was 16.96). Yesenia Martinez won her heat in 18.99, her 2nd best time of the season despite a bad stumble on the 8th hurdle. Rodolf Ocampo ran 17.38 in the boys 110, a solid performance, though just off of his wind legal PR of 17.29.
The boys 4×100 team of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Misael Herrera and Geovanny Campos ran 46.14 for 8th place in the varsity boys 100. Last year at Firebird an almost identical team (Salvador Lopez instead of Misael Herrera) ran 48.39 at this event. This team continues to improve by leaps and bounds, and with our 5 fastest sprinters being juniors, it makes the future very exciting indeed.
The field event relays got under way with the Varsity Boys triple jump. Sal lead the team with a small PR of 38-2.50. Jamie Vong achieved a new seasons best of 36-10.50. Angel Guerrero went 32-8. The team was hampered by the fact that Raven was not able to achieve a mark. Raven has been having major issues with scratches of late in the horizontal jumps, an issue we will be working to fix this week. The team just missed medaling, placing 4th as a unit.
In the girls long jump, Natalie Rem went a seasons best 14-4 and Lisbeth Galdamez jumped 13-6. The Comets did not have a 3rd athlete to complete the relay however.
The first medals of the day came in the varsity girls shot put relay. Valeria Cortez (31-5.25) Marquise Nelson (30-11.50) and Natalie with a very strong debut of 25-8.50 completed the relay. The Comets placed 2nd overall in the event, out of 14 teams with athletes competing in the event. Adriana Marcelino also threw for the team. She threw 21-10.75, a seasons best and only a quarter inch off of her PR.
Three frosh/soph girls competed in the 1600 with great results as well. Ruth Rodriguez lead the freshmen in a new PR of 6:47.57. Estefani Herrera broke the 7 minute barrier for the first time, clocking in at 6:52.20. Mariana Perez ran a seasons best 7:02.75 as well.
The next event was the DMR (Distance Medley Relay). The first leg runs 1200 meters, 2nd runs 400, 3rd runs an 800 and the anchor runs a 1600. There are only a few results in the event (on record) in school history, but the Comets added a few more at Firebird. The varsity girls team of Belen Sanchez, Arlet Miranda, Ashley Preciado and Yeimili Adame ran 15:02.87 to place 2nd and win themselves medals. The frosh/soph team of Mya Hammond, Jana Kikia, Jessica Cervantes and Lizbeth Espana ran 15:45.86, 10 seconds better than last years frosh/soph team.
On the boys side, the team was Melvin Estrada, Misael Herrera, Jerricho Habon and Mark Orpia. The team stopped the clock at 11:53.48, the 4th best mark on record in school history out of 10 total marks.
The distance crew was at it again later in the 4×800. The varsity girls team again took 2nd, finishing in 11:41. The frosh/soph team took 3rd place between the team of Estefani, Jana, Mya and Jessica. The varsity boys were unable to medal in a competitive race, but ran a 9:23.71, 11 seconds better than last year between Melvin, Josh Merin, Mark and Jerricho.
A few Comets contested the open 100, though none quite achieved PRs. Lis ran 14.10, and Chnatrea Thach clocked in at 15.58. Krystal Tran ran 16.35 in the frosh/soph version of the event. Angel was the only boy to run the 100, running a 12.82.
The field events marched on with the boys long jump. Sal went 19-1.50, the 2nd best jump of his career to lead the team. Jamie went 18-5 to miss his PR by 1 inch. Geo did not have his best day, going 17-7 with Raven also struggling at 17-4. Nonetheless, the team did manage to medal between Sal, Jamie and Geo, placing 3rd, just inches off of 2nd.
The girls discus throwers just missed medaling, placing 4th. Valeria and Marquise had off days, throwing 95 feet and 69 feet respectively. Adriana broke through with a PR of 66-7 however. This had been a long time coming for Adriana, whose previous best of 65-0 had stood for over 2 full years. It was a big moment for her and throws coach Raul Lopez.
It was a different story in the girls triple jump however. Natalie took 3rd overall with a leap of 31-8.25. Marquise made her triple jump debut and went 28-6.5. Yesenia went 26-6 an off day by her standards. Nonetheless, the girls won the triple jump replay!
The boys also got medals in the high jump. Geo Campos cleared 4-10, while Josh cleared 5-0. Sal completed his best ever jumps day (PR in triple, 2nd best mark in long jump) with a PR in the high jump of 5-8, tying him for 3rd overall.The girl high jumpers also took 2nd as a team. Marquise went 4-0, with Yesenia and Lisbeth both going 4-2.
With the field events completed, the Comets had two running events left. In the girls 300 hurdles, the team of Valeria, Arlet and Yesenia managed to take 2nd as a team for the combination relay. The boys managed the same feet with some big PRS.
Sal went 45.74 for his 2nd try at the event, a very strong mark when one considers how bad his form was in the race. Mark managed a huge PR of 46.02 as well, beating his previous best by over 2 seconds. Rodolf had an off race, but did enough to ensure a 2nd place for the team in the combo relay.
The final event for the Comets on the day was the SMR (Sprint Medley Relay). It consists of two 100 meter legs, a 200 meter leg, and a 400 meter leg. This was only the 2nd time (on record) that the team contested this version of the event.
The girls team of Lisbeth, Natalie, Yeimili and Arlet ran 2:07.47, shaving two seconds off of last years time for a new school record. The frosh/soph team of Araceli Mejia, Krystal, Mya and Jessica ran 2:18.85.
On the boys side, Raven, Geo, Misael and Jerricho combined to run 1:45.00, 2 seconds better than last years mark for a new school record again. The ‘B’ team of Mark, Jamie, Angel and Josh ran 1:49.15 to end the Comets day.
When all was said and done, the Comets were 10th out of 42 teams with all 4 divisions combined (no Comets competed in frosh/soph boys). The team was a very strong 3rd place on the girls side.
With the confidence gained from the Firebird Relays, the team will head to Lincoln on Thursday April 4th for a quad meet against Lincoln, Piedmont and Sobrato. This meet will go a long way towards determining the Comets’ season record.
The team will then head to Leland High School on Saturday April 6th for the Quicksilver Classic.
The James Lick Comets had their 3rd dual meet of the season at Prospect High School on Thursday March 28th. It was a windy day at Prospect, with a strong headwind on the home straightaway, resulting in poorer marks for the sprinters than normal.
In any case, the Comets competed hard, winning the boys side to move to a record of 2-1, while the girls lost a very close dual (66-61) to fall to 1-2.
The meet began with the 4×100, and sprint depth is currently the team’s biggest weakness. Prospect won the 4×100 against the squad of Lisbeth Galdamez, Azalea Galinato, Jenny Fimbres and Yeimili Adame. On the boys side, the Comets nailed their first relay win of the season. Misael Herrera, Josh Merin, Raven Alcantara and Geo Campos ran 46.40 to take the victory.
The girls 1600 was next. Arlet Miranda is still battling illness and had to drop out of the girls 1600. Belen Sanchez took 2nd for the team in a seasons best of 6:24. In the same race, Estefani Herrera ran 7:01, a 14 second PR. Melanie Sanchez ran 8:18 for her debut in the event.
The boys side was a great battle for the win between Erik Olsvold and Jonathan Yuen of Prospect. The lead changed hands multiple times with Jonathan taking the win in 4:52.48 to Erik’s 4:52.52. This was a big seasons best for Erik and is the fastest time of his career since his sophomore season. Erik is rebounding strongly from injuries that hampered him junior year. Jerricho Habon was 4th in a PR of 5:01.8. In the frosh/soph version of the event, Dekota Castro-Lopez won the 1600 with a PR of 5:55, breaking 6:00 for the first time.
The girls 100 hurdles was the 3rd straight dual meet victory of the season for Valeria Cortez in the event. Yesenia Martinez was 2nd and Natalie Rem 3rd completing a Comet sweep. On the boys side, Rodolf Ocampo won the boys 110 hurdles. Dekota won the frosh/soph version of the event. With the strong headwind, the times were not particularly fast in this event.
In the girls 400, Yeimili Adame ran 1:07.54 to win the event, a very strong showing considering the conditions. Chantrea Thach made her debut in the event, clocking 1:20. Misael Herrera won the boys 400 in a seasons best 56.78. Prospect took 2nd and 3rd in both 400s.
By this time, several field events were already completed. It was a very high quality dual meet in girls throws. Valeria took 2nd despite a throw of 33-3, a mark that would have easily won the team’s previous duals. Marquise Nelson managed a massive PR of 31-1.5. This was only good for 4th however in a very competitive dual. Adriana Marcelino managed a huge seasons best of 21-10.5, only a half inch off of her PR. Kiely Leal threw a seasons best of 20-4. Lizbet Alonzo threw a PR of 19-10, as did Sandra Naranjo with a new personal best of 16-10.
In girls discuss, Valeria won the meet with a toss of 106-3. Marquise took 2nd in a new PR of 89-3. Sandra managed a 2nd PR on the day, throwing over 50 feet for the first time. Lizbet and Kiely both netted seasons bests as well. On the boys side, Rodolf threw a new PR of 34-0 to take 2nd for the team, the first Shot Put points of the season for the boy Comets. In boys discus, Josh took 2nd in 84-0. Alexis managed big PRs in both throws, throwing 26-0 for Shot Put and 60-1 for discus.
Mark Orpia and Rodolf took 2nd and 3rd in pole vault on the boys side, with leaps of 9-0 and 8-6 respectively. Josh Merin was the only boy to clear a height in high jump, taking the win with a 5 foot clearance. On the girls side, Yesenia took 2nd in 4-4 with Lisbeth taking 3rd in 4-2. Marquise also managed a new PR of 4-2.
Back to the running events, the strong Prospect sprinters went 1-2, with Natalie taking 3rd. Again, times were not great due to the wind. Natalie for example ran 14.49 compared to a 13.90 clocking a week ago. The winner from Prospect only ran 13.8 compared to a season best 13.2. Jordan won the frosh/soph 100 in 12.7 and Isaac Ortega made his debut with a 14.79.
The comet boys swept the 100, with Raven, Geo, and Josh combining to accomplish the feet. Raven and Geo ran 12.12 and 12.48 respectively, but it was a PR for Josh who ran 12.57, despite the windy conditions. This shows that Josh is ready to run much faster with good conditions.
The girls 800 was a prospect victory with Erika Camacho and Ashley Preciado taking 2nd 3rd. It was a seasons best 2:58 for Ashley. Mya Hammond ran a PR of 2:58.49 just behind her. Melanie ran 3:48 for her first try at the event.
The boys version was another good battle. Jerricho had the lead with 100 to go, but lost to Jonathan before the line, Jerricho stopped the clock in 2nd with a time of 2:13.71. Brandon Cruz ran a PR of 2:19.01 in the race as well.
Valeria and Arlet took 2nd and 3rd in the girls 300 hurdles. On the boys side, Rodolf and Mark took 1st and 3rd in PRs of 45.59 and 48.54. It was a strong return meet for Mark, who after being held out a week with a minor foot injury will return to training next week.
In the girls 200, Yeimili ran a PR for 3rd place, stopping the clock at 30.10. The boys managed another sweep in the 200. Salvador Lopez lead the team in 25.13. Misael and Geo completed the sweep. Jordan won the frosh/soph 200, running 26.21 for his first try at the event.
Lizbeth Espana, Ruth Rodriguez and Mariana Perez combined to sweep the girls 3200. Emely Lopez broke the 16 minute barrier for the first time, clocking in at 15:55. On the boys side, none of the top Comets ran the 3200, though Adrian DeLaRosa and Alexis Sarellano did run it for fun. Adrian ran 14:55 and Alexis ran 15:59.
The horizontal jumps took a long time to get going. When they did, Prospect took the win in the long jump. Jamie Vong took 2nd in a PR of 18-6 and Sal was 3rd in 18-5. Bryan Rodriguez managed a big PR of 15-4 in the frosh/soph long jump, while Jordan took 2nd in 16-4. On the girls side, Prospect took 1st and 2nd, and 3rd went to Lis who had an impressive 14-0 debut in the event.
The Comet boys swept the triple jump. Raven matched his PR of 37-9. Jamie was 2nd in a seasons best 36-9 and Sal was 3rd in 36-8. Angel Guerrero managed a PR of 34-4. Jordan tripled jumped for the first time, going 32-10. Bryan also triple jumped for the first time, going 28-8 in the event.
The team was down by 9 points on the girls side with triple jump underway. Natalie took the win with a 30 foot jump. Yesenia took 2nd in 27-6. With a point up for grabs due to the lack of 3rd girl, Arlet tried her hand at triple jump and managed to score a point with a jump of 26-0.
With this sweep, the girls were tied at 61 points with the 4×400 relay remaining. On the boys side, the Comets had already clinched victory. The Comet boys still took the win with a time of 3:56. Misael, Jamie, Jerricho and Erik accomplished the victory. On the girls side however, Prospect took the win, sealing a narrow victory that came down to one event.
James Lick: 61
James Lick: 78
James Lick: 37
The Comets will head to on of our favorite invitationals of the year, the Firebird Relays, on Saturday March 30th.
Then the team will gear up for their quad meet again Lincoln, Piedmont and Sobrato on April 4th.
I can say on behalf of the team, that our defeat against Pioneer on Thursday March 21st was discouraging. We competed well and we knew going in that Pioneer was a good team. We were not prepared for the frankly crushing loss that we suffered, particularly on the boys side.
With that in the rear view mirror, 20+ Comet athletes took to De Anza College on Saturday March 23rd, focusing on improving their marks against good competition on excellent facilities. The De Anza Invitational was exactly the bounce back the Comets were looking for.
The meet began with the boys 4×100. In my most recent post, I discussed my excitement that the team had already run a low 46 second 4×100, when the team took until May to run that fast a year ago (and the 2019 team was already the 2nd best Comet relay team of the decade behind the 2018 crew). With that in mind, the teams goal was to break 46 seconds at the De Anza Invite, and seeing as the team was ranked 3rd in the meet, to hopefully place 3rd or higher and earn a medal.
The team came through in spades. Raven Alcantara, Josh Merin, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos combined to run 45.72 to win the De Anza invite in the event! The time was the 2nd best 4×100 time by James Lick in the last 10 years (last year at BVAL champs we went 45.50) and it’s the first time in many many years that James Lick won an invitational 4×100, albeit one that was fairly low-key.
At the same time, the Comets were dominating a very thin Pole Vault field. Rodolf Ocampo and Mark Orpia (who is dealing with injury preventing him from running) tied for the meet win at 9-6. This matched Rodolf’s PR, and it was Mark’s first time going 9-6. Adrian DeLaRosa placed 4th by matching his PR of 8-0.
Valeria Cortez won the next individual medal on the day with a 3rd place throw in Shot Put of 30-11. Adriana Marcelino also competed, throwing 19-10. Later in the girls discus, Valeria would placed 2nd with a toss of 103-2. Adriana threw 54-10 and Arlet Miranda, in a rare appearance in the girls discus, threw 49-0.
In other field event news, Josh cleared 5-2 in high jump for the first time, an achievement he’d been working towards all season. Yesenia Martinez went 4-2 in the girls edition of the event. Geo went 18-8 in boys long jump, rounding out the field events on a day where most of the team focused on their running events.
In the girls 1600, Jessica Cervantes and Ashley Preciado both ran big seasons bests of 6:34 and 6:43 respectively. Valerie earned her 3rd medal of the day with another 3rd place finish, with a time of 17.33 in the 100 hurdles. Yesenia ran 19.46. Rodolf ran a new PR of 17.11 in the boys hurdles to finish in 3rd, albeit with the benefit of a strong tailwind.
The Comets sent two of their distance boys into the 400 in search of PRS. Branon Cruz’ PR entering the race was 1:02 and Jerricho Habon’s was 59.20. Both boys rarely run the 400 since they focus on distance, and hadn’t run an open 400 since last year when they were sophomores. Both boys capitalized on the chance running massive PRs.
Jerricho lowered his time all the way down to 55.28, the best time by a Comet this season and tied for the 3rd best time any Comet has run since I’ve been coaching. Brandon lowered his PR to 58.02 as well.
Finally came the 100 meter dash, arguably the highlight of the meet for the Comets. Geo ran 11.95, the 2nd best time of his career. A heat later, Sal and Rodolf crushed their PRS, though the wind was a 2.4 meters per second, slightly over the “wind legal” standard of 2.0. That being said, the wind had only a little to do with Sal lowering his 100m best from 12.41 to 11.86 and Rodolf lowering his from 12.54 to 12.06. Misael also lowered his seasons best from 12.74 to 12.55. These performances were very affirming to me personally since this is my first time directly training the sprint crew since 2015.
On the girls side, Jessica lowered her PR to 14.87 while Arlet lowered hers to 15.09. Arlet has been dealing with stomach pain that held her out of her usual distance events at this meet. Yesenia also ran a seasons best 15.64 in the event.
The girls 800 saw several more PRS. Erika Camacho lead the Comets, running 2:57 to break the 3 minute barrier for the first time. Lizbeth Espana narrowly missed doing the same, running 3:00.64, a PR by 9 seconds. Estefani Herrera ran a huge PR, taking her PR from 3:21 to 3:11.
After a little rest came the 200s. Many of the distance girls participated. Jessica lowered her PR from 34.68 to 33.48. Erika lowered her PR from 37 seconds to 35. Estefani ran a 35 second clocking in her first try at the event.
On the boys side, Sal lead the group again with a huge PR. Sal stopped the clock at 24.26, his first time under 25 seconds. This was with a big aiding wind of 3.1m/s. Still a big PR. In the same heat, Jerricho lowered his PR to 25.93, breaking 26 for the first time.
Raven ran a PR of 24.81, but he continues to be very bad at the 200 considering his 100m PR is 11.72. Josh made a very solid 200m debut, running 24.89. Somehow Josh managed to run the 800 before the 200 despite being a sprinter/jumper.
The final open running event of the day was the 3200. Mya Hammond and Jessica ran together to both achieve PRs of 15:06 and 15:07 respectively. On the boys side, Brandon slugged out an 11:40 despite being fatigued.
The final event of the day was the 4×400, and the team was eager to go out with a bang. Misael, Sal, Josh and Jerricho combined to run 3:45.44 to finish 3rd place. Like with the 4×100, this is the best March relay time for a James Lick team that I have on record since the team of 2000 ran a 3:35 at the K-bell Invitational.
The team will continue to chase after the best teams of James Lick history, and we feel we are inching closer every day.
The team will take on Prospect next Thursday with renewed confidence. Then the team will head to arguably our favorite invite of each season, the Firebird Relays at Fremont High School.