James Lick Track Team Opens 2020 Season Strong at Willow Glen Invitational

The 2020 Track season is oficially underway with the James Lick Comets joining 35 other track teams at the Willow Glen Invitational on Saturday March 7th. As has seemingly become a yearly tradition, the meet dealt with somewhat chilly conditions and bouts of rain throughout, at times making conditions very unsuitable to strong track performances. Nonetheless, the team had some very strong early performances, with a grand total of 27 PRS in the meet, more that at any invitational from the 2019 season.

The meet began with the frosh/soph girls 4×100. The team of Jenny Fimbres, Cecelia Usui, Daniela Huitron and Jenny Gomez combined to run 1:01.60 with some very rough exchanges in what was the first ever track meet for 3 of the 4 members of the team.

IMG_2099
Jenny Fimbres handing the baton to Cecelia Usui 

Field events were already ongoing at this time as well and saw a number of solid performances for the Comets. In the frosh/soph girls discus, Sara Hawkes lead the Comets with a PR of 65-8.5, a PR by over 5 feet. Jimmie Chircop cracked the 60 foot barrier for the first time as well throwing 60-5 for a 4 foot PR. Francia Castro PR’d by almost 10 feet, throwing 59-10 and Emma Demblewski got a small PR of 57-10.

At the same time, Frosh/Soph boys high jump was going on. Jordan Lagura, the team’s top frosh/soph athlete, cleared 4-10 in his first try at the event and clearly has a much higher ceiling. Chris Escobar, the starting center on the frosh/soph basketball team went 5-0 in his first ever track meet, and only 3 days of practice so far, showing great potential as well. Lastly in boys Triple Jump, Jamie Vong went 37-4, opening the season just 4 inches off his PR. Geo Campos went a solid 35-10 in the event as well.

Back on the track, Ruth Rodriguez was the only frosh/soph girl for the Comets, and she opened her season with a PR of 6:37. The frosh/soph boys 1600 saw all 3 Comets PR. Omar Sanchez and Justin Nguyen both ran 5:44, 13 second PRS for both boys who broke the 6 minute barrier for the first time at our end of XC time trial. Carlos Nava took 6 seconds off his PR to run 6:22, and he’s only been out at practice for a few weeks since he was wrestling in the winter.

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Justin Nguyen (Lane 2) and Omar Sanchez (Lane 1) Storming to PRS in the 1600 

Omar and Justin are following the path of great improvement to varsity levels laid down by Brandon Cruz, Jerricho Habon and others on the team. Both Comets ran with us all summer, yet by late August, Omar could only run 7:03 for the 1600 and Justin only 7:31. The fact that they lowered their PRS to under 6 by the end of XC, and now open track season with big PRS gives us great cause for hope for both boys futures.

The varsity girls 1600 saw multiple PRS as well. Jessica Cervantes lead the team with a 2 second PR of 6:22. Next was Lizbeth Espana in 6:29, ripping 9 seconds off her PR. Keyla Sifuentes, a newcomer to track after an excellent first XC season took 13 seconds off her PR to run 6:33. Ashley Preciado and Emely Lopez came in together at 6:41. This was an 11 second PR for Emely, and while it wasn’t a PR for Ashley, she is more than 20 seconds ahead of her start from last year.

The boys 1600 saw Brandon Cruz lead the group in 5:06. Melvin Estrada also had a solid season opener of 5:14. Nien Tran ran 5:29, a long way from his 5:01, but we’ve learned that Nien takes a longer time than most to get in shape. Jerricho was off to a good start in his 1600 but took a fall and suffered minor injury, only running 5:32 despite going through 800 meters under 5:10 pace.

The hurdle races were next. Cecelia Usui made her debut in 21.58 despite a -1.8 m/s headwind. I’ve been fortunate enough to have coached 2 CCS Qualafiers in girls hurdles and 3 division champions between Andrea Ortiz and Valeria Cortez, and neither of them ran as fast as Cecelia did her first try at the event. Yesenia Martinez ran the varsity girls event in 20.25 into a -2.5m/s headwind. A wind this strong makes a big difference, as the wind conversion formula indicates that time would be a 19.53 under neutral conditions, a strong start to the season.

In the boys 110 hurdles, Rodolf Ocampo made his debut as the team’s highest ranked returning athlete within the CCS in the past decade. After some very strong 60 hurdles performances in early February, Rodolf had spent the last 3 weeks in the Philippines with family, only arriving the night before the Willow Glen Invite, hardly ideal for great performance. Even so, he ran 16.60 into a headwind to place 5th in the meet, narrowly losing to fellow CCS qualifiers. Jamie Vong made his debut in the event in 18.31, a very strong time for his first try. Dekota Castro-Lopez ran a big PR of 19.61, a PR by over 2 seconds despite the headwind. I feel very strong about our hurdles group heading into this season.

Ruth managed a small PR in the 400, running 1:22.01 and proving that she is truly a long distance runner. Hektor Olivera and Navbir Kahlon ran 1:04 and 1:05 in their first attempts at the event. Yeimili Adame managed a very strong season opener of 1:05.52 a PR by .13 to start the season. This is an excellent start, even faster than the season opener of Paloma Contreras when she won the WV title for the team in 2015 and qualified for CCS. In the boys varsity 400, Hector Hidalgo ran a 1:01 in his first attempt at the event and Angel Guerrero lowered his PR a full second from 59.40 to 58.28.

Rain began just in time for the 100s but the team still managed some solid early performances. Newcomer Jenny Gomez was the fastest lady Comet of the day, running 15.17, a very strong early performance. Jenny Fimbres was not far behind in 15.32, just .02 off her PR already. The flying Jenny’s will look to spearhead the frosh/soph girls 4×100 all season. The young lady COmet throwers also showed up strong in the 100, Jimmie Chircop ran 16.04 and Sara Hawkes 16.13. This pair looks to help form a formidable throwers 4×100. Franica Castro (17.67) and Daniela Huitron (17.80) rounded out the FS girls 100.

Jordan lead the team in the F/S boys 100 running 12.42, just .06 off of his PR. Justin took .3 off of his PR to run 13.41. Soreya Thach made his debut in 13.58. Jose Garcia took a big chunk off of his PR lowering his 100m best from 14.41 to 13.68 (and on his birthday no less).

Miny Pham and Azalea Galinato ran very similar times of 15.20 and 15.23 as the only varsity girls competing, solid early season times. Despite the bad weather, and the fact that he’s still dealing with a hamstring injury, Raven Alcantara ran 11.69 to open his season. In similar conditions in 2019, Raven ran 12.02 at Willow Glen, and managed to end the season with a best 11.47, so this 11.69 clocking is a very strong performance in my mind. Geo was the next Comet in at 12.09. Rodolf and Jamie ran 12.21 and 12.22, PRS for both boys though Rodolf has run faster with a big tailwind. These 4 figure to be the ‘A’ team for the 4×100 this season, and we’ll be aiming to soon have all 4 under the 12 second barrier.

More field events were being contested at this point. Jordan had a strong day in the frosh/soph long jump, going 18-5 to place 3rd overall. Soreya and Jose also competed with Jose managing a 6 inch PR. Yesenia went 27-2 in triple jump, and 4-2 in high jump to start her season. Minhy and Cecelia also long jumped, though both were short of their PRS.

In the varsity girls discus, Adriana Marcelino threw her 2nd best toss ever, 75-6 to place 13th out of 33 throwers. In the boys Shot Put, Hugo Marquez threw 23-6.5. Sara narrowly missed medaling for the team, placing 5th in the frosh/soph girls shot put with a toss of 24-4, 4 inches shy of 4th place. Clarrisa Morales also had a strong debut of 23-00.50.

Back on the track it was time for the 800. Justin and Omar both netted PRS with Justin running 2:32 and Omar running 2:36 in just their 2nd try at the event. On the varsity girls side, Mya Hammond lead the group with a seasons best 2:54. Emely managed a 2nd big PR on the day, running 3:05 for the event. Brandon barely missed his PR running a high 2:19 in the event. The final event of the day for the Comets was the 300 hurdles. Both Yeimili and Dekota achieved PRS despite some rain. Yeimili ran 55.53, and Dekota 51.32.

Considering the weather, it was a very strong meet for the Comets. The team will continue gearing up for their season with the K-Bell Invitational on Saturday March 14th. The team will have it’s first dual meet of the season at home on Thursday March 19th against the Prospect Panthers.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

James Lick Track and Field: 2020 Season Preview

The Winter season of CCS sports is nearly over which means that the time for Spring Sports is nearly here, brining with it yet another James Lick track season. The 2019 season saw the Comets achieve their first winning season in the ‘B’ division of the BVAl ever, with the varsity boys squad finishing 5-2. This is a particularly exciting year given the string returners on the boys side especially, setting the team up to be competitive against every team they face in the division.

The division has a slightly new look with Perennial power Pioneer moving up to the ‘A’ division and Branham High School moving down. Pioneer went 7-0 on both the boys and girls sides last season, so their departure opens the door for new champions, although Branham will provide stiff competition in their stead.

Below, you can see lists of the top returning athletes in the division (based on marks in 2019) in each event. Obviously it’s tough to say what new athletes will show up, but this provides a decent idea of where the team stands in different areas.

Top Returning Boys

Top returning Girls

2019 Boys Point Scoring breakdown 

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 15.85 27 59% 7
Hurdles 12 18 66% 12.5
Jumps 23.25 36 65% 30
Relays 4.28 10 43% 14
Sprints 11.85 27 44% 10
Throws 4.71 18 26% 1

As this chart shows, the boys were an above average team in the division in 3/6 event areas, and were nearly league average in 2 others. Throws was the team’s real weakness in 2019, and it is a weakness the team, and throws coach Raul Lopez are working hard to rectify.

The team’s strongest event was boys hurdles and the event figures to be an even greater strength for the team this season. Rodolf Ocampo made it all the way to CCS trials last year after breaking through for a PR of 15.97 at last year’s BVAL finals. For reference however, he did not even run under 17 seconds until our division finals meet, and he should make a run at being the ‘B’ division champ in the event. Factor in Josh Merin who finished 6th in teh division in only his 3rd attempt at the 110 hurdles and these two seniors should form a very strong 1-2 punch for the team.

Things are looking good as the team comes out of conditioning. We use the early season to work n acceleration, with athletes like Rodolf running the 60 meter hurdles at the Los Gatos All Comers meet. A year ago, his PR in the event was 9.97. In just two all comers meets this year, he’s lowered his PR to 8.87.

The team has to deal with the loss of Salvador Lopez, the team’s #1 jumper from last season who is now at Piedmont Hills HS. Still, a strong jump core of Jamie Vong, Geo Campos and Jordan Lagura will look to keep jumps an event of strength for the team after scoring points at division finals last year. Jamie is another athlete off to a great early start. Last season he ended with a long jump PR of 18-6.5 Defying even his own expectations, this past Saturday at the all comers meet, Jamie managed a massive new PR of 19-7.

The team last top distance runner Erik Olsvold who graduated last year, but the team still has a number of scoring distance runners returning. Jerricho Habon is the #2 ranked 800m runner in the division and Brandon Cruz and Mark Orpia both return as sub 5 minute milers already, meaning distance should still be an area of strength although a very strong Branham distance squad will shake things up as well.

The sprints and relays squad was the team’s most improved last year. The 2019 team was the first 4×100 team from James Lick since 2001 to make CCS and 3 of the 4 members of the team are back. The returning members of the team who are conditioning are all ahead of where they were last year as well. After running the 60 meter dash 3 times last year, Raven Alcantara ended the season with a PR of 7.41, the fastest time we have on record. In only one all comers meet this season, Raven has run 7.28.

A year ago, the team’s top 5 boys in the 60 were Raven: 7.41,  Geo Campos 7.60, Salvador Lopez: 7.83, Josh Merin: 7.83 and Misael Herrera at 7.99. Geo and Josh are still in basketball season, Sal is at piedmont and Misael has graduated, yet the sprint team is poised to be much stronger this year based on early 60 meter times.

The team’s top sprinters so far, with still one all comers meet to go are:

Raven: 7.41

Rodolf: 7.53 (pr of 8.17 in 2019)

Jamie: 7.61 (PR of 8.07 in 2019)

Eric Dang 7.71 (a newcomer Sophmore we’re very excited about)

Jerricho Habon 7.72 (PR of 8.07 in 2019).

These times have been achieved without 3 of our 5 fastest returning sprinters.Our team’s acceleration is well ahead of where it was at this time a year ago.

Boys throws were the team’s biggest weakness last season, but coach Raul is hard at work trying to fix that. Throws in the ‘B’ division are a relatively weak event currently, and several newcomers are looking to make an impact.

From top to bottom, the boys squad should be a force in the division, looking for another winning season, and maybe even a division title.

 

Event Group Average Points Per Dual Meet Points Available Per Meet Average Points as percentage of Available League Finals Points
Distance 13.55 27 50% 21
Hurdles 13.1 18 73% 24
Jumps 14.86 27 55% 0
Relays 1.73 10 17% 3
Sprints 7.72 27 28% 1
Throws 14.85 18 82% 32

The girls team was very strong last year in throws and in hurdles but both events will take a huge dent with the graduation of Valeria Cortez and Marquise Nelson. Both athletes made CCS in throws, and Valeria in particular scored the most dual meet points of any Comet on record last season, she will not be easily replaced.

The strides made by athletes like Adriana Marcelino who improved her discus by over 10 feet last year, will be key to keeping the Comets competitive in throws. A batch of young throwers is coming out from winter sports, including the younger sister of Charli Chircop. Charli threw 118-2 in discus in 2018 to set the school record, and her sister Jimmie is a Sophmore now, we can only hope she is a chip off the old block.

In hurdles, the loss of Valeria hurts, but Yesenia Martinez remains as a strong athlete in the event, a former BVAL qualafier. Natalie Rem will also have an impact as will freshmen Ceclia who is looking like a future star so far.

With a healthy season, Natalie can take the team far in jumps. She is still one of the top jumpers in the league with her triple jump PR of 33-4 being particularly strong in the division. Much of the girls season hinges upon her performance, as the team’s projected top sprinter as well. Lisbeth Galdamez has been a very reliable sprinter for the team, and if she can have one more breakthrough she could go from consistent 2nd and 3rds for the team in the 100 to achieving event wins. She and Yesenia also form the team’s solid 1-2 punch in long jump. Yeimili Adame has been the team’s top 400 runner and will look to end her senior year strong, coming off of a strong soccer season.

In distance, the team will also have to overcome the loss of Arlet Miranda. This is not an easy task but the younger distance girls stepped up huge in cross country to go 4-3 without Arlet. Jessica Cervantes and Lizbeth Espana are both in shape to PR already based on the al comers meet where Jessica ran 6:27 for the full mile (current PR of 6:24) and Lizbeth ran 6:38 (same as her PR for 1600). These two will be relied upon heavily, alongside young talents like Daisy Flores to help the team score points in distance.

The girls squad is looking to rebound from a 2-5 season, and add a couple more wins to the ledger this year. The team is determined to make our 3rd year in the ‘B’ division our most successful so far.

The team will compete at the Los Gatos all comers meet on Saturday February 22nd. The following week the team will face Independence in a scrimmage meet. Finally the season will truly begin on Saturday March 7th when the team competes at the Willow Glen Invitational.

James Lick Track 2010-2019: All Decade Team

This blog will be an attempt to name the James Lick all Decade Team. The main criteria for this list will simply be the best marks achieved in this decade, under the hypothetical of a championship meet where the team can only enter 3 athletes in each event. The main complication to this simple procedure is in the case of athletes who excelled in a variety of events when athletes are limited to a 4 event maximum.

I will explain my logic in who I’d pick and why, and I will include 2 alternates in each event in the case of extenuating circumstances, these athletes would step in.

For the sake of context, I’ll go through each event and explain how well the Comets would do in each event by using the 2019 BVAL Finals meet for comparison, where the best athletes from all 3 divisions compete together.

4×100: 

4×100
Place Boy Girl 
1. 2019: 45.06 2018: 53.85
2. 2018: 45.50  2016: 54.14
3.  2017: 46.88  2015: 55.04 

As you can see, the best 4×100 teams of the decade for the Comets were the 2019 boys squad and the 2018 girls squad. The 2019 boys team had the following competitors along with their best 100m times.
1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47   2. Salvador Lopez: 11.84  3. Geovanny Campos 11.87 Rodolf Ocampo: 12.06.   They are the #2, #4, #5 and #7 Comet sprinters of the decade. For the purpose of the all decade team, I’d substitute Sal and Rodolf Out as both boys excel in other events, and substitute in Davion Thomas (11.42) and Ace Medina (11.68). Assuming similar handoffs, this team would run approximately 44.2. which would have been good for 4th at BVAL finals last year.

The 2018 girls squad consisted of: 1. Natalie Rem: (13.49), 2. Lisbeth Galdamez (13.90) 3. Yeimili Adame (14.44) and Justine Austria (14.54). Despite the 53.85 time of the team being tops in the decade, On paper this team could be improved alot. Natalie and Lis are the top 2 Comet sprinters of the decade, but the addition of Maria Mendoza (13.94) and Andrea Ortiz (14.04) would likely bring this team down to a high 52, maybe 52.9. This would only be 9th at BVAL finals last year, as girls sprints have been a weak spot this decade.

 

4×100 all decade teams: 

 

  1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47                                          1. Maria Mendoza: 13.94
  2. Ace Medina 11.68                                                    2. Andra Ortiz: 14.04
  3. Goevanny Campos 11.87                                        3. Lisbeth Galdamez 13.90
  4. Davion Thomas: 11.42                                            4. Natalie Rem: 13.49

(Alternates):  Jose Limon 11.97                                          Karen Montes (14.19)

 

1600 All Decade Team 

1600
Place Boy Girl 
1. Azael Zamora: 4:33.64  

Class of 2018

Daniela Camacho: 5:27.54

Class of 2015

2. Erik Olsvold: 4:37.19 

Class of 2019

Arlet Miranda: 5:31.27

Class of 2019

3.  Karan Singh: 4:39.91

Class of 2015

Belen Sanchez: 6:01.67

Class of 2019

This team is pretty straight forward. Azael, Erik and Karan are the 3 fastest milers of the decade, and all have great experience in running it. On the girls side, Belen is actually the 5th fastest lady Comet of the decade in the 1600. That being said, there is a big gap from Daniela and Arlet down to #3 (Maria Mendoza at 5:52). Even more so to Paloma Contreras (6:01.00). Both Maria and Paloma are more useful to the team in other events however, yielding the 3rd spot on the all-decade team to Belen.

Both dual meet squads will be dominant in the ‘C’ division, Strong in the ‘B’ division and decent in the ‘A’ division.

Boys Alternates: Ricardo Flores: 4:42.18   Nathan Bernardo: 4:47.52

Girls Alternates: Ashley Preciado: 6:09.84  Daisy Nava: 6:11.20

100/ 110 Hurdles All Decade Team 

 

110/110H
Place Boy Girl 
1. Rodolf Ocampo: 15.97

Class of 2020

Valeria Cortez: 16.75

Class of 2019

2. Cody Huoch: 16.59 

Class of 2018

Andrea Ortiz: 17.10

Class of 2016

3.  Hadji Yono-Cruz: 17.83

Class of 2018

Kirsten Yutuc: 18.22

Class of 2020

This list is again quite straight forward, these are the top 3 hurdlers of the decade for the Comets. This would be quite a formidable team as all 6 of these hurdlers made BVALS in this event at least once in their careers and Rodolf and Valeria both made CCS. Valeria was a 2 time ‘B’ division champ in this event, and this squad would score points in a dual against every BVAL team.

Boys Alternates: Josh Merin: 18.07  Mark Orpia: 18.47

Girls Alternates: Yesenia Martinez: 18.43  Susie Peterson: 18.85

400m All Decade Team 

 

400
Place Boy Girl 
1. Misael Herrera: 54.51

Class of 2019

Paloma Contreras: 1:02.54

Class of 2015

2. Gustavo Aguilera: 54.70

Class of 2017

Yeimili Adame: 1:05.65 

Class of 2020

3.  Salvador Lopez: 54.97

Class of 2020

Cierra Gutierrez: 1:07.59

Class of 2018

3 Comets managed to break 55 for the 400 this season, so unsurprisingly they make the cut here. Gustavo Aguilera won a ‘C’ divsion 400m title as did Paloma Contreras, the #4 girl in school history the event and also a CCS qualifier. Yeimili is a clear #2 before a list of 5 comets between 1:06 and 1:07. From Andrea Ortiz, Maria Mendoza and Arlet Miranda, the team has 3 girls at 1:06 who are better at other events. This continues with Daniela Camacho at 1:07.54. This leads us to a freshmen who had a lot of ability who did not stick with the sort in Cierra Gutierrez. Cierra was not the most reliable runner, but her talent make her a high risk high reward option in the 3rd slot.

The boys 400 squad would only be moderately strong in the ‘B’ division. The 1-2 punch of Paloma and Yeimili would be solid even in the ‘A’ division (mainly because of Paloma) though this is not one of the team’s stronger events this decade.

Boys Alterantes: Jose Limon (55.28)  Cesar Azevedo (55.28)

Girls Alternates: Gabriela Aguilar: 1:09.39  Justine Austria: 1:10.11

100m All Decade Team 

 

100m
Place Boy Girl 
1. Raven Alcantara: 11.47

Class of 2020

Natalie Rem: 13.49

Class of 2021

2. Davion Thomas: 11.43 (W)

Class of 2016

Lisbeth Galdamez: 13.90

Class of 2020

3.  Ace Medina: 11.68 

Class of 2018

Maria Mendoza: 13.94 

Class of 2017

The boys list is very clear here as only 3 boys in this decade ran under 11.8, let alone 11.7. Raven and Davion as a 1-2 punch would do well in even the ‘A’ division as both are near CCS caliber runners. Ace would be a strong 3rd. On the girls side, this is one of our weaker events. Natalie is the only lady Comet in the entire decade to score points at division finals for the team, but the 3 girls on this list are the only sub 14 second girls of the decade.

Boys Alternates: Geo Campos: 11.87      Jose Limon: 11.97

Girls Alternates:  Karen Montes: 14.19   Marquise Nelson: 14.19

800m All Decade team 

800
Place Boy Girl 
1. Erik Olsvold: 2:05.90

Class of 2019

Daniela Camacho: 2:27.64

Class of 2015

2. Jerricho Habon: 2:06.52

Class of 2020

Arlet Miranda: 2:28.08

Class of 2019

3.  Nathan Bernardo: 2:07.85

Class of 2017

Daisy Nava: 2:41.58

Class of 2017

 

The 800 is the strongest running event of the decade for the girls, the only running event with two different CCS qualifiers. Those two would do well in any division. The 3rd spot in terms of time would be Paloma at 2:37, but it’s difficult to come back after the 400 wit a fast 800 so I would sub her out for Daisy Nava at 2:41.58. Maria went a tick faster at 2:40, but could do more in the 300 hurdles which would be the event next up, which makes Daisy the best option in the 3rd spot. That trio could sweep half of the teams in the BVAL.

On the boys side, the top 2 are clear, though this has been the weakest distance event for the boys this decade. The team has produced 5 BVAL qualifiers but no one close to CCS level. Azael and Karan are the 3rd and 4th fastest boys of the decade, but both are better at the 3200. It makes more sense to go with Nathan as a result, considering he was only marginally slower than Azy and Karan. This boys squad would not be competitive in the ‘A’ division but would do well against many BVAL teams.

Boys Alternates: Ricardo Flores: 2:08.xx  Hector Ramirez: 2:12.57

Girls Alternates: Ana Tapia: 2:46.00  Brianna Flores: 2:46.56

300 Hurdles All Decade Team 

300h 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Cody Huoch: 42.62

Class of 2018

Andrea Ortiz: 50.19 

Class of 2016

2. Gustavo Aguilera: 44.67

Class of 2017

Maria Mendoza: 51.28

Class of 2017

3.  Rodolf Ocampo: 45.46

Class of 2020

Kirsten Yutuc: 51.80 

Class of 2020

 

 

The girls list is very straightforward, the top of the decade. Andrea was a CCS qualafier in the event and near ‘C’ division champ. Even in the ‘A’ division this squad would do fairly well. In the ‘B’ division the trio would be dominant.

On the boys side, Cody was a CCS qualifier in the event, Gustavo and Rodolf both BVAL level qualifiers. Sal was a bit faster than Rodolf in the 3rd spot but his versatility makes him more useful in other events.

Boys Alternates: Mark Orpia: 45.50  Jonathan Rodriguez: 46.87

Girls Alternates: Valeria Cortez: 52.12  Yesenia Martinez: 54.72

200m All Decade Team 

200m 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Davion Thomas 23.19 

Class of 2016

Paloma Contreras: 28.81

Class of 2015

2. Raven Alcantara: 23.97 

Class of 2020

Mya Hammond: 29.89

Class of 2021

3.  Ace Medina: 24.17 

Class of 2018

Justine Austria: 29.91 

Class of 2020

The boys list would stay within the top 3. Davion made CCS in the 200 making him formidable in even the ‘A’ division and that trio would do very well in the ‘B’ division as well. The girls 200 is arguably the team’s weakest event of the decade on the girls side. The team’s top 3 is Maria, Paloma and Andrea, and both Maria and Andrea were better at the 300 hurdles which is right before the 200, basically eliminating both from the squad.

Knowing that this event isn’t one of the team’s best, I’d skip the 300 hurdlers to let them focus on their main events, which brings us to Mya and Justine as the 2-3. This team would scrape some ‘B’ division points but not do too much more than that.

Boys Alternates: Jose Limon: 24.22 Misael Herrera: 24.56

Girls Alternates: Karen Montes 30.09 Yeimili Adame: 30.10

3200 All Decade Team 

 

3200
Place Boy Girl 
1. Azael Zamora: 9:55.14

Class of 2018

Daniela Camacho:12:18.13

Class of 2015

2. Erik Olsvold: 10:20.72

Class of 2019

Arlet Miranda: 12:28.59

Class of 2019

3.  Karan Singh: 10:23.00 

Class of 2015

Belen Sanchez: 13:15.40 

Class of 2019

I wouldn’t change this list from the natural top 3.  Both squads would be successful ‘A’ division squads, and very strong ‘B’ division squads. I’d skip Nathan as an alternate to let him focus on other events.

Boys Alternates: Hector Ramirez: 10:42.15  Inteus Castro-Lopez: 10:51.01

Girls Alternates: Elizabeth Guevara: 13:23.07 Ashley Preciado: 13:41.31

4×400 All Decade Team 

 

4×400
Place Boy Girl 
1. 2019: 3:36.78 2015: 4:31.12
2. 2018: 3:39.83 2016: 4:33.15
3.  2015: 3:40.13 2018: 4:34.35 

The 2019 4×400 team was tops in the decade with the #1, #3, #4 and #7 boys of the decades. Misael at #1, Sal at #3 and Jerricho at #4 can all stay. We would sub out Erik (55.4) for Gustavo at 54.7 to get a little faster. 3:36 is a CCS level time.

On the girls, the squad of 2015 had Paloma at #1, Daniela at #6 and then Daisy and Gabby (#11 and #8 of the decade). The addition of Maria Mendoza at 1:06 along with Andrea at 1:06 could help this team run as fast as 4:22 which would be a school record and borderline CCS level time. Subbing out Daniela for Yeimili would make it a borderline 4:20 team.

    1. Misael Herrera (54.51)                                   1. Paloma Contreras (1:02.54)
    2. Gustavo Aguilera (54.70)                                2. Yeimili Adame (1:05.65)
    3. Salvador Lopez (54.97)                                   3. Andrea Ortiz (1:06.35)
    4. Jerricho Habon (55.28)                                   4. Maria Mendoza (1:06.50)

Boys Alternates:  Jose Limon: 55.28,  Cesar Azevedo: 55.36

Girls Alternates: Arlet Miranda: 1:06.80  Daniela Camacho: 1:07.54

Shot Put All Decade Team 

 

Shot Put
Place Boy Girl 
1. Robert Rios: 43-2

Class of 2015

Alejandra Ceron: 35-8.50

Class of 2018

2. Josh Garcia: 42-9

Class of 2018

Marquise Nelson: 33-8

Class of 2019

3.  Kevin Baltazar 39-5

Class of 2014

Valeria Cortez: 33-7 

Class of 2019

Both Shot Put Squads would do very well throughout the BVAL and even in the ‘A’ division. Of the 6 Comets on this team, 5 made CCS in the event Alejandra is the school record holder in the event and even finished top 8 at the CCS top 8 meet in 2017. Robert Rios was a 2 time ‘C’ division champ and Alejandra even won a ‘B’ division title in the event.

Boys Alternates: Daniel Medina: 38-6.5   Alejandro Alonzo: 36-3

Girls Alternates: Charli Chircop: 32-10  Leysmi Saldana: 24-7

Discus All Decade Team 

 

Discus 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Alex Alonzo: 111-8

Class of 2017

Charlie Chircop: 118-2

Class of 2018

2. Daniel Medina: 108-6

Class of 2018

Valeria Cortez: 116-10 

Class of 2019

3.  Josh Garcia: 107-6 

Class of 2018

Alejandra Ceron: 106-8

Class of 2018

Girls discus was the EVENT of the decade for the Comets. A streak of 5 straight individual division champs in the event to end the decade, with 6 total CCS qualifications and two different school record holders, the team would dominate most leagues in the event. The boys squad would be competitive in the ‘B’ division as well.

Boys Alternates: Pablo Segovia: 105-5   Brando Meclhor: 105-3

Girls Alternates: Marquise Nelson: 94-5   Mariah Santos: 86-3

Long Jump All Decade Team

 

Long Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Salvador Lopez: 20-2 

Class of 2020

Lyndel Ventura: 16-7

Class of 2018

2. Davion Thomas: 19-10

Class of 2016

Natalie Rem: 15-1

Class of 2021

3.  Geo Campos: 19-2 

Class of 2020

Elyse Elder: 15-0 

Class of 2018

This is another straight forward team. 3 Girls broke 15 feet in the decade. On the boys side 4 boys cracked 19 feet, and the top 3 are our jumpers. Both teams would be competitive in the ‘A’ division but do very well in the lower ones.

Boys Alternates: Nathan Bernardo: 19-1.5  Raven Alcantara: 18-7.5

Girls Alternates: Kirsten Yutuc: 14-9        Marquie Nelson: 14-9

Triple Jump All Decade Team 

Triple Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Cody Huoch: 40-3

Class of 2018

Natalie Rem: 33-4.25

Class of 2021

2. Nathan Bernardo: 39-5

Class of 2017

Lyndel Ventura: 31-0

Class of 2018

3.  Hadji Yono-Cruz: 38-10.5

Class of 2017

Kirtsen Yutuc: 30-10 

Class of 2020

Natalie’s triple jump puts her at a CCS level, and the girls trio in general would be a solid ‘A’ division group. The boys squad would struggle in ‘A’ but do very well in the ‘B’division.

Boys Alternates: Salvador Lopez: 38-2.5 , Jordan Lagura: 37-9.5

Girls Alternates: La-Ree Tea: 30-0        Yesenia Martinez: 28-8

 

High Jump
Place Boy Girl 
1. Karan Singh: 5-8

Class of 2015

Elyse Elder: 4-8

Class of 2018

2. Ace Medina: 5-8

Class of 2018

Yesenia Martinez: 4-6

Class of 2020

3.  Salvador Lopez: 5-8 

class of 2020

Lisbeth Galdamez: 4-4

Class of 2020

Elyse is the clear top jumper of the decade at 4-8 and was a near CCS level high jumper. Paloma and Lis both went 4-4 but Paloma already has a heavy load on this list so Lis at 3rd spot makes more sense. That team is a solid ‘B’ division level team. On the boys side, 3 different Comets went 5-8 this decade, making the squad a solid ‘A’ level team and a strong ‘B’ division squad.

Boys Alternates: Jonathan Rodriguez: 5-6  Erik Olsvold: 5-5

Girls Alternates: Marquise Nelson: 4-4  Brecia Dagio: 4-3

Pole Vault All Decade Team 

 

Pole Vault 
Place Boy Girl 
1. Mark Orpia: 10-8 Yesenia Martinez: 6-0
2. Rodolf Ocampo: 10-2 
3.  Adrian DeLaRosa: 8-6

We only just brought back pole vault in 2018 and the boys squad is quickly coming up with Mark in particular nearing a CCS caliber level. Since many teams do not even have vaulters, we would do quite well in this event overall.

Decade Summation:

This will hopefully go down as a historic decade of turnaround. The decade began with 4 straight winless seasons. 0-14 Records from 2010-2013 got team off to a 0-56 start to the decade.

In 2014 we got a win on each side for a combined record of 2-12, and then 2015 was our big jump, going 10-4 with a 6-1 record on the girls side.

We won two league championships in girls track, the first 2 in school history in 2016 and 2017 before moving into the ‘B’ division. Even in the ‘B’ division we’ve fought hard going 6-8 and then 7-7 last year. From 0-48 in ‘C’ to 13-15 in ‘B’ to end the decade is quite a significant turnaround, especially considering the back to back titles and 25-3 record of the 16-17 teams along the way.

I’d like to thank every member of the team who participated and helped make this turn around possible, as well as the fantastic coaches of James Lick over the past decade. From the birth of a throws dynasty under coach Jon Vela, to the revival of Pole Vault under coach Raul Lopez, this has been a decade of great growth for James Lick Track, and the members of the 2020 squad will look to keep the momentum going in the next decade.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

Comets End Season Strong at CCS Finals. Varsity Girls finish 4 places better than rank

The 2019 cross country season officially came to a close for the James Lick cross country team at CCS finals. The finals were hosted at the historic Crystal Springs course, the same 2.95 mile course that the team ran at BVAL Finals. In what has been a down year in large part due to injury, the team went in hoping to end on a strong note and start healing up for track. The team resoundingly achieved  this goal.

The varsity girls squad went into CCS ranked 13th out of the 14 complete division IV teams that qualified for the CCS meet, only ahead of Kipp High School. Besides this, the team was still without team #2 runner Mya Hammond whose breakthrough season ended early for medical reasons. To further add to the team’s woes, Jessica Cervantes, consistently the team’s #1 runner had to drop out of the race due to knee injury. The team’s depth was on display however, as the team beat expectations despite missing their 1-2 punch to finish in 9th place. This is only the 3rd top 10 finish (on record) at CCS for the girls in school history. The team also had the 2nd lowest spread in the race (time distance between 1st and 5th runner) with a spread of 1:16. Only CCS champion Menlo, with an impressive 6 second spread did a better job of finishing close together.

The team was lead by breakout star Keyla Sifuentes. In her first cross country season, Keyla has improved by leaps and bounds all year. At her first race, Keyla managed to run 8:40 pace for the 2 mile course at DeLaSalle High school. A few weeks later, she was our #6 girl running 24:06 at the Crystal Springs Center Meet (8:06) pace. Here at CCS, she was our #1 girl with a  time of 22:47. This was a PR by 1:02, and the 7:43 pace she ran is the best of her career by far.

Daisy Flores was next in 23:03, a PR by 53 seconds as well. As only a freshmen, Daisy’s time is very impressive, the 6th fastest James Lick freshmen time in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). Lizbeth Espana loped 50 seconds off of her PR too to stop the clock at 23:26. Emely Lopez finished at 23:48 for a small PR and Ruth Rodriguez picked up the slack to run 24:03, and 11 second PR as the 5th girl. Ashley Preciado ended her HS career as the 6th girl in the race.

Again, heading into the race the girls were ranked 9th, ahead of just Kipp High School. The team defeated Kipp, Carmel, LCPA and King City to finish 9th, narrowly losing to Seaside High School who took 8th. The fact that team’s top 5 are all non seniors, (as well as a 1-2 punch that didn’t race at CCS who are also juniors) gives the team great optimism as we look ahead at what could be a very strong year in 2020.

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The varsity girls before the race 

The boys team only ran 3 runners. Junior Omar Fimbres ran great, taking nearly 30 seconds off of his PR to stop the clock at 18:13. Nien Tran (18:30) and Brandon Cruz (18:39) competed hard but did not PR in their final HS race.

With the season coming to an end, everyone will take a well earned break and our focus as we look ahead to track is very clear: Stay Healthy. Injuries are a part of any season, but losing the team’s top 2 boys in the early part of the season is a recipe for disaster. Likewise Jessica, Mya, and Lizbeth, 3 of the team’s top 5 on the girls side missed/ didn’t finish a race in a combined 9 races due to injury this year. This team has a lot of potential if we can stay healthy, and that will be at the center of our attention as we work towards a 2020 track season in which the varsity boys are coming off their first winning season in the ‘B’ division with over 90% of the team returning.

Thanks for reading!

 

 

James Lick Varsity girls 4-1 after 3rd league meet: Big Improvements all around.

The Comets had their 3rd league meet of the season on Thursday October 17th 2019. After the first two league meets of the year were fairly poor performances by the team, the Comets really surged ahead at this meet, having by far the best all around league performance of the season so far despite still dealing with several injuries.

The team was facing off against the Sobrato Bulldogs and the Oak Grove Eagles, and the meet began with the frosh/soph boys grabbing their first wins of the season.

The team was lead by Justin Nguyen in 20:31, just missing his PR by 10 seconds. Omar Sanchez had a big breakthrough running 20:52, a PR by a minute and 30 seconds. Navbir Kahlon ran 21:14, a PR by a minute 30 as well. Carlos Nava and Josue Gome came in together at 21:30 and 21:44. Both were big PRS, especially for Carlos whose previous PR was 24:20. Jason Garcia rounded out the frosh/soph team in 23:20 a PR by almost 2 minutes.  The boys defeated both Oak Grove and SObrato to move to a 2-3 record on the season.

The biggest breakthrough on the day was the varsity girls team. The team now has 5 girls faster than our number 1 girl at league race 1. We are the only team in the division that can come close to saying that. Jessica Cervantes and Mya Hammond lead the team in 21:32 and 21:38, both PRS, Mya’s being a PR by over a minute. Daisy Flores, Emely Lopez and Lizbeth Espana packed together and all broke the 23 minute barrier for the first time. Daisy finished in 22:22 (PR by 1:26) Emely at 22:27 (PR by 0:43) and Lizbeth at 22:35 (PR by 1:55).  For reference no Comet ran under 23 minutes at our first league meet this year. In her first varsity race, Keyla Sifuentes ran a strong PR of 23:28, loping over 2 minutes off her previous best. Ashley Preciado rounded out the team in 24:32.

The team spread (difference between 1st and 5th girl) was also by far the lowest in the division at 1:03. The team’s top 6 runners were 5 juniors and 1 freshmen, indicating great hopes for next year. With the two victories over Sobrato and Oak Grove, the varsity girls are 4-1 on the season, clinching their 2nd consecutive winning season and only the 3rd winning season for the girls in the ‘B’ division in school history.

IMG_0726
Jessica Cervantes during the 1st mile of the race

The varsity boys race was next, and the team was still dealing with significant injuries. Mark Orpia and Jerricho Habon, the team’s 1-2 from race 1 are still out with injury, a big part of why the team is winless this season. The team nonetheless had its best race of the year by far.

Nien Tran spearheaded the team in 16:50, a PR by 40 seconds to crack the high quality 17 minute barrier. Brandon Cruz just missed doing the same thing, running 17:06 for a 25 second PR. Both boys beat all the runners from Sobrato and Nien beat Oak grove’s top boy. It would not however prove enough to earn a win. Omar Fimbres managed a small PR of 18:01. He just missed beating two Sobrato boys at 17:57, this would help seal the Comets 27-28 loss to the Bulldogs. Next in was Melvin Estrada in a seasons best 18:33. Melvin just lost to Oak Grove runners who also ran 18:33. Had Melvin beaten them the team would have won that dual, instead the Comets lost 27-30 to the Eagles. Geo Campos was the 5th boy in 19:01, a seasons best. The team came very close to a pair of wins, but the narrow losses drop the team to 0-5 and make an 0-7 season likely. Even so, this race was a big improvement on previous meets this year.

The reserve boys race was next. With the boys team dealing with so many injuries, only 3 Comet boys ran. Josh Merin lead the team in a 20 second PR of 20:31. Abraham Benitez managed a huge PR of 20:50, taking over 3 minutes off his previous best. Luis Escamilla missed his PR by a bit, stopping the clock at 22:13.

The JV/reserve girls race was the final race of the day. Mariana Perez lead the JV girls ina varsit caliber time of 23:14, a 20 second PR. Ruth Rodriguez and Estefani Herrera were next in 23:42 and 23:54, both small PRs. Yesenia Martinez had by far her best race of the season, clocking in at 24:16. Kaylena Gil and Marisol Carlos came in close together at 26:07 and 26:33. For Kaylena this was a PR by over 1 minute and for Marisol it took nearly 4 minutes off of her previous best. Marisol has been radically improving, going from 33 minutes at race 1, to 30:04 at race 2, to now 26:33. Her sister, Deisy Carlos, also broke the 30 minute barrier for the first time, running through at 28:32, a PR by 2 full minutes to end the team’s day.

The JV girls moved to 5-0 on the season and will face the other undefeated JV team, Leigh HS, next week.

The team netted a total of 22 PRS on the day, the most in any race this season and a very high number considering only 30 athletes competed.

The team will compete in their final league meet of the year next Thursday October 24th against Leigh and Pioneer. The team will then send a small contingent down to southern California for the Mt. Sac Invitational that weekend.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

Comets Look Strong at Crystal Springs Center Meet

The Comets competed in the Aragon Center Meet on Wednesday October 9th 2019, with 11 other High Schools. The race was a preview of the league finals course for the team, the nearly 50 year old Crystal Springs cross country course. Since league finals is the most important race of the season for most of the team, getting an early race on the course is important.

There is also a direct relationship between Crystal Springs and our normal league course, Montgomery Hill. Montgomery is a more challenging course, but because it is significantly shorter, most people run 1 minute faster at Montgomery Hill than at Crystal Springs. This is helpful to keep in mind to track the progress of our runners who haven’t run at Montgomery in several weeks now, and to help myself and coach Raul Lopez determine who runs on what team at our next league meet.

The meet began with the frosh/soph boys. Justin Nguyen lead the team witha  time of 22:46, in line with his 21:25 clocking at Montgomery Hill. Navbir Kahlon and OMar Sanchez came in together at 23:06 and 23:07 which shows they are both ready to challenge the 22 minute barrier at Montgomery Hill themselves. Carlos Nava clocked in at 23:27, the best race of his career so far all things considered. Carlos actually ran nearly a minute faster at crystal springs than he has run at Montgomery, showing that he is ready for a big breakthrough at our next league meet. Josue Gomez was the only boy in the race who had run Crystal Springs before, and he ran a full 4 minute PR of 24:12. Jason Madrigal was the last frosh/soph Comet across in 26:43 for his first time on the course.

The next race saw all of the team’s girls competing in one race, a helpful race for helping us determine who should run on which teams next week. Mya Hammond lead the team with a time of 23:04, a PR by over 2 minutes, placing 14th overall. Jessica Cervantes was next, returning from 2 weeks spent in Mexico to run a time of 23:48, not a PR but 50 seconds faster than she ran at this same meet last year. Keyla Sifuentes continued her recent breakthrough to run 24:06 as the #3 girl on the team. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez rounded out the top 5 with times of 24:15 and 24:22 to help the team place 3rd overall on the day. For Emely this was a PR by over 2 minutes. Daisy Flores ran 24:41 for her first time on the course. Mariana Perez managed a 45 second PR of 24:57, giving the team a full 7 girls under the 25 minute barrier.

IMG_0668
Emely Lopez, Keyla Sifuentes and Lizbeth Espana pass the first mile mark in a pack with Daisy Flores close behind

Estefani Herrera beat her center meet time from last year with a time of 25:31. Melanny Sanchez and Yesenia Martinez finished close together in 26:43 and 26:44. Kaylena Gil ran 28:54 and Marisol Carlos 29:52 for their first times on the course. It was overall a strong performance for a girls team missing two of its top 10 runners in the forms of Ashley Preciado and Ruth Rodriguez. We’re hoping for some big PRs on Thursday.

The boys varsity/JV race was the final race of the day and took place after some delay. Nien Tran lead the group with a strong performance and 40 second PR, stopping the clock at 18:05. Brandon Cruz paced Omar Fimbres throughout the race and still beat his time from last year’s center meet, running 19:06. Omar ran a PR of 19:09 in large part thanks to Brandon. Melvin Estrada ran 19:31, a far stronger run than his 20 minute plus clocking at Montgomery Hill at last league race. Geo Campos was the 5th boy on the day in a time of 20:22, only 20 seconds off his performance from league finals last year.

Jonathan Bradely (20:58) and Rodolf Ocampo ( 21:02) came in close together on the back end. Neither boy managed to run this fast last year. Josh Merin managed a huge PR of 2:40, running 21:33, the 7:18 pace being the best of his career for a 3 mile (or near 3 mile) course in his career. Luis Escamilla (24:35) and Luis Gonzales (29:48) ended the Comets day.

IMG_0671
The varsity/JV boys team before the race

Both boys teams are currently 0-3 and next meet (10/17)  figures to be the teams best chance at some wins so far as the team takes on Sobrato and Oak Grove. The team will be competing at league meets in back to back weeks and taking a break from invitationals to focus on Montgomery Hill.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Varsity Girls Scrape Pair of Wins at ST Division Race 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading!

James Lick Cross Country Season Preview 2019

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.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

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The team after the time trial. 

 

Comets To Be Represented at CCS Finals For 3rd Consecutive Year

The Comets took to Gilroy High School on Saturday May 11th 2019 for CCS trials. A total of 6 Comets competed in the meet, the most for James Lick in over a decade. The meet saw a few strong results for the team, and for the 3rd consecutive season, James Lick will have an athlete competing at CCS Finals in the girls discus.

The meet began with the boys 4×100. Geovanny Campos, Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo and Salvador Lopez combined to run 46.04, an off race due to a poor first exchange. This saw them place 28th in the meet. They are nonetheless the first 4×100 team for James Lick to compete at CCS since 2002. With an all junior quartet, the Comets will hope to be back at the event next season.

Marquise Nelson ended her track career with a PR in the Shot Put. She threw 33-8, a PR by 8 inches and moved up to #3 on the schools all-time list in the event. Marquise didn’t join track until this, her senior season. She showed great talent to finish 16th at CCS trials, despite her inexperience in the event.

Rodolf became the first Comet to contest the 110 hurdles at CCS in over a decade as well. Rodolf had alot go wrong with his race. He took 9 steps to the first hudle (All season we’ve used an 8 step takeoff) and this forced him to hurdle on his right leg for the race instead of his left. Rodolf can use both legs effectively because he spent most of the season “four-stepping” (alternating legs) but his left leg is his stronger lead led. He lost momentum and almost crashed into the final hurdle narrowly avoiding it. Despite all this, he ran 16.57, the 2nd best time of his career. He placed 19th and I am very excited about his chances to produce even greater results next season.

The final Comet to compete on the day has been our ringer for the past four seasons, Valeria Cortez. As detailed in past posts, Valeria has been our MVP for 3 straight seasons, and has represented James Lick to a very high caliber both on and off the track.  Because she has been such a strong athlete for such a long time, PRS have not been easy to come by for Valeria.

She entered the meet with a PR of 112-8, 2nd in school history, a mark that had not been improved upon since April of 2018. Both she, and throws coach Raul Lopez have worked hard all season with the goal of making CCS Finals, and finally achieving a PR in the girls discus. This involved weeks of fine-tuning and minor tweaks to her form, all with the hope of squeezing a last few inches out of Valeria’s arm before the end of her High School career.

Only the top 12 athletes advance to CCS Finals in field events, and Valeria was ranked to do so. That being said, the field was very strong.

Valeria’s first throw was a 95 foot mark. Well off her best. Her 2nd was a 108 foot toss with a very high release. The mark put her safely into the top 12, but it looked as if she had more in her on the day. Throw number three looked to be very strong, but Valeria was not able to maintain controlling, she stepped outside the ring for a foul.

On her final throw, Valeria had the same strong rotation, but the release still seemed a little too high. The discus wobbled in the air due to this, but the momentum was there. The throw measured at 116-10, a PR by over 2 feet to send her to CCS Finals as the #6 seed. This is the highest ranking for any James Lick athlete at CCS finals since Ruth Lebeau in 2007.

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Valeria Cortez taking a warmup throw before the meet

Valeria will represent the Comets next Friday at the Gilroy venue. Charli Chircop made CCS finals two years in a row in this event, and now Valeria will take her turn at representing the team at the CCS’ most hallowed event. According to my records, she will be the 26th Comet to compete at CCS Finals.

She and the other 11 ladies in the event will receive 3 throws. The top 8 at that point will be re-seeded and receive an additional 3 throws. The top 8 athletes will score points for their teams. The top 6 athletes make the CCS podium (and I think they get medals) and the top 3 athletes will advance to the State Meet.

Based on the standings, 3rd place is a difficult proposition (124-1 is the 3rd seed). That being said, Valeria is ranked to make the CCS podium. For an athlete who has racked up more medals than any other Comet in recent years, it would be a great one to end on. The competition will be fierce. the #4 seed is less than a foot ahead of Valeria. The #7 seed has a PR over 120′.

It is sure to be an exciting day on Friday May 17th, when Valeria Cortez will represent James Lick for what is likely the final time in a marvelous career that has defined what I affectionately think of as our attempt at a James Lick Track renaissance.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Comets Set New Team Record For Total Points Scored at ST Division Finals

The James Lick Track Team contested day 2 of the ST division finals(‘B’ division of the BVAL) on Saturday May 20th at Lincoln High School. It was the teams 2nd year in the ‘B’ division in the BVAL era (since 1996). In the teams first year, the Comets scored a grand total of 110 points at division finals. A respectable combined total. This year the team managed a total of 158 points, a strong improvement over the year before.

To make ST division finals, many of the events require the athletes to compete in prelims on Thursday, in order to advance to the final on Saturday.  The top 8 athletes in each event score points for their respective teams, while the top 5 in each event advance to BVAL Championships on May 2nd with the chance to advance to CCS Trials.

The meet began with the 4×100. The girls team of Chantrea Thach, Marquise Nelson, Yeimili Adame and Mya Hammond combined to run 56.32 and took 6th overall (3 points for the team). This ends a year for the girls sprint crew full of struggle, with injuries really taking a big hit on the teams depth.

The boys however performed very strongly. The 2018 team was the first Comet team since 2002 to run under 46 seconds for the 4×100. They did so at division finals last year, running 45.88, (5th place) and followed that up with a 45.51 at BVAL champs where we placed 11th, three places off a CCS berth. This years group improved upon the “best time since 2002 status” by running 45.27, only .05 off of the winners, Pioneer.

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Raven Alcantara handing the baton off to Rodolf Ocampo on the 1st exchange 

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this breakthrough time for the team of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos is that every member of the squad is a junior. The team has their sights set on the 45 second barrier at BVAL champs.

The boys 1600 was next, and it was the only distance event where the Comets did not produce points. Nonetheless, both Mark Orpia and Brandon Cruz ran PRS, running 4:55 each, and Melvin Estrada ran a seasons best 5:05 as well. The girls 1600 took place on Thursday, so the next event on the track was the 100 hurdles.

Valeria Cortez won her 3rd consecutive title in the 100 hurdles with a seasons best (2nd best time of her career), 16.84. This was Valeria’s 5th individual championship for the Comets at BVAL division finals (she has 2 in girls discus). While it needs to be acknowledged that all of Valeria’s individual championships came within a division of a larger league, this accomplishment ties her with John Aguiar and Joe Amendt as the only Comets (on record) in school history to win 5 individual league/division titles for the school.

John Aguiar won the SCVAL league title in 100 yard dash from 1953-1955 and had 220 yard dash titles in 53′ and 54.’ Joe won 4 consecutive 800m titles in the MHAL (now the ‘A’ divsion of the BVAL) and won the mile title as a senior as well. The accomplishments/marks of John and Joe are objectively more impressive but is still a hallowed club that Valeria joins, and an achievement we are very proud of.

Yesenia Martinez also qualified for BVAL champs for the 2nd consecutive season with a seasons best 18.57 clocking for 2nd place.

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Valeria Cortez won the 100 hurdle final by a wide margin

In the boys 110 hurdles, the Comets saw a pair of breakthroughs as well. Rodolf Ocampo ran under 17 seconds for the first time, stopping the clock at 16.85 to advance to BVAl champs with a 3rd place performance. Rodolf took 3rd place in pole vault on Thursday as well, helping him become the boys teams highest point scorer at division finals. Joshua Merin in only his 3rd hurdle race ran 18.07, a massive PR for 6th place, just .02 away from a spot at BVALs.

We very much regret not having Josh try hurdling earlier. He ran 21.18 on his first try, then 2 weeks later ran 19.30, only 2 days before his 18.07 clocking today. As a junior, Josh figures to keep improving in the event next season as well.

After running a big PR of 1:05.65 on Thursday, Yeimili struggled in the 400m final, running 1:08 for 8th place. Misael Herrera placed 6th for the Comet boys in 54.88, a good improvement for a team that had no 400m runners make the division final a year ago.

The biggest PR of the day in terms of a major step forward was in the boys 100. Raven has been our best sprinter over the past 2 seasons. He capped off last season at 11.79, and narrowly missed making BVALS (he placed 6 at division finals). His primary goal this year was to advance to BVALS in the 100, but he had only lowered his PR to 11.72. Raven is  a masterful starter, but his weakness has been holding his speed at the end of races. This is evidenced by the fact that his 200m PR entering this season was 25.12 compared to a 100m best of 11.79. This season, he lowered his 200m best all the way down to 24.04 prior to the 100m final, which to me was a sure sign he finally had the strength he needed.

Raven delivered on all hopes, running a massive PR of 11.47 to place 3rd and punch his ticket to BVALS. While there was no wind gauge on what seemed to be a strong tailwind, Raven defeated runners who had run as fast as 11.51 and 11.58 in wind legal conditions this season, showing the legitimacy of his PR.

The girls 800 saw Arlet Miranda run a seasons best 2:30.01 for 2nd place, her best 800m time since her sophomore year when she made CCS in the event. This was especially impressive considering Arlet had to lead the chase pack with winner Hannah Gehrt of Lincoln more than 5 seconds clear of any other runner. Arlet was nearly 4 seconds ahead of 3rd place as well. Mya Hammond ran a PR of 2:48.81 for 9th place, just missing scoring.

Jerricho Habon coasted to a 3rd place finish in the boys 800 running 2:09, sealing his place at BVALS and extending the Comets streak of having at least 1 boy represent the team at BVALS in distance events to a 5th consecutive year, (the girls streak is at 7). Garret Hedlund of Pionerr (1:57 seasons best) and Omar Pina (4:27 1600 PR) were well clear of the field, but Jerricho impressively out-kicked the chase pack.

The Comets had some strong performances in field events as well. Marquise tied for 2nd place in girls Shot Put with a new PR of 33-0. Valeria took 4th in 32-9.5. Sal became the first Comet boy since 2014 to advance to BVAL champs in the long jump, placing 3rd with a leap of 19-4.75. Geo Campos also scored for the team with a jump of 18-5 for 7th place.

The girls 300 saw Valeria take 2nd in a PR of 52.08. Arlet placed 6th though her time was poor as she was fatigued from the 800m. Valeria’s 2nd place 300 hurdle saw her end the day with a total of 33 points at division finals. This is a school record at division finals, bettering her own record of 29 points at the ‘C’ division finals of 2017. As every athlete is allowed 4 events maximum, Valeria’s 33 point performance is very hard to top. She tied with Taylor Hohn of Lincoln (1st in triple jump, 2nd in long jump, 1st in 200m, 2nd in 100m) as the most valuable athlete of the meet.

I do not have records of points scored in league meets from before I was coaching. That being said, I am almost done with year 6 of coaching. In that time, the highest point total any athlete accumulated in a single season was Valeria’s 130 points in 2017, our last year in the ‘C’ division. This year Valeria shattered that mark, with her 33 points at division finals giving her 155 for the season. Considering the 2nd most scored in a season is 113, (by Karan Singh in 2015) I think Valeria’s unofficial record will stand for a long time. We are really going to miss her.

Rodolf and Mark both had off races in the 300 hurdles, but managed to add 4 points to the meet total between the two of them. Raven made it a 2nd PR on the day by running 23.94 in the boys 200 for 7th place. Next up was the girls 3200. Many of the girls were fatigued due to the short meet at the end of long week. This left the door open for Arlet to take 4th for the team, and Yeimili to place 5th in 13:59. Yeimili was only put in the 3200 because of the thin nature of the entries in the division, and because of her XC running proficiency. After qualifying for BVALs, her training will shift quite radically from 400 based to 3200 based for the remainder of the season.

Due to the lack of depth on the girls side, we opted to not contest the 4×400. The boys 4×400 was a very exciting race, with James Lick, Live Oak and Pioneer trading the lead throughout the race. The Comets were in 1st place with 150 left but both Pioneer and Live Oak pulled away in the final straight. Misael, Geo, Jerricho and Sal combined to run a seasons best 3:40.45, and the team will be looking to run faster at BVALS with a chance to qualify for CCS trials on the line.

When all was said and done, the scores for the meet were as follows.

Boys: 

  1. Pioneer: 234.5
  2. Lincoln: 91
  3. Live Oak: 81.75
  4. James Lick: 78
  5. Piedmont Hills: 53
  6. Prospect: 52.5
  7. Sobrato: 16.25
  8. Oak Grove: 11

Girls: 

  1. Lincon: 125
  2. Piedmont Hills: 117.50
  3. Pioneer: 82.50
  4. James Lick: 80
  5. Prospect: 78
  6. Sobrato: 64.50
  7. Oak Grove: 29.50
  8. Live Oak: 7

Of the girls 80 points, a vast majority were scored by seniors:

Valeria Cortez: 33 points

Arlet Miranda: 20 points

Marquise Nelson: 16.5

The team will need younger athletes to step up to remain competitive after some huge losses to come.

On the boys side however, things look good with all of the team’s top 5 point scorers being juniors:

Rodolf Ocampo: 16.5

Salvador Lopez: 11

Raven Alcantara: 10

Mark Orpia: 10

Jerricho Habon: 7.5

The Comets and other ESUHSD schools will have the benefit of Spring Break next week to train hard in preparation for BVAL finals on May 2nd at Westmont High School.

We have high hopes to send a handful of athletes on to CCS.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves