Comets Set 30 PRS (Personal Records) at 2nd League Meet

The James Lick Comets had their 2nd league meet of the 2018 season on Thursday September 27th. The team was facing off against the Branham Bruins. The Bruins were a difficult opponent as they appear to the be the class of the ‘B’ division through the first month of the season. Although both varsity squads fell to the Bruins, the Comets had a huge number of athletes run PRs, achieving one of the highest PR totals for a single meet on record in school history.

The meet began with the frosh/soph boys. The Branham team is by far the best squad in the division, so the frosh/soph boys fell to 0-3. The Comet boys ran much better than they did last week however. Omar Fimbres placed 4th overall in 18:32 a PR by over 2 minutes. Jo-Jo Bradley ran 19:50, missing his PR. Jonathan Cortez and Jay Austria ran 20:15 and 20:58 respectively, both were PRs by over a minute. Alberto Trejo was the 5th boy in 23:51, a PR by over 40 seconds.

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The Varsity Girls before the race 

The Varsity girls were the next race up. It was a big matchup, with both teams at 2-0 and the Bruins one again defeated the Comets, though not without a big fight. Every member of the squad who had run Montgomery Hill before ran a big PR, and produced a thrilling race overall. Arlet Miranda took it out fast from the gun, leading the race through the first mile. Last week, she finished 3rd behind Emily Harris of Sobrato and Skyler Miller of Branham. Both girls are seniors like Arlet, so she has been running against them for 4 years, with Emily and Skyler trading race wins the majority of those years. Arlet took 2nd behind Emily today, and beat Skyler for the first time in her entire career in a league meet. This was a really clutch performance on behalf of Arlet, and it resulted in a PR of 19:10. This was a PR two years in the making (Arlet’s previous best was 19:13 as a sophomore) and was 46 seconds better than last week.

Yeimili Adame was the next Comet in, finishing in 10th place at 21:14. This was a PR by nearly a minute for Yeimili, as well as the first top 10 finish of her career. Belen Sanchez ran a PR of 22:18, beating her previous best of 23:30 by over a minute. Ashley Preciado and Jessica Cervantes ran 22:57 and 22:59, both girls had never run under 23 minutes at Montgomery Hill before. Jenny Villagomez ran a 12 second PR of 23:31 and Yesenia Martinez completed the course for the first time, running 25:15. The team ran a combined team time of 1:48:18, the 2nd best team in school history only to the team of 2014. The team has two more cracks at the record (1:45:57) this season.

The Varsity Boys had a very good race as well, going 7 for 7 on PRs, despite another loss to Branham. Mark Orpia lead the group again in 17:09, 15 seconds faster than last week. He was the only Comet to break the 18 minute barrier last week, while 5 boys accomplished the feet this week. Jerriho Habon and Melvin Estrada came in together at 17:30 and 17:31 (Previous PRs of 18:19 and 18:03 respectively). Brandon Cruz stoped the clock in 17:44, a PR by 52 seconds. Jared Resendiz finished in 17:59, shattering his PR of 19:03. Nien Tran managed a 40 second PR of 18:11 as the 6th boy and Geo Campos ran 19:10 to PR by 13 seconds.

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Brandon Cruz (Left) Geo Campos (Middle) and Jared Resendiz (Right) pacing together in the first mile 

The reserve boys were next, and they would match the 7 PRs of the varsity boys. Daniel Portillo lead the group in 19:29, a PR by 21 seconds. Gustavo Madrigal ran a PR of 20:21, shaving 36 seconds off of his previous best. Rodolf Ocampo did the same, running 21:35. Hu Thai ran a massive PR in just his 2nd race for the team. Hu finished in 24:19, a PR by 3 and a half minutes, yet he would not even lay claim to the biggest Comet improvement of the day. Josue Gomez finished in 25:34 after running over 31 minutes last week. Alexis Sarellano made his debut for the team in 25:41, not far behind. Rafael Yanez ran 27:12, after failing to break 30 minutes a week ago, and Kevin Santacruz rounded out the team by running 29:23. Kevin’s time from a week ago was 34:56.

The PRs continued with the final race of the day, the JV/varsity girls. Last week, Jessica won the race in 23:30 without another girl from any team running under 25 minutes. That earned her a spot on varsity this week. With Jessica moving up, Ruth Rodriguez won the race in a huge PR of 24:20, last week she ran over 26 minutes. Giulissa Correa and Estefani Herrera came in together at 25:35 and 25:39 respectively. Neither girl had run under 27 minutes before. Erika Camacho had an off race finishing in 26:20. Emely Lopez was the 5th girl in for the team in a 1 minute PR of 26:29. Francine Estranero ad Jhesselyn Santos both ran strong PRs of 28:18 and 28:28 respectively.  Jhesselyn had not run under 30 minutes for Montgomery Hill before. Araceli Mejia finished in 31:11, missing her PR by mere seconds to end the Comets day.  The JV girls came away with the win, moving to 3-0.

The day yielded more PRs than the Comets have ever achieved at the 2nd league meet of the season since I’ve been coaching. Things look very god for the team going forward, if they can continue to improve at such a high rate.

The varsity team will compete at the Stanford Invitational on Saturday September 29th before the entire team will head up to Crystal Springs for the Aragon hosted Center Meet on Wednesday October 3rd.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

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Comets Run Strong at first league meet: Lady Comets Start 2-0

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Arlet Miranda on her way to a 3rd place performance in ST division race 1

The James Lick Comets started their league season with ‘B’ division race #1 on Thursday September 20th. This season, all 4 league meets will be at Montgomery Hill, so this meet marked the first of many times the Comets will contest the hilly course this season.

All 8 teams in the ST (Santa Teresa) division were present, but the Comets were scoring against Prospect and Independence specifically. The frosh/soph boys kicked off the action on what became a 90 degree day. It wasn’t a great showing for the young Comets. Jo-Jo Bradley ran 19:33 a strong early season time to lead the group in 11th place. The next Comet in would be Omar Fimbres in 21:16. Jonathan Cortez, Jay Austria and Alberto Trejo rounded out the scoring team. Jordan Laguna and Josue Gomez all competed for the team as well. The team struggled as a whole, and fell to 0-2 to start the season. They will look to bounce back next week.

The Varsity Girls had a much better showing in their race. Arlet Miranda spearheaded the group, running 19:56 for 3rd place overall. Yeimili Adame was the 2nd Comet in, finishing 12th in 22:15. Belen Sanchez, Ashley Preciado and Jenny Villagomez rounded out the scoring team, coming in 19th, 20th and 22nd respectively. Ashley’s time of 23:34 was a huge PR, and Jenny took more than 30 seconds off of her PR by running 23:43 as well.  Ruth Rodriguez rounded out the group by running 26:07 for her first time on the course. The girls defeated Prospect and Independence handily to begin the season 2-0. The  girls have their sights on achieving the best record the girls team has ever gotten in the ‘B’ division. The team of 2013 went 4-3, for the only winning ‘B’ division season on record for the Lady Comets.

The varsity boys very nearly matched the girls results. They scored a win against Independence, but lost to Prospect in a very tight race, 27-28. Besides the close score, the race itself was very competitive. Jonathan Yuen from Prospect was the first runner in the dual across in 17:12. Mark Orpia for our Comets was not far back in 17:22, just holding off Prospect’s #2 runner at 17:27. Melvin Estrada ran a big PR of 18:03 to just hold of Prospect’s #3 who ran 18:06. Erik Olsvold and Jerricho Habon came in at 18:13 and 18:19, as James Lick’s 3rd and 4th runner. The victor was decided with Prospect’s #4 running 18:36.2, Brandon Cruz of James Lick ran 18:36.5 and Prospect’s 5th boy ran 18:37, before Nien Tran finished as James Lick’s 6th boy in 18:47. The Comets lost this dual by one point, and basically any one of the boys could have made the difference by beating 1 more Panther athlete. It was a great team effort nonetheless. Jared Resendiz rounded out the team in 19:03 Melvin, Jerricho, Brandon and Nien all ran PRs, and the varsity boys depth is much better than last year’s ST #1 when only 3 Comets ran under 19 minutes.

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Jerricho Habon (Left) and Melvin Estrada (Right) on their way to Personal Records 

 

The reserve boys were next. While technically a non-scoring race, the reserve team showed they were in the middle of the pack as far as the division was concerned. Geovanny Campos was the first Comet in at 19:23. A very strong showing for his first time on the course. He finished 4th out of 98 reserve boys, in what ended up being a very close race, with 1st place finishing in 19:22. Daniel Portillo was next in 19:50, a 20 second PR that landed Daniel in 8th place. It was Daniel’s first time breaking the 20 minute barrier at Montgomery Hill, and gave the Comets a total of 10 athletes (9 boys) on the day under 20 minutes. Gustavo Madrigal was next in 20:57, just his first time on the course. Rodolf Ocampo managed a 10 second PR in 22:07. Josh Merin ran 24:11 in his debut on the course. Huu Thai clocked in at at 27:45. Rafael Yanez and Kevin Santacruz rounded out the day for the boys team.

The JV girls proved to be the Comet’s strongest team on the day. The team was spearheaded by an outstanding performance by sophomore Jessica Cervantes in her first ever league meet. Jessica won the JV/reserve race, placing 1st out of 50 girls by more than 1 minute. Her time of 23:31 would have seen her place in the top half of the varsity race just ahead of Belen and Ashley who ran 23:33 and 23:34. Jessica’s improvement has been rapid. She didn’t join until the last week of August and ran 22:50 (10:09 pace) at the Alumni race for 2.25 miles. She was our 12th fastest girl at that time. Less than a month later, she climbed to our #3 on the day, and ran 8:35 pace, the fastest pace of her career on by far the toughest course she has run so far and on a 90 degree day! Jessica will be running varsity from here on out.

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Jessica Cervantes leading the JV girls race (She had to ask me for directions here since she had never run the course before and had no one to follow).

Jessica was not the only Lady Comet to give a great performance in the race. Between the 28 JV girls, and 22 reserve girls, Erika Camacho placed 3rd in 25:45 (previous PR 30:16). Mariana Perez was 5th in 26:39 (previous PR 28:40). Estefani Herrera and Giulissa Correa finished 10th and 13th overall in 27:29 and 27:45 respectively. (Estefani’s previous PR was 31:44). Emely Lopez and Mya Hammond rounded out the JV squad for the Comets.

Many of the team’s reserve girls were contesting the course for the first time. Jhesselyn Santos lead the group in 30:23. Francine Estranero ran 30:54. Angelina Guevara and Ellie Castro came in together at 32:12 and 32:13. Araceli Mejia and Adriana Marcelino stopped the clock at 33:58 and 34:56 respectively. Mia Hammond was right behind Adriana in 34:57.

The JV girls won handily, and look to be the best JV girls team in the division after race 1. To start the season:

F/S Boys: 0-2

JV Girls: 2-0 

Varsity Boys: 1-1

Varsity Girls: 2-0 

Reserve Boys (unofficial) : 1-1 

Reserve Girls (unofficial): 2-0 

The team will look for big improvements next week now that the first race is down and the team is used to the course. The team will face Branham on Thursday September 27th. This will be a tough matchup, as Branham is 2-0 on both varsity sides. The team will then send it’s varsity teams to the Stanford Invitational on Saturday September 29th.

Exciting things are ahead,

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Two James Lick Team Records Fall at STAL #4

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Varsity Boys Huddling Before The Race

On Thursday October 13th, the James Lick Comets faced off against the Oak Grove Eagles in STAL #4 at Montgomery Hill. The meet was a very successful one, in which two different team records fell, 20 PRs were set, and the team scored wins in every division.

The Frosh/Soph boys kicked off the action with a fantastic start. Vincent Giglio won the race in a huge PR of 17:54, finally rounding into form. Vincent’s time not only won the race, but is the best Frosh/Soph time for a James Lick runner at Montgomery Hill ever. Freshmen Mark Orpia had by far the best race of his young career, placing 6th in 18:35. Both Vincent and Mark nearly ran the best mile pace of the season, despite the fact that Montgomery Hill is a very slow course pace-wise. Nine Tran and Jerricho Habon ran 19:24 and 19:37 respectively, giving the FS team 4 Comets under 20 minutes at STAL 4, compared to 0 at STAL 1 and 2. Projected 5th runner Melvin Estrada was absent, but Rudy Peterson sealed off the scoring team with  a 20:42 clocking. Hugo Marquez was close behind in 20:51, and Manuel Villalobos ran 21:08 for a 44 second PR as the 7th boy.

After seeming like a typical Frosh/Soph team for much of the season, the team busted out at STAL 4. Their team time of 96:12 (1:36:12) establishes a new Frosh/Soph school record at Montgomery Hill, beating the 98:49 of the team of 2010 handily. This young group continues to look very promising. Only the reserve boys of 2010, a very strong group, ran a faster Non-Varsity team time than this group of Frosh/Soph Boys. They move to 3-3 on the season with the win over Oak Grove.

Next up were the Varsity Girls. Arlet Miranda ran a small PR of 19:13 to lead the group in 5th place overall. Maria Mendoza struggled with knee pain, but ran a solid 21:54 to be the 2nd girl. Daisy Nava and Milka Perez finished in the middle of the pack, coming in together at 22:19, a 20 second PR for Daisy. The 5th girl continues to be a weakness for the team, as Denisse Calixto and Analilia Regla rounded out the group in 24:26 and 24:55. The 24:55 time by Analilia was her first time breaking 25 minutes for the course. The win over the Eagles netted the Varsity Girls their first win of the season, putting them at 1-5 on the season.

After tying the school record time of 81:48 as a group a week ago, the Varsity Boys were determined to make the top team time their own. Erik Olsvold won the race overall in a huge 30 second PR of 15:27. Erik is the first individual Varsity winner in a BVAL league race for James Lick since Carlos Montes in 2009. His time moves him firmly into #2 on the school’s all time list. Erik will be on religious retreat next week when the team has their final Montgomery meet, but as a Sophomore, the school record of 15:05 is firmly in sight. Nathan Bernardo had an off race by his standards, but ran a good time of 16:05 to place 6th overall. Inteus Castro-Lopez and Azael Zamora came in next with PRS of 16:17 and 16:22 respectively, giving the team 4 runners in the top 8 overall. Gustavo Parra ran 16:50 as the 5th boy, to give the team a combined time of 81:01 (1:21:01) smashing the old school record. Gustavo Aguilera ran 17:22, and Jesus Deloya established a new PR of 18:22 to finish the varsity boys day. The team moves to 6-0 and with a win against Independence next week, will end the regular season undefeated.

The Reserve Boys race was next and David Bejines once again lead the group, though he missed his PR narrowly, running 19:37. Austin Swank ran a 20 second PR of 20:10, not far behind to place 11th out 98 reserve runners. Isaak Herrera ran a small PR of 20:42 to finish 16th. Kevin Bach ran a huge PR of 22:04, and Daniel Portillo just missed his own PR, running 23:34, 8 seconds off. Though technically non-scoring, the reserve boys are 4-2 against the other reserve teams so far.

The JV and reserve girls finished up the team day. Camila Hernandez continues to impress, breaking 25 minutes for the first time with a 24:42 clocking. Susie Peterson ran a PR of 26:08 as did Aliana Santos who ran 26:54. A PR for Ashley Preciado followed in 30:42, and Diana Romero rounded out the group in 31:55. The JV girls took the win over an incomplete Eagles team, moving to 3-3 on the season. Valerie Flores knocked down a PR in 28:36 as did Brittany Salazar, running 31:51 to break 32 for the first time.

The Comets have one league meet next, and will record their final PRs, and records for the season at STAL 5 on October 20th. The next day, a select group of highly dedicated Comets will take the trip down to Los Angeles for the Mt. Sac invitational.

 

 

 

Comets Have Historic Day at STAL #3

The Comets took to Montgomery Hill for their 3rd league meet of the season on Wednesday October 5th. This matchup was highly anticipated, as the first Montgomery meet of the season, as a matchup with STAL powerhouse Pioneer high school.

For a course history of Montgomery Hill, read here first: 

https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/2016/08/22/jlxc-history-montgomery-hill-time-trial-recap/Th

Montgomery Hill is now the signature course of the BVAL and the Comets began racing on the course during the final years of the James Lick boy’s last great era. As such, the course holds immense significance for the ability to compare within the BVAL. After two weeks of hard work, the Comets were ready to show the benefits of their training.

The day got off to a bizarre start. Due to a mix-up, the Frosh/Soph boys were pointed in the wrong direction on the course in two separate areas. Every Frosh/Soph Boy ran the middle school course of 2.06 miles, instead of the high school 2.74 mile version. As every boy ran this version of the course, the places were allowed to stand as legitimate. Pioneer is the team to go through on the boys side in the STAL. Not only are they the 2014 and 2015 Varsity boys STAL champs, but their reserve and Frosh/Soph teams have already showed tremendous depth. At STAL 2, Pioneer had their top 5 Frosh/Soph boys in the top 11 overall, while the Comets #1 Frosh/Soph Boy was Mark in 22nd place.

The team was not able to defeat the Mustangs, but they did give them a much more difficult fight than anticipated. Pioneer boys took places 1-4 overall, but Comet runners Vincent Giglio, Mark Orpia, and Nien Tran came in 5th, 7th and 11th. Rudy Peterson and Jerricho Habon rounded out the team’s scoring 5. Melvin Estrada and Hugo Marquez rounded out the team overall.

The Varsity girl’s had no trouble going the correct way, and Arlet Miranda lead the group in 19:16, a huge PR and the 2nd best James Lick girls time in school history to finish 5th overall. After missing time to work on her grades, Maria Mendoza ran 21:50, a strong improvement on the 22:52 she ran at STAL 1. Daisy Nava ran a 20 second PR of 22:38 to be the team’s 3rd girl, though the absence of Milka Perez hurt the team overall. Denisse Calixto and Belen Sanchez rounded out the scoring in 24: 14 and 24:55 respectively, with Analilia Regla finishing in 25:05 a PR by more than 1:30. The team ran a team time of 112:53 (1:52:53) better than the 113:53 that they opened last season’s first Montgomery meet with. While the team is trending in the right direction, they too were unable to defeat the Pioneer Mustangs.

 

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Varsity Girls Left to Right: Arlet Miranda, Maria Mendoza, Belen Sanchez, Analilia Regla, Daisy Nava, Denisse Calixto

The Varsity Boys were next up on the ledger, but before detailing their race it’s important to contextualize this team’s drive.

No team has come to represent the rebirth of JLXCTF more than this group of athletes. I began coaching 4 years ago, and the varsity team of 2013 had very little running experience. While there were dedicated athletes like Karan Singh, Nathan Bernardo and Gustavo Aguilera, the team was a long way from being competitive within the BVAL, let alone the STAL specifically. Our best team that season at Montgomery hill was 94: 56 (1:34:56). A far cry from the school record of 81:48 (1:21:48) ran in 2003 by a team that went 7-0 in the MHAL (‘A’ division). Nathan ran 19:17 as a freshmen at Montgomery Hill, while Gustavo Aguilera ran 27:00. While their times were not even particularly impressive frosh/soph times, both boys showed an indomitable spirit and desire to improve themselves, that would help lay the foundation for the team culture we have now.

We were moved down to the WVAL after this season, in part because our rapidly improving girl’s team was listed as 0-7 on the league standings sheet, while their correct record should have been listed at 4-3. I remember Nathan asking after this if we could get back into the STAL if we ran fast enough, and more so, if we might potentially win a league championship one day. Myself, then fellow JLXC coach, John Quasarano,and the students on the team felt that we deserved to remain in the STAL. We set out with the goal of proving this, and I as a first year coach, was very determined to try to “outcoach” other coaches, and help my athletes develop at a faster rate than the athletes are larger, more financially advantaged schools.

In setting out to coach the best I could, I began to compile the all time list available on this site. Having a father who ran at James Lick, and having run at James Lick myself, lead me to understand the great tradition of JLXC. In compiling these lists however, I began to truly understand the depth and power of James Lick’s tradition in general, and our goal’s began to shift. We wanted a team that was inclusive of all athletes regardless of ability level. A place where anyone who wanted to run XC/Track, would be able to do so with the unmitigated support of their coaches and teammates. The positive attitude of athletes like Daniela Camacho, Brianna Flores, Mario Perez, and Oscar Sanchez helped ensure this was the case.

From a competitive standpoint, we wanted to eventually restore James Lick’s status as a powerhouse not just within the WVAL, not just within the BVAL,  but within the CCS. The reality is James Lick is not the same school that it was during much of it’s athletic glory days. The population is lower, the demographics have shifted, and the wallet’s are thinner. We are consistently one of the smallest school’s in the BVAL, currently 4th smallest, and the smallest of any team in the STAL for Cross country. We are consistently one of the poorest schools in the BVAL. Educational data from 2013/2014 showed that 80% of James Lick’s students qualified for free or reduced lunch. Only Overfelt had  a greater percentage of students from “low income” households. In comparison, STAL schools from the south side, Leigh, Branham and Pioneer have only 7%, 14% and 26% of students qualifying for the same program.

While this is not a direct factor on athletic or academic success, the ability to live comfortably affords one the ability to focus on tasks such as school and sports with greater rigor. This is exemplified by athletes like Maria Mendoza, who qualified for CCS last year as a junior, but is struggling to find time to practice between the fact that she is busy applying for college, taking care of school work, and working two jobs to help support her family.

James Lick’s rate of sending students to college is among the lowest in Santa Clara Country. Ultimately our goal in attempting to restore the program’s competitive success, was to demonstrate that Comets, and east-siders everywhere are capable of success regardless of the limitations set upon them. The idea was, if a small poor school from the East Side, could compete with the large rich schools of the West side, and do so with a class and sportsmanship that defied people’s assumptions about what the “kids from the hood” were like, we could in our small way, raise our school/community consciousness and work towards our fellow east siders achieving more than they thought they could. The Comets understand their status as societal and athletic underdogs, and the team is using this as chip on their shoulder, rather than as another reason to be discouraged.

These goals, however idealistic, were a long way from coming to fruition. 94:56 is a long way from 81:48. In the 2013 season when we ran our 94:56, we had only one boy run under 19 minutes. While Nathan’s 19:17 was a promising freshmen time, there was little indication that team would be competitive outside of the WVAL any time soon. There were 3 runners who ran under 16 minutes at Montgomery from the STAL when the Comets ran 94:56,and all 3 had been running under 16 since their freshmen year. For the team to begin to approach it’s long term goals, athletes like Nathan would have to wok very hard to move the program forward each year. The 2014 WVAL Championship by the girls had the team moving back to the STAL for the 2015 season, a year removed from when the Varsity boys were only a 94 minute team. While Nathan and Gustavo remained from freshmen year, they’d been joined by fellow distance runners along the way, all buying into the cause that we have been toiling towards for the last four years.

In those four years, the team has come along way towards their goals, and it showed in the matchup with Pioneer. Nathan Bernardo lead the team with a PR of 15:52, tied for the 2nd best time in school history on the course, placing second overall, narrowly holding off Pioneer’s fastest runner. Erik Olsvold was close behind at 15:57, becoming just the 4th Comet in school history to break the 16 minute barrier at Montgomery Hill, just seconds after Nathan became the 3rd. Azael Zamora placed 7th overall in 16:26, an off race by his standards. Inteus Castro-Lopez, 16:40, Gustavo Aguilera, 16:53 and Gustavo Parra, 16:57 came in 9th, 11th and 12th respectively to round out the team. The Comets had all 6 of their runners in before Pioneer had their 3rd. The dominant team showing yielded a team time of exactly 81:48, tying the school record in the highly symbolic victory over a strong Pioneer team. The Varsity boys move to 5-0 with this victory, and take another step towards winning the STAL championship. This would be only the 8th James Lick league championship in any sport since the year 2000, and the first championship not to come from the ‘C’ league.

The girls JV race, as well as the reserve races followed up the Varsity Boys with some strong performances as well. Camilla Hernandez continues to flash strong potential, running 25:19 on her first try on the course, a very promising young time. Heck, that’s faster than Gustavo A’s first try as a freshmen and he ran 16:53 today! Susie Peterson and Aliana Santos were not far behind, running solid JV times. Valerie Flores narowly dipped under the 30 minuter barrier for the course, running 29:53. Diana Romero ran 30:28 a huge PR from her 31:51 a year ago. Ashley Preciado also continues to develop, running 30:59 better than her previous league race best of 33:04 just 2 weeks ago. Brittany Salazar and Ally Floreza ended the girl’s race with league race bests as well, running 32:42 and 34:15 respectively.

The reserve boys have been a source of strength for the team in the past decade, and are beginning to round  into form as well. David Bejines placed 3rd overall in 19:32, a minute faster than his 20:33 STAL previous best. Isaak Herrera and Austin Swank ran 20:49 and 20:50, very strong times for the first Montgomery meet of the season. Manuel Villalobos ran 21:52 a league race best by more than 2 minutes. Daniel Portillo ran a league race best as well, finishing in 23:39 while Kevin Bach finished in 23:45 to finish the Comets day.

With 3 league races in the books, the Comets will finish up the STAL season with meets at Montgomery Hill both of the next two Thursdays, and will head to Crystal Springs this Saturday for their final invitational of the season. Crystal Springs will allow the team to compare themselves against many of the best teams in the CCS.

Thank you for reading, especially if you hung in there while I got all sociological.

-Benny Reeves

 

 

JLXC History: Alum Rock Long Course / STAL League Meet Previews

This blog contains both a course history of Alum Rock Park’s Long course, and a breakdown of the upcoming STAL league meets, including a cool ( I think so anyway) competition chart.  

With just two days left until the 2016 Season opens for the Comets, now is a great time to look over the school’s history at the current Alum Rock race course. Alum Rock Park, only 2 miles away from James Lick, has always given the Comets a home field advantage. Just yesterday, the Comets did hill repeats up the signature North Rim hill, in preparation for their league race.

Alum Rock Park’s short course (the 2.25 mile version which you can read about here: https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/jlxc-historyalum-rock-short-course/)   was used for MHAL Finals and the Alum Rock Invitational, from 1966-1990. The league switched to the current 2.85 mile version, using a farther back starting/finish line, in the early 90s. 1996 saw the formation of the BVAL, in which 3 of San Jose’s leagues (the MHAL, STAL, and WVAL) were merged to create a 24 team power league. The BVAL gradually moved away from Alum Rock Park as a race course. While it was still raced on most years in the 90s, it was usually used exclusively by the MHAL (‘A’ division). By 2001, the entire BVAL was using Montgomery hill as the leagues only course (with Crystal Springs as the league finals course).

Alum Rock Park was not used for any races from 2001-2007. In 2008, the WVAL held two races at Alum Rock, bringing the course back into activity. In 2010, with James Lick moving up into the STAL (‘B’ Division) 3 Alum Rock races were run. Alum Rock was raced on again in 2012, 2013, and 2015 in only one BVAL division, (It’s likely not a coincidence that the only division to run Alum Rock in the 2000s is always the division that James Lick happens to be in…). We have two races at Alum Rock on the ledger in 2016 (our first two league meets) and I for one will fight to keep races at Alum Rock as long as I am coach.

With a total of 9 seasons on record, the Alum Rock Long Course is no where near as impressive as the Short Course, but it continues to grow stronger each season the Comets run on it, and some notable additions should be made this year.

The team saw it’s earliest strong times in 1993. This team saw Onofre Navarro run 15:36, and Jaime Recondez run 16:05, these times still stand as the team’s #3 and #6 all time marks respectively. The current school record was set in 1995, by star runner Alberto Meza. Meza ran 15:15 for the course at MHAL finals. Despite running a few years after the end of James Lick’s golden era, Meza is a JLXC all time great. In addition to holding the course record at Alum Rock Park for the long course, with a PR of 15:53 at Crystal Springs, Meza is in the top 10 all time on James Lick’s most impressive all time list.

The team of 1997 ran some strong times on the course as well. Will Crane, another all time JLXC great ran 15:36 to tie Navarro’s mark for #3 all time. In addition to Crane, the team had 3 runners make the all time list, with Daniel Rendon at 16:16, Sham Parmar at 16:27 and Rubalcalva at 16:29. These late 90s years marked the beginning of the decline of James Lick’s prolonged Cross Country success. The team of 1997 sent 4 runners to the State Meet, the most in school history. The team of 1996 won the STAL, to win James Lick’s first championship in the BVAL era in it’s very first year of existence.

The team of 1999 won the STAL again, moving into the MHAL, though Alum Rock Park was not run in 99. The year 2000 was the last time Alum Rock Park would be used for several years, and the Comets made it count. Eric Santos ran a very strong 15:28, and Ivan Navarro ran 15:47. This marks the only time in school history where two Comets broke 16 for Alum Rock long course in the same race ( a feat which this years group, Nathan Bernardo and Azael Zamora in particular, is trying to replicate). Brent Nichols at 16:21, Nelson Funston at 16:27, and Jerry Reyes at 16:55 capped off a very strong top 5. This group combined for a team time and school record of 1:20:58 (or 80:58) This team had tremendous potential, and went on to run a very strong team time of 1:25:46 (85:46) at league finals at Crystal Springs to place 3rd in the BVAL. They did this without the benefit of top runner Eric Santos, who may have helped them win the whole thing. Santos would go on to have a great track season, running a 4:25 1600m, the 2nd best time in school history (on record).

The only girls time on the all time list set prior to 2000 was Emel Kayer’s 22:14 in 1997. The team time on the girls side in 2000 was 2:16:44 (136:44) a far cry from the team times of recent years, consistently well under the 2 hour mark.

James Lick remained in the MHAL from 2000-2003, but has not been back in the ‘A’ division since. Nor has the team been able to match the spectacular ‘5 guys under 17 minutes’ for a league race course that teams of the early 2000s were able to achieve. From 2001-2007, the BVAL used only Montgomery hill as a race course. The course returned to Alum Rock just in time for Kayla Matsuda to run the course as a senior. Kayla ran the school record of 18:56 to win a WVAL race in 2008, making her the school record holder on a total of 9 different courses, by any measure, she is without a doubt the best JLXC runner on the girls side in history.

The team of 2008 lowered the team record to 2:09, a 6 minute improvement on the team of 2000. In addition to Kayla, 2008 saw Elsie Carillo run 22:03, currently the 9th best time in school history. The team of 2008 also saw Carlos Montes run 16:52 on the boys side, adding his name to the all time list.

The team of 2010 had numerous additions on the boys side. Currently the #2 team time by JLXC was run in 2010, 1:26:11 (86:11). I ran 16:28 for the course that year, and my teammate Ricardo Flores also broke 17, running 16:40. On the girls side, Ana Tapia ran 20:48, the #3 time in school history. She and teammates Teresa Farias and Melissa Cabrera at 23:5 and 24:02 respectively, helped lower the team record to 2:00:35. The team of 2012, would lower the mark even further to 1:57:12 (117:12) breaking 2 hours as a team for the first time. Alma Padilla ran her PR of 22:41 to be the #2 girl on that team to Daniela Camacho’s 21:25. Armando Aguilar at 17:04, Isaac Sanchez at 17:14 and Luis Carrasco at 17:15 added their names to the all time list for the course that season as well.

The 2013 season saw the girls setting the current team record of 1:49:16 (109:16). They were lead by Daniela’s #2 all time clocking of 19:53. Karla Rodriguez and Paloma Contreras ran strong times of 21:54 and 21:58 to give the team 3 girls under 22 on the course. The 2015 team had the benefit of only one race at Alum Rock Park, their very first race of the season. Even so, the team ran strong, with Arlet Miranda running 21:55, and Elizabeth Guevara running 22:55. Maria Mendoza and Andrea Ortiz would go on to run 20:54 and 21:17 at the post season time trial of the course.  Nathan Bernardo ran 16:33 to add his name to the all time list in 2015, as did Hector Ramirez running 17:02.

Despite the team having only their first league meet at Alum Rock, the boys ran the 3rd best team time in school history in 2015. With only 2 early season meets scheduled at Alum Rock this year, the team of 2016 will be hard pressed to beat the school record, but they should come closer than any team ever has by a long shot.

 

STAL League Race Preview

 

With the team on the verge of facing Branham and Leigh to begin their STAL season, now is a good time to look into an explanation of the significance of various times. As always, our focus is on each athlete being a positive representative of James Lick high school, and improving as much as they can over the course of the season. In my opinion, the most successful runner on the team is the one who improves the most from where they started, not necessarily the team’s fastest runner. If every runner on the team experiences significant improvement,(both as a runner and as a person) and has fun doing so, I will consider our season a success. In terms of competition however, it’s natural to also go after wins, just not at the expense of our team culture.

Here is an explanation of various levels of competitive times in the BVAL:

My hope is that the following information will give athletes who are very competitive context to go with their times, as well as the ability to set goals based on places and tiers, in addition to time and process goals.

The return of the use of the Alum Rock Long course in 2008, has illustrated to me (though some other coaches disagree) that Montgomery Hill and the Alum Rock course are essentially equal in terms of time. The Alum Rock course is .11 miles longer than Montgomery, though the overall hillier Montgomery course makes times turn out very similar on either course. It goes without saying that some runners are stronger on a particular course, and each Course needs to be treated distinctly as it’s own entity. I do think that we can compare Montgomery and Alum Rock fairly closely, and use the common times to establish “league race PRS” based on a runners fastest time between the two courses.

I believe in most cases that the disparity in time between the two courses is due more to the point in the season that each course was run, rather than one course being slower than the other. Last year for example, Nathan ran 16:33 at Alum Rock and 16:10 at Montgomery. His Montgomery time however was run a month after his Alum Rock time, with him closer to peak form.  Montgomery is undoubtedly the slower course in terms of mile pace, but the shorter distance of the course should equate to roughly equal times for the two courses, varying by each runners specific strengths.

In any case, the past decade has indicated the following in terms of competetiveness:

BVAL Competitive Times Chart

These competitive times charts are based on the past 10 seasons, with an emphasis on the past 3. Times are sorted into categories or tiers based on how rare each time is.

Each division has different levels of strength, as you’ll see below, a Strong time in the STAL is only a decent time in the MHAL and so on.

Very Elite: Less than 1% of runners run this fast each year.
Elite: less than 5% of runners run this fast each year.
Near Elite: less than 10% of runners run this fast each year.
Very Strong: Less than 25% of runners of runners run this fast each year.
Strong: Less than 40% of runners run this fast each year.
Solid: Less than 50% of runners run this fast each year.
Decent: Less than 70% of runners run this fast each year.
Respectable: Less than 90% of runners run this fast each year.

Varsity Boys

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
15:00 or faster Elite, usually 1-3 boys a season Very Elite, usually 1-2 boys, if any, run this fast. Very Elite, usually no boy runs this fast.
16:00 or faster Strong, usually 15-20 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 3-5 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 2-4 boys will run this fast
17:00 or faster Decent, usually about 30 boys will run this fast Strong, usually about 13-18 Boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 10-15 boys will run this fast
18:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 50 boys will run this fast. Decent, Usually about 30-35 boys will run this fast Solid Usually about 20-25 boys will run this fast

Varsity Girls

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
18:30 or faster Elite, usually 1-3 girls a season will run this fast. Elite, Usually 1-2 girls, will run this fast. Very Elite, usually no girl runs this fast.
20:00 or faster Strong, usually 10-15 girls will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 6-10 girls will run this fast Elite, Usually about 2-4 girls will run this fast
21:30 or faster Decent, usually about 28-33 girls will run this fast Strong, usually about 15-20 girls will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 6-10 girls will run this fast
23:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 45-50 girls will run this fast. Decent, Usually about 30-35 girls will run this fast Very Strong Usually about 10-15 girls will run this fast

 

Frosh/Soph Boys

Time MHAL (‘A’ Division) STAL (‘B’ Division) WVAL (‘C’ Division)
17:30 or faster Near Elite, usually 4-8 boys a season will run this fast. Very Elite, usually 1-2 boys, if any, run this fast. Very Elite, usually no boy runs this fast.
19:15 or faster Decent, usually about 35-40 boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 10-15 boys will run this fast Near Elite, Usually about 3-6 boys will run this fast
21:00 or faster Respectable, Usually about 50 boys will run this fast. Decent, usually about 28-34 Boys will run this fast Very Strong, Usually about 12-16 boys will run this fast
22:45 or faster Usually every FS Boy who races runs this fast. Respectable, Usually about 40-45 boys will run this fast Solid Usually about 19-25 boys will run this fast

 

A team’s varsity group will always be the thing people focus on. The BVAL division placements are based almost entirely on varsity team strength. The BVAL hold 6 different races at any given league meet.

Varsity Boys (Top 7 Boys)

Varsity Girls (Top 7 Girls)

Frosh/Soph Boys (Top 7 Freshmen and Sophomore boys, not on Varsity)

JV Girls (Top 7 Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors not on Varsity).

Reserve Boys (All remaining boys)

Reserve Girls (All remaining girls).

While Varsity teams are the true focus of a competitive season, the Frosh/Soph and JV teams are also scored, meaning a team can achieve a championship in one of those divisions as well, though only a Varsity Championship will be widely acknowledged. The reserve teams are technically non-scoring, though with the help of XC stats, I will score the meets personally to see which team wins in those races as well. I see no reason why an athlete who works hard to better themselves shouldn’t be able to be a part of a scoring team simply because they were too old for Frosh/Soph or not fast enough for Varsity. Some of our reserve boys the year would be Varsity runners at other schools.

And finally an explanation of how our league meets are scored (If you’ve read this far thank you for your interest).

All 8 teams in the STAL will race at the same time this Thursday at Alum Rock Park. The current schedule indicatesVarsity girls start at 3:30, boys at 3:40 and so on. For STAL #1, we are facing both Branham and Leigh. The BVAL uses head-to-head scoring to determine league meet results. This means that even though 8 teams are racing, our race will be scored first as if only James Lick and Branham ran, and then as if only James Lick and Leigh ran.

Each runner is assigned a point value based on their place in the meet. For example last years STAL 1, which also featured James Lick vs. Leigh, looked like this in terms of scoring.

  1. Nathan Bernardo 16:33 JL
  2. Alec Reynolds 16:49 LE
  3. Hector Ramirez 17:02 JL
  4. Jason Morway 17:14 LE
  5. Inteus Castro-Lopez 17:27 JL
  6. Gustavo Aguilera 17:38 JL
  7. Pearson 17:52 LE
  8. Azael Zamora 17:55 JL
  9. Hisamura 18:06 LE
  10.  Mead 18:07 LE
  11. Jesse Chircop JL 18:15
  12. Gustavo Parra JL 18:38
  13. Carlen LE 19:33

Once a race is finished the top 5 runners places are added up to calculate a team score. In Cross Country the lowest score wins. The 6th and 7th runners displace, so while they don’t affect their own team’s score, they can add points to the other team’s total.

The results of the meet listed above were:

JL: 1,3,5,6,8 (11) (12) for a total of  23 points.

LE: 2,4,7,9,10 (13) for a total of 32 points.

If Jesse as the 6th boy had run 18:05, he would have added two points To Leigh’s score, while not affecting ours.

Hopefully this blog was helpful in understanding how our STAL meets work. The Comets will look to start off strong against Branham and Leigh. The opportunity to take on two larger and more affluent schools is an exciting one for this group of Comets, looking to represent the Eastside well. Branham will be an extreme challenge on the girls side, having placed 2nd at BVAL finals last year and both teams will need to be taken seriously.

STAL #1 recap coming soon. Thank you for reading.

-Benny Reeves

Boys All Time List Alum Rock 2.85 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Alberto Meza 15:15 5:21 1995 MHAL Finals 6th 11
2 Eric Santos 15:28 5:25 2000 MHAL # 1 1st 12
3 Onofre Navarro 15:36 5:28 1993 MHAL Finals 6th 12
4 Will Crane 15:36 5:28 1997 STAL Meet 2nd 11
5 Ivan Navarro 15:47 5:28 2000 MHAL # 1 4th 11
6 Jaime Recondez 16:05 5:38 1993 MHAL Finals 12th 12
7 Daniel Rendon 16:16 5:42 1997 STAL Meet 5th 12
8 Brent Nichols 16:21 5:44 2000 MHAL # 1 8th 10
9 Sham Parmar 16:27 5:46 1997 STAL Meet 8th 11
10 Nelson Funston 16:27 5:46 2000 MHAL #1 10th 11
11 Benny Reeves 16:28 5:46 2010 STAL # 4 3rd 12
12 Rubalcalva 16:29 5:46 1997 STAL Meet 11th
13 Nathan Bernardo 16:33 5:48 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 5th 11
14 Ricardo Flores 16:40 5:51 2010 STAL # 4 5th 12
15 Carlos Montes 16:52 5:55 10/10/2008 WVAL # 2 2nd 11
16 Jerry Reyes 16:55 5:56 2000 MHAL # 1 16th 12
17 Hector Ramirez 17:02 5:59 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 9th 12
18 Armando Aguilar 17:04 5:59 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 18th 11
19 Isaac Sanchez 17:14 6:03 09/20/12 STAL # 2 19th 12
20 Luis Carrasco 17:15 6:03 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 23rd 12

 

Girls  All Time List Alum Rock 2.85 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Kayla Matsuda 18:56 6:38 10/01/2008 WVAL # 2 1st 12
2 Daniela Camacho 19:53 6:59 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 8th 11
3 Ana Tapia 20:48 7:18 10/05/2010 STAL # 2 8th 12
4 Maria Mendoza 20:54 7:20 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 1st 11
5 Andrea Ortiz 21:17 7:28 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 2nd 12
6 Karla Rodriguez 21:54 7:41 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 17th 11
7 Arlet Miranda 21:55 7:42 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 21st 9
8 Paloma Contreras 21:58 7:42 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 18th 11
9 Elsie Carrillo 22:03 7:44 10/01/2008 WVAL # 2 6th 12
10 Emel Kayer 22:14 7:48 1997 STAL Meet 12th 11
11 Jennifer Custodio 22:40 7:57 11/04/2015 Farewell Seniors Race 3rd 11
12 Alma Padilla 22:41 7:58 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 33rd 10
13 Gabriela Aguilar 22:43 7:58 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 27th 10
14 Karen Ruiz 22:48 8:00 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 28th 12
15 Elizabeth Guevara 22:55 8:02 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 30th 12
16 Teresa Farias 23:08 8:07 10/19/2010 STAL # 4 34th 11
17 Destiny Lopez 23:52 8:22 10/24/2013 STAL # 5 37th 12
18 Melisa Cabrera 24:01 8:26 09/21/2010 STAL # 1 2nd 11
19 Andrea Romero 24:02 8:26 10/04/2012 STAL # 4 39th 11
20 Daisy Nava 24:23 8:34 09/17/2015 STAL # 1 41st 11

 

 

 

JLXC History: Montgomery Hill / Time Trial recap

IMG953774
Montgomery Hill as seen from a spectator’s view.

This post will contain two blogs for the price of one. 

Blog 1: JLXC at Montgomery Hill

Today, James Lick is a member of the BVAL, a 24 team “power league” which formed in 1996. James Lick was a member of the MHAL (Mount Hamilton Athletic League) from 1965- the early 90s. With the formation of the BVAL in 96′ MHAL took the place of the ‘A’ division of the BVAL,the STAL (Santa Teresa League) took on the role of the ‘B’ division, and the WVAL (West Valley League) took on the role of the ‘C’ division.

Following its foundation, the BVAL searched for an accessible area to use for its league meets. Alum Rock park, long used by the MHAL, was used for some races, as was Helyer Park and Santa Teresa park. In the year 2000 however, the BVAL created a race course at Montgomery Hill Park, right next to Evergreen Valley college. The park, as its name indicates, is extremely hilly for a cross country course and has no shade to offer. These factors combined with its loose dirt in places, makes it the slowest race course (in terms of mile pace) in the CCS central conference. The original course was 2.95 miles, and was used for several races in 2000. In 2001 and 2002, the course became almost exclusively the BVAL’s course of choice for league meets. In 2003, the course was modified to its current 2.74 mile format, and has been run by the BVAL every year since.

With the 2016 season approaching, Montgomery’s entering its 17th year of use. James Lick has 15 years of history on the course (In 2012 all of JL’s league meets were at Alum Rock). With a limited history compared to historic courses like Crystal Springs, and one which has taken place after most of JL’s greatest seasons, the Montgomery hill school all time lists are not amongst the school’s best performances. The teams of recent years however are heading solidly in the right direction.

The JL teams of the early 2000s were some of the best teams in the entire BVAL on the boys side. The 2001 team ran some of the first fast times on the course. The boy’s team’s 2nd best combined team time (calculated by adding the times of the top 5 runners together) on the course was run in 2001. The team ran a time of 82:47 (converted for the 2.74 mile course). Ivan Navarro ran a converted 15:52, one of only 2 sub 16 minute clockings at Montgomery in school history.

In 2003 the course was altered to its current format, and with it came the current school records on the course, both individually and as a team. Jose Gutierrez ran 15:05,  an outstanding time and a school record for the course. This time helped the team to a combined time of 81:48, an average of 16:22 a runner. In the mid 2000s, (the weakest era of JLXC) the team consistently ran times in the high 80s or low 90s, with a few standout performances such as Erick Herrera’s 16:01 in 2005.

The team gradually fell from the top of the ‘A’ division in 2003, to the middle of the ‘C’ division a mere 4 years later. The team of 2009 however, began to spark some life into the program by winning the WVAL and moving up to the STAL. Even then however, the boys team only managed a team time of 90:02, a far cry from the mid 80 minute clockings of the early 2000s.

The rebirth of JLXC that the current program is striving to create has been a joy to witness. The team of 2013 (my first year as coach), ran a team time of 94:56, the slowest Montgomery Hill team time for James Lick on record. A year later however, then sophomore and current senior and team captain, Nathan Bernardo, helped the team take a huge step back towards respectability with a team time of 87:05.

In the now 16 years of course History,24 Comet boys have run under 17 minutes at Montgomery Hill (A common  varsity boy time even in the ‘A’ division), but only 9 Comets have managed the feet since 2006. In 2014, Nathan added his name to the list along with teammate Karan Singh, making it the first season where two Comets simultaneously broke the barrier since 2010, when Ricardo Flores and myself combined to do so.

2015 witnessed yet another leap forward, as the team combined for a time of 84:40, despite not running their normal 4th runner at their best league race. This was the 4th best team time for JL (out of 15 total years) in history, and only 20 seconds off  of the team of 2004. Nathan ran 16:10 to put himself #4 on the school’s all time list for the course, and the team also saw Hector Ramirez run under 17 minutes, with Inteus Castro-Lopez and Gustavo Aguilera at 17:00 and 17:09 respectively.

The team of 2016 is actively going after the school record of the 2001 team, and their first time trial of the season was a great indicator of their capability. More on that Below.

Even in the 2000s where the boys team was struggling compared to decades and even years past, the girls team was struggling mightily to be competitive, like throughout much of its history. JL was unable to field a full team in some of the early BVAL years, and 2003 was the first time the team managed to break 2 hours for the course, with a combined team time of 1:58:39 or 118:39.

In a few years however, the team was bolstered by the arrival of Kayla Matsuda, who currently stands as James Lick’s greatest ever girl Cross Country runner. Kayla’s PR and school record of 18:12 run in 2006, still stands as one of the top 20 Montgomery times for any school. It also lead the team to a big school record team time of 1:54:53. This time was bettered a year later by the team of 2007, running 1:49:51 to narrowly miss out on winning the ‘C’ division championship. That team also saw freshmen Aurora Lepe run 21:14, a 21 minute time is a decent varsity time in the ‘A’ division. After Kayla’ graduation in 2009, the girls team struggled to be competitive again, especially with the teams move into the ‘B’ division in 2010. From 2010-2012 the Varsity girls team went a combined 0-21, strong individual times such as the 20:03 clocking in 2010 by Ana Tapia (3rd best JL time ever) and the 21:25 of freshmen Daniela Camacho in 2011 not withstanding.

The team of 2013 however saw a surge in there group capability. Despite the boys struggles in 2013, the girls team ran 1:50:06, the then #2 team time in school history, and managed a winning record in the ‘B’ division as a result. Record keeping and political issues lead to the team of 2014 being placed in the ‘C’ divison for the 2014 season, and the 2014 team worked hard to correct that mistake. Daniela Camacho ran the #2 time in school history, with a 19:32 clocking, giving the Comets two girls (all time) under 20 at Montgomery to go with  their 2 boys under 16. Thanks to strong runs from athletes like Paloma Contreras, Milka Perez, and Maria Mendoza, 2014 was the first season in school history where 4 girls ran under 22:00 in the same race. This resulted in a huge team record of 1:45:57, and arguably the greatest girls XC season in JL history.

Despite the loss of of 6/7 of the team’s varsity girls from the 2014 season, the 2015 season ran a solid team time of 1:49:58, breaking the 1:50:00 barrier at Montgomery for the 3rd time in the school’s 15 seasons on the course, despite a very inexperienced girls team. Maria lowered her PR to 20:31, giving her the #4 JL time in history for the course.

Montgomery hill is now the team’s most raced upon course. Generally the team has somewhere between 2-4 races their every season, and the all time lists for the course will continue to grow each season. With the team striving every day to rebuild a once tremendous XC program. Montgomery hill times will be an important barometer of success going forward.

More information on JLXC’s rich history can be found here:

https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/cross-country-history/

Note: All historical data is based on actual archival data/ newspaper results. This is simply the all time lists I have been able to compile, if you have any information that I am missing please do not hesitate to send it my way!

It is my intention to write on a piece on the history of every course we will race this year, if coaching/ graduate studies/ student teaching allow me enough time.

In any case thank you for reading this summary, Blog 2 Below. 

 

Blog 2: Time Trial Recap

The 2016 team showered their desire to take yet another step forward this season with a very strong time trial showing. Azael Zamora lead the group in a huge PR of 16:42, despite only giving an estimated 85% effort. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran a 1 second PR of 16:59, despite the earliness of the season and the fact that he was also treating the run as ,ore of a threshold run than a true time trial. Erik Olsvold did go all out, and ran a full minute PR of 17:18, showing the benefits of his strong track season. Nathan Bernardo did not even bring his racing shoes, but ran a time of 17:33, 17 second abetter than his time at the same time trial a year ago.

Gustavo Aguilera and Gustavo Parra ran 18:36 and 18:49 respectively, way ahead of their 19:04 and 21:37 clockings from last years Montgomery time trial. Jesus Deloya and Vincent Giglio also broke 20, running 19:36 and 19:53, putting both runners on track to break 18 minutes this season for the course.

The next Comet in was sophomore Arlet Miranda, fresh off of her breakout track season, looking to push away the memories of her injury plagued freshmen XC season. Her time of 20:47 puts her #5 on the all time list, and bodes well for her chances to move onto #2 on the school’s list by seasons end. Recent transfer, David Bejines finished with a time of 22:12, an experienced runner as a junior, David will look to factor into the teams plans as he rounds into shape. Freshmen Jericho Habon was next in a time of 22:19. Jericho is one of a number of extremely dedicated freshmen who have worked hard to turn themselves from runners who couldn’t run under 8 minutes for a mile, to strong ‘B’ division frosh-sops athletes. This is their goal with a few weeks before races begin. fellow dedicated freshmen, Kevin Bach came across the line in 24:48 in his first official James Lick clocking. Julia Cruz was the only girl besides Arlet to take part, and she ran a solid 25:05 after her first week back at practice. This is faster than Julia’s time from early October of last season, and she went on to run a solid 23:07 that season.

The Comets are hard at work, and have big time aspirations this season. Despite the fact that the top group of boys treated this run as only a hard practice run, they ran 1:27:07/87:07 , faster than 7 of the 15 seasons where James Lick has run at Montgomery Hill. The team record of 1:21:48/ 81:48 is on their mind, as is a ‘B’ division title.

The girls team spearheaded by Arlet has the aim of breaking 1:50:00 at Crystal Springs, which would be the best league finals time in school history for the girls. Despite the 2 girl showing on Saturday, the girls team is very much rounding together with athletes like Daisy Nava, Maria Mendoza, and Milka Perez hard at work.

The North Rim trail has been closed, but the Comets will look to run a time trial on it as soon as it opens if their schedule permits. In any case the Alumni Race will take place on Friday September 2nd beginning at 6:00 P.M. I recommend any alumni runners arrive at 5:30 if possible to allow time for warmups. The event is less than two weeks away, and the whole Comet team is gaining steam.

Stay tuned for more Comet news.

 

Comets Head into League Finals with High Hopes

The James Lick Cross Country Team finished their regular season with a solid day of work at Montgomery hill. The Varsity boys are 6-1, and in 2nd place as they head into league finals on November 2nd. The Varsity girls are 2-5, in 6th place as they await the BVAL finals run over the historic Crystal Springs Cross Country course.BVAL finals is run with the ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘C’ divisions all racing in one race, showing where each teams belong.

Highlights of the last meet include the fact that the Varsity boys team was able to run a team time of 1:24:20, the first team to run under 1:25 at Montgomery hill since the team of 2004. This is without the services of normal number 3 runner, Gustavo Aguilera. The team was spearheaded by Nathan Bernardo, who ran 16:10, the 4th fastest time for a James Lick runner at Montgomery Hill in school history. Other strong PRS on the boys side were Hector Ramirez, 16:32, Inteus Castro-Lopez, 17:00, Azael Zamora, 17:19, and Guillermo Villalobos in 17:39. The Varisty Boys have been aiming all season long for a top 10 finish at BVAL finals which would grant them a CCS berth.

On the girls side, the team was unable to match their performance from the week before, though the team of  Maria Mendoza, Andrea Ortiz, Elizabeth Guevara, Gabriela Aguilar, Jennifer Custodio and Daisy Nava became the first JL girls team ever to have 6 girls under 23 minutes in one race with Daisy coming across the line in a huge pr of 22:57. The girls are aiming for a 12th place finish at BVAL finals which would likely grant them a place in CCS Finals.

The Frosh/Soph boys team has been incomplete for several meets, but Erik Olsvold and Austin Swank ran big PRS of 18:18 and 20:34 respectively. Erik as a freshmen has a very bright outlook for the future.

The JV girls have been a source of strength for the team all season long, and though they are only 4-3, at the last race they were the best JV team in the entire STAL. Julia Cruz lead the group in 23:11, 2nd place overall. Evilly Garcia and freshmen Carla Manzanares were next in 24:34 and 24:39, giving the JV girls 3 girls under 25 minutes. A feat which only 3 years ago the Varisty girls could hardly accomplish. Jocelyn Aguirre was 4th in 25:00 exactly. Analilia Regla, Susie Peterson, and Christine Young finished off the team in 26:48, 26:49 and 26:50. The JV Girls are poised to finish in the top 8 teams in the entire BVAL at league finals.

The reserve teams had strong performances in particular from Ryan Puzon, who brome 20 minutes for the course as the team’s number 2 runner. The reserve team is in a position to aim for a top half finish at league finals.

When the populations of each CCS school were done for the 2015-2016 school year, they revealed that James Lick is the 2nd smallest school in the 24 team BVAL. 6 of the league’s schools have more than twice as many students to draw from. As a result, anything better than a second to last finish for the team is a testament to the Comets ability to rise above their circumstances, and outperform expectations. The James Lick Cross Country team will look to demonstrate that exact strength at league finals 11/2/15.

JLXC Takes Step Forward at Penultimate League Meet

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The Comets participated in their 3rd league meet of the season on Thursday October 15th. It was the 2nd league meet of the year which was held at Montgomery Hill, and even though it was only a week after the initial Montgomery meet, the race yielded many PRs for the team.

The Frosh/Soph Boys team, which has been missing many of it’s members, nonetheless had 3 PRS for the 3 boys that run. Erik Olsvold and Jesus Deloya crossed the line in 18:38 and 18:40, strong Frosh/Soph times. Austin Swank was the last racer for the team and ran 21:08, a 0:57 second PR.

The Varsity Girls were the team that took the biggest leap forward of the day. Maria Mendoza lead the group in 20:31, nearly a full minute PR and the 4th best time in school history for the course. Andrea Ortiz and Elizabeth Guevara were next in 22:03 and 22:14. Jennifer Custodio and Gabriela Aguilar finished off the scoring in 22:30 and 22:40. Daisy Nava fought though a rough day to run 23:59. This gives the team a combined team time of 1:49:58, a substantial improvement from the 1:53:53 of the previous week. The team will look to take their time down another minute or two at the final league meet next Thursday, and remain hopeful that Arlet Miranda will return to help the team at league finals, though  return to racing by next week seems unlikely.

The Varsity Boys had a mixed day, but nonetheless, beat Prospect to move to 5-1 on the season. This was the first time JL had defeated Prospect in an XC or Track dual meet in years. Nathan Bernardo had an off day but still ran 16:26 just 2 seconds off his PR. Hector Ramirez, recovered from a minor hamstring injury ran 16:42 for 9th place overall, over a minute PR. Gustavo Aguilera ran 17:12 as the 3rd boy, an off day for him as well. Inteus Castro-Lopez battled sickness to run a solid 17:35 as the 4th boy, and Azael Zamora ran a small PR as the 5th: 17:41. Jesse Chircop and Gustavo Parra finished in 17:43 and 17:54 to complete the team. This gave the comets a team time of 1:25:38, the best team time since 2004. A better team time than the 2009, and 2010 teams managed at Montgomery (both teams were successful in making CCS). The team is aiming for a myriad of PRS to lead the team to a team tim ender 1:24:00 in their final league race next week.

The Reserve Boys were again lead by Guillermo Villalobos in a solid PR of 18:42. Miguel Chavez and Ryan Puzon ran 20:10 and 20:15 respectively, while Kelvin Arenas was the 4th boy in 20:45. This gives the team 4 reserve boys under 21 compared to only 1 last week. Ivan Morales completed the team in 23:19, and will look for a better time next week.

The JV and reserve girls had a very strong showing. Julia Cruz was 3rd place overall in 23:10. Evilly Garcia ran 25:22 as the 2nd girl, and Carla Manzanares made her official debut in a strong 25:28. Analilia Regla and Jocelyn Aguirre wrapped up the scoring in 26:18 and 26:20. This was a full minute PR for Analilia. The JV team was completed by Christine Young and Susie Peterson in 27:23 and 27:34. Alonico Urango ran 27:41 to lead the reserve girls, and Elizabeth Perez ran 30:00 exactly as the 2nd. She will naturally look to break 30 minutes for the first time next week. Diana Romero finished the comets day in 31:51, nearly a 2 minute PR for the course.

The Team is looking to make a statement in their final league meet of the season against Independence. Anyone interested in watching the team can see them compete on Thursday 10/22 at 3:30 at Montgomery Hill.

As always the schools ALL TIME lists can be viewed under “Cross Country History”  ^

https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/cross-country-history/

Results and Youtube Video ca be found Under Links ^

https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/links/