Comets Begin Season with Willow Glen Invitational

As has become tradition over the past few seasons, the James Lick track team began their season with competition at the Willow Glen Invitational. Another tradition continued as for the 4th consecutive year, athletes had to compete through some amount of rain and wet conditions at the invite. The morning rain yielded to fair conditions in the afternoon, and when the dust settled, 34 Comets opened their seasons.

The conditions and early season status of the meet kept the competition numbers lower than normal, and it also weakened the marks/times achieved across the board. Nonetheless, overall the team competed very well, placing highly in a number of areas.

The meet began with the 4×100. The varsity team of Geo Campos, Salvador Lopez, Misael Herrera and Raven Alcantara clocked in at 47.71 to place 4th overall and win their heat. While the time isn’t extremely fast, not many fast times were produced in the 4×100 in general, and the team competed well against some consistently good teams. This 47 second opening time is also the fastest season opening 4×100 time the team ahs achieved since I’ve been coaching. For reference, last year at Willow Glen the team ran 49.25 and by the end of the season ran 45.50. With that in mind, the 47.71 in the rain is very encouraging.

Misael Herrera hands off the baton to Raven Alcantara on the final leg of the 4×100

The next event on the track was the 1600. The Comets sent a large group of frosh/soph girls to compete, fresh off their JV undefeated season in cross country. Erika Camacho lead the group in 6:50, a PR by 12 seconds, her first time cracking the 7 minute barrier (always a big moment). Ruth Rodriguez ran a 12 second PR as well, clocking in at 7:07. Newcomer Lizbeth Espana ran a very solid 1600 debut of 7:09 just behind Ruth. Estefani Herrera, Mariana Perez, Emely Lopez and Francine Estranero also competed but are still working themselves into shape.

The frosh/soph girls before the race

Ashley Preciado made her season debut running 6:56. While this is not near her PR of 6:09, it actually is 2 seconds ahead of her time from last year. The varsity boys 1600 saw two strong early season performances. Mark Orpia ran a 1 second PR of 5:05.62 and Brandon Cruz ran a 6 second PR of 5:08.81. Both boys are way ahead of where they were a year ago and are poised to break the 5 minute barrier very soon.

Around this time the rain broke, allowing for better conditions for the hurdles. Valeria Cortez and Yesenia Martinez both competed, though not with great results. On the boys side, both Rodolf Ocampo and Mark (fresh off of his mile PR) ran under 19 seconds for the first time in the 110 hurdles.

Several Comets competed in field events during this time as well. Josh Merin cleared 5-0 in high jump for the first time in an official meet. A year ago at this time, Josh only managed to go 4-6. Sal cleared 5-4, much better than the 4-10 he managed a year ago. Both boys medaled in the shallow high jump field. Raven lead the team in the triple jump, with a leap of 36-9.5 Sal was next in 35-9.5 and Jamie Vong went 35-6. For reference, last season Raven and Sal opened the season at 33 feet each, so they are well ahead of where they were a year ago.

The 100m dash saw several strong showings from Comets as well. Raven won his heat in a time of 12.02 matching his seasons best. The next heat, Geo ran 12.13 a seasons best and the 2nd best time of his career. Sal won his heat in a big PR of 12.41 (Sal rarely runs the 100 but had never run under 13 before). Rodolf also netted a sizable PR, stopping the clock at 12.54 ( his first time under 13 as well). Josh Merin ran 12.64, a PR by nearly 2 tenths of a second. Adrian DeLaRosa ran a seasons debut of 13.04 and Angel Guerrero ran 13.06 for a small PR. The Comet Sprint corps are looking much better than they did at this time last year.  Last year only two Comets ran under 13 seconds at the WG invite, compared to a full 5 this year with two more under 13.1.

On the girls side, Jenny Fimbres made her debut running a solid 15.67. Krissy Aguja ran 17.50 for her first time at the event. Emily De Dios made her debut running 17.22. Marquise Nelson made her debut for the team and ran 16.12. Valeria lead the lady sprinters in 15.07. Marquise is the school’s star basketball and volleyball player, and we are excited to see what she can do in track (she played softball before this year).

The 800m was next and with it, the large group of frosh/soph girls took to the track again. Mya Hammond ran 3:05, 3 seconds better than her clocking here a year ago. Erika was not far behind, running a 3 second PR of 3:08. Lizbeth just missed her PR running 3:15 and Ruth ran 3:16 in her debut in the event. Mariana Perez and Estefani Herrera came in at 3:25 and 3:26 (both girls are about 10 seconds better than they were at this time a year ago). Emely Lopez stopped the clock at 3:28 and Francine at 3:34.

Ashley Preciado ran 3:05 for the 800, 5 seconds ahead of what she ran last year at this time. Arlet Miranda took 3rd place overall, the highest finish of the day for any Comet in a running event. She ran 2:33.76, her fastest ever season debut in the 800 and she did it as a negative split.

On the boys side, Jerricho Habon ran 2:13.10 to lead the Comets. He missed his PR by only .2, but last year he did not run 2:13 until mid April. Mark managed his 3rd PR on the day, running 2:16 to lop a second off his personal best. Melvin Estrada and Brandon ran 2:26 and 2:27 respectively. Hugo Marquez rounded out the team in 2:43.

More field events continued during this time. Rodolf managed a new PR in the pole vault, going 9-6. This is the best mark by any Comet since we re-established pole vault last year. Mark matched his PR of 9-0 as well. In the long jump, Jamie Vong managed a massive PR of 18-0. This was a PR by over a foot and he was one of only 5 boys to jump 18 feet on the chilly day. Raven, Josh, Geo and Angel also competed in the long jump.

Jamie on his big PR jump 

In the girls high jump, Yesenia cleared 4-4, much better than last year when she did not make a height. Marquise went 4-0 on her first go at the event. In the throwing events, Adriana Marcelino threw 18-6 in Shot Put and 58-10 in Discus. The discus throw is 6 feet better than her willow glen mark from last year. Marquise had an impressive debut in the shot put throwing  26-9.5, placing 8th overall. Valeria placed 4th with a throw of 30 feet even.

The highlight of the field events was Valeria throwing 108-11 in girls discus. This is by far the best she’s ever thrown to start the season, and the mark was good to make her the meet champion in girls discus.

The final two events with Comets competing were the 300 hurdles and the 200. Arlet ran a PR of 55.82 in the 300 hurdles. Yesenia ran 1:03.28, slightly better than last year even though her block gave out and she slipped at the beginning of the race. On the boys side, Rodolf managed a 4th PR on the day by running 48.47 for the 300 hurdles. Luis also competed in the event.

Valeria releasing the discus on her meet winning throw. 

The long day finally ended with the 200. Jenny and Emily made their debuts running 34.28 and 36.87 respectively. Natalie Rem opened her season with a 30.93 clocking. On the boys side, Geo lead the group in 25.99. Misael was not far behind in 26.23, faster than his 26.5 season opener from last year. Jerricho ran 26.13 taking a big chunk off of his PR. He is much faster than he was at this time a year ago when he ran 27.20 for the 200.

Jerricho during his 200m PR

It was a successful first meet for the Comets. The team netted 20 PRS, The team finished in 7th place on the varsity boys side and 8th place on the varsity girls side out of the 31 teams in attendance. Not bad considering we still don’t have a track to practice on.

Some of the Comets may head to Westmont HS on Saturday March 9th for the K-bell invitational depending on training and weather this week. Either way the Comets will open their league season on March 14th against Live Oak HS. This is scheduled as a home meet, but will likely be at Live Oak as construction on our track is still ongoing.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves



STAL 2 and DLS Invitational recaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


DeLaSalle Invitational 


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,

-Benny Reeves