Comets Looking Strong After First Week of School Time Trial

The 2018-2019 school year has begun and with it, the team completed their annual North Rim trail time trial. This has been a team tradition since 2009, with the team starting at the Alum Rock Park entrance, running the north rim trail and finishing at the entrance once again. The course is 3.03 miles, and it is a great indicator of where the team stands, because every course the team will race on should yield a faster time.

With this being the 10th year of our “North Rim Time Trial” to start the school year, we have a solid amount of data to make projections with.  We run the course again, later in the season to track progress. Our main goal is for each athlete to start the season faster than they started the previous year, putting them on track for PRs (personal records) as the season goes on.

Mark Orpia was the fastest Comet on the day, running 20:10. This is the first time since 2014 that no Comet ran under 20 minutes for the course at the beginning time trial. Despite this fact, there is a lot of reason for optimism. Last season, Mark began the season by running 22:06, nearly 2 minutes slower than his time this year. He was followed by Jerricho Habon in 20:25. Jerricho put a hard summer of work in, and the results show. Jerricho’s PR was 21:38, a mark he demolished despite it being the infancy of the season.

Erik Olsvold in 20:35 and Brandon Cruz in 20:59 rounded out the team’s top 4. While last year, Azael Zamora spearheaded the team by running 17:54 at this time trial, only one other boy (Inteus Lopez) ran under 21 minutes for the trial, compared to 4 this season. Inteus would go on to run 16:37 at Montgomery Hill and 17:30 at Crystal Springs, both high quality ‘B’ division times. If the team’s top 4 from today run anywhere near that, the team will be a force to be reckoned with.

The next boy in was Jared Resendiz in a 4 minute PR of 21:54. Geovanny Campos and Melvin Estrada were next in 22:15 and 22:27. While it was a bad day for Melvin, it was a very strong showing for Geo, one of the team’s top sprinters in track, who only joined cross country in late July. Daniel Portillo and Nien Tran were the next boys in 22:32 and 22:34, with Arlet Miranda finishing as the first girl just ahead of them. Nien and Daniel are both well ahead of last season, where both boys ran over 23 minutes for the course.  Arlet’s time of 22:32 is the best girls time to start the season of any Comet girl for the North Rim Course. The Previous best was 23:06 by Arlet last season. In her senior year, Arlet looks ready to lead the girls team to big accomplishments.

Gustavo Madrigal and Omar Fimbres came in together at 23:43 and 23:45 respectively, adding depth to the team. Jonathan Cortez came in at 24:41, not far ahead of the #2 girl on the team, Yeimili Adame who ran a 1 minute PR of 24:57. Alberto Trejo, Rodolf Ocampo and Adrian DeLaRosa finished in the 27 minute range, just ahead of a pack of lady Comets.

Ashley Preciado (28:10) Belen Sanchez (28:13) Yesenia Martinez (28:16) and Erika Camacho (28:26) ran the time trial as a pack. Last season, the girls team managed to run the 6th fastest James Lick team time ever at Crystal Springs, on their way to a middle of the pack finish at BVAL Finals (16th out of the 24 teams).  That years team saw Arlet run 23:06 at the time trial, followed by Belen in 33:41 and Ashley in 34:12 as the 2nd and 4th girls respectively. With all that the team of 2017 was able to manage, it’s clear that the team of 2018 has very high hopes indeed.

Jenny Villagomez was next in 30:18, with top freshmen Ruth Rodriguez not far behind in 30:27. a solid time to start the season. Mya Hammond and Emely Lopez both finished at 32:57, and Estefani Herrera ran 34:18. This trio has improved leaps and bounds since a year ago. To start last season, Emely ran 39:05, Mya ran 41:04 and Estefani ran 44:06.

Kirsten Yutuc ran 34:37 for a 3 minute PR, and Giulissa Correa came in at 35:14 as the next girl across. Josh Merin ran 31:21 for his first time on the course. Angel, Sebastian and Idan, 3 newcomers from the soccer team ran 32:10, 34:27 and 35:18 for their very first practice to round out the boys day.

Krystal Tran, Ellie Castro and Francine Estranero came in together at 37:50. Jessalyn Santos, sister of top thrower Mariah Santos, came across in 38:16 for her first time on the course. Fellow freshmen Mia Hammond and Angelina Guevara came through in 39:42. Adriana Marcelino and Araceli Mejia also cracked the 40 minute barrier, running 39:46 and 39:50 respectively. Morayma ended the Comets day by clocking 51:59 for the course.

When all was said and done, 43 Comets contested the time trial, a new high for the team to start the season. Many showed dramatic improvement, and the team can be very optimistic about what is to come.

The team will not race again until the Alumni Race on Friday August 31st. It will be in Alum Rock Park at 6 P.M. All former Comets are invited to come, whether they want to race or not.

I will probably do a season preview before that.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

Advertisements

James Lick Track officially in season

img_1687
The Distance team on a run in Rancho San Antonio Park 

 

The James Lick Track season is officially underway now. The team is now practicing every day at 3:45 at the track. The team will not have a meet until they take to the final Los Gatos All-comers meet on February 25th, and their official first meet will be the following Saturday at the Willow Glen Invitational.

To kick off the start of official practice, the Comets ran time trials to assess the fitness of the team heading into the season.

Traditionally we have done a time trial immediately after conditioning ends to see our athletes baseline. This trial is contested without spikes, without blocks, and without any race prep. As a result, we do not expect anyone to even run near their PRs, but our hope is that athletes will be well ahead of where they were at a year ago. We also look to gain an idea of the natural ability of new athletes.

We started with an 800m time trial for the distance team. Erik Olsvold lead the group with a time of 2:11, an outstanding time for this early in the season. This is only  few seconds off of Erik’s PR of 2:08, despite the fact that his PR came in a race with faster athletes, where he’d been racing for months. Erik will very likely beat his PR on his first attempt this season, and is poised for a very big season following his phenomenal XC season. Nathan also ran well, clocking 2:17 without spikes, compared to his 2:17 official season opener in 2016 at the Willow Glen invitational. Gustavo Parra ran 2:22, also matching his official season opener from the Willow Glen invite in 2016. This shows that the teams top 3 800m runners are all well ahead of where they were a season ago, and that team yielded 3 top 8 placings at WVAL finals for the team.

Azael Zamora and Inteus Castro-Lopez ran despite battling minor injuries. Arlet Miranda ran a very strong time of 2:40, better than her season opener at willow glen a year ago. Arlet should have a very good chance at taking all 3 of Daniela Camacho’s school records this season.

Jerricho Habon, Hugo Marquez, Melvin Estrada and Daniel Portillo all ran the event for the very first time. They came in with times of 2:47, 2:49, 2:52 and 2:55. Sonia Jaracuro and Karen Amaya wrapped up the distance trial for the team in 4:06 and 4:10 respectively.

The team contested 4 100m heats next. In order to win a WVAL title on both sides, this group will be critical to the team’s success, particularly on the boys side. Despite the lack of blocks or spikes, two athletes managed to run under 13 seconds for the 100 with a 3rd runner at 13.1. Both Dedriel (OT) Muaava and Jose Limon ran times in the 12.90s and Gustavo Aguilera was not far behind. This gives the team 3 boys faster than the team’s #1 runner at last years conditioning time trial.

A clump of athletes came in together next, with Misael Herrera leading the group at 13.50. David Bejines, Calvin Wyrick, Jose Garcia and Noah Tirir all came in together in the 13.5-13.7 range, despite several of these athletes running in sweats. Rhyan Munoz ran 13.8 to finish off the group of sub 14-second athletes.

On the girls side freshmen Kristen Yutuz impressed running 14.80 in sweats. Elyse Elder was next in 15.50 with Silvia Amaya in 15.80. Susie Peterson and Aliana Santos also ran solid time of 16.20.

Quite a few other athletes competed in the 100m time trial, before moving on to other workouts. It has not been uncommon for athletes to run a full second faster by the seasons end than they do at this early season time trial.

Just last season, Adrian DelaRosa ran 13.70 at this time trial, and went on to run 12.41 by seasons end.

With a base of times down, the Comets will look to build on their times in pursuit of a double WVAL championship this season.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

JLXC History:Alum Rock Short Course

photo
The Team with several Alumni after last years addition of the Alumni Race

 

 

With the Alumni Race just days away, now is a good time to examine the history of JLXC at Alum Rock Park.

Alum Rock Park has long been the training grounds of the James Lick Comets. Being located only 2 miles away from the park, it is only natural that the team has trained there for decades, and the races held there are a sort of home field advantage for the Comets and other Eastside teams.

The long tradition of racing in Alum Rock Park stretches back to even before the MHAL (the league which is now a division of the BVAL) was formed with James Lick as one of it’s founding members. With the MHAL Finals beginning in 1965, Alum Rock Park’s 2.25 mile course took on new significance, playing host to the MHAL finals every year on record form 1966-1989. In the 1990s, the MHAL altered their race course to it’s current 2.85 mile format. The popularity of the park as a race course declined as Alum Rock suffered road damage, and the league began to turn to alternative race courses. By the early 2000s, Alum Rock was not being used at all for races anymore. In 2008 however, races were brought back to the 2.85 mile race course, and it has been used for BVAL league meets off and on ever since.

The 2.25 mile course, beginning in the deepest parking lot of Alum Rock, took runners through a fast first mile on the slight downhill stretch of the Penitencia Creek trail leading to the North Rim trail. Runners then scaled the famous North Rim hill, before continuing on the undulating North rim trail, eventually making their way to a speedy downhill descent to the finish line in the starting parking lot. The North Rim Hill at 485 meters, is the single longest hill any Comet will encounter in a race this season.

The course we now use for the Alumni race is slightly different, beginning and ending near the youth science institute. Despite the slightly altered course beginning and ending points, the Alumni Course is essentially the same as the traditional North Rim “short course.” I estimate that runners of today would run about 5-10 seconds faster for the old race course which was used for so many years, than they do on our alumni course. This small potential time difference aside, the Alumni race is a great way for the runners of today to compare themselves to the runners of the past, as we continue working to build the program back to its glory days and beyond.

A few considerations should be taken into account before we go over times:

  1. The runners of the 60s, 70s, and 80s used the course for the annual Alum Rock Invitational, as well as the MHAL finals and occasionally for the CCS Regional meet as well. As such, runners of the past had the opportunity to run the course in late October and mid November, the point in the year where a typical HS XC athlete needs to be at peak racing fitness. By comparison, the runners of the past decade or so, since the short course was brought back (in slightly altered format) for the alumni race, do the course only once, in early September, before races have even begun. As a result the team’s current athletes do not run their best times on the Alum Rock short course, usually running faster paces for the longer course because of its status as an actual league meet course.
  2.  The Alumni Race is more of a time trial than an actual race, due to the fact that the team is not competing against any other schools. Without a high level of competition (occasional outstanding alumni not withstanding) the athletes of today are not pushed as thoroughly as the athletes of the past were at the AR invitational  and at MHAL finals.

Even so however, the times of the James Lick Comets on the Alum Rock short course over the years are extremely impressive, and continue to serve as a reminder to our current athletes that there is work to be done to restore the team to the level of past seasons.

The sheer number of JL runners to race the course at big meets from 66-89, combined with the high caliber of the program during those years, makes the JLXC All time boys list for the Alum Rock short course the schools 3rd most impressive list in my opinion, (Behind only Crystal Springs and Half Moon Bay HS).  The girls list is not as strong however, since JL only began fielding girls XC in the late 70s, and the best ever era for JL girls XC is currently in full force.

Some of the fast early times on the AR short course, were run in the earliest days of the MHAL. In 1966, Junior Mick Coyle took home the win in the Alum Rock invitational, running a strong time of 12:32. Coyle’s time currently stands as the 20th best time in school history for the course (on record).

It would be several years before a Comet broke the elusive 12 minute barrier for the course. The 1970 team saw Luis Sanchez and Jim Sena run 11:42 and 11:46 respectively. This 1-2 punch helped lead the team to the only XC CCS championship in school history, with James Lick winning the small schools division at CCS Finals. The team of 1970 was exceptional, Nathan Bernardo and Hector Ramirez ran 13:25 and 13:27 to lead our team at the Alumni race last season. The 6th boy on the 1970 team ran 13:23. Even if one grants Nathan 10 seconds for the slightly altered course, he wouldn’t nip the team’s 5th boy (Bob Amaro) at 13:07.  Amaro went on to have an outstanding running career at James Lick. As a senior in 1972, Amaro broke 12 for the course himself, with a  time of 11:49. He would also go on to run 1:55 for the 880 run, which converted still stands as the 3rd best 800m in school history.

The two top times in school history were run in 1975, when Joe Salazar set the long standing school record of 11:20 for the course, more than 20 seconds better than the 11:41 of teammate Sierras. Salazar also holds the school 2 mile record (also the 3200m record converted) and all things considered, is probably the best XC runner ins school history. The one man with a good argument against Salazar is Joe Amendt, who in 1987 would become the 10th and final Comet (according to my records) to break 12 for the AR short course, running 11:47. The two Joe’s share the school record of 15:21 at Crystal Springs. While I’d give Salazar the slight edge as JL’s best ever XC runner, Amendt’s supreme track pedigree makes him James Lick’s greatest ever distance runner all around.

Any very strong list of JL times could not be complete without the teams of the 1980s. The decade saw Frank Munoz, 11:42 in81, Ben Trujillo, 11:48in 80, and Greg Machado, 11:53 in 84 break the barrier. Randy Pangelina also narrowly missed, running 12:01 in 1981. Of all of the school’s all time lists, this one poses the greatest challenge to alter for the runners of today, not only because of it’s strength, but because of the timing of the run.

The only records of the Alumni course since 1990 are from former coaches, David Porter and Alex Ponik, and from my soon to be 4 years of experience. With roughly 11 years on record (2006-present) No Comet boy has run sub 13 for the Course yet, though the times of Nathan and Hector were by far the best of the past decade.

The team will need to have extremely strong early season form to take another step towards the times laid down by the great Comet runners who came before them.

JLXC Boys ALL TIME LIST:

Alum Rock Short Course 2.25 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Joe Salazar 11:20 5:02 1975 MHAL Finals 1st 12
2 Sierras 11:41 5:11 1975 MHAL Finals 6th 11
3 Luis Sanchez 11:42 5:12 1970 MHAl Finals 4th 11
4 Frank Munoz 11:42 5:12 1980 MHAL Finals 2nd 12
5 Jim Sena 11:46 5:13 1970 MHAL Finals 6th 12
6 Joe Amendt 11:47 5:14 1987 MHAL Finals 1st 12
7 Ben Trujillo 11:48 5:14 1980 MHAL Finals 3rd 12
8 Bob Amaro 11:49 5:15 1972 MHAL Finals 10th 12
9 Greg Machado 11:53 5:16 1984 Alum Rock Invitational 5th 12
10 Adolfo Alvarado 11:54 5:17 1973 MHAl Finals 4th 12
11 Randy Pangelina 12:01 5:20 09/26/1981 Alum Rock Invitational 8th 11
12 Diaz 12:06 5:22 1981 MHAL Finals 7th
13 Alvarez 12:07 5:23 1987 MHAL Finals 3rd
14 Gil Zaragosa 12:16 5:27 1980 Alum Rock Invitational 20th
15 Tim Mezzapelle 12:16 5:27 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 14th 12
16 Luis Borunda 12:21 5:29 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 18th 10
17 John Acosta 12:28 5:32 1987 MHAL Finals 8th 12
18 Jose Gonzales 12:29 5:32 11/08/1973 MHAL Finals 20th 12
19 Esparza 12:30 5:33 1969 MHAL Finals 1st 10
20 Mick Coyle 12:32 5:34 1966 Alum Rock Invitational 1st 11

 

A theme of our current JLXCTF program is that the boys are trying to restore a winning tradition, while the girls are building one, and raising its strength year by year. While not a single addition has been made to the boys list since the courses removal from official racing (Those boys teams were tough man) the girls list only has 4 times that weren’t set in the past 10 years.

The Early 80s was one of the few bright spots in the competitive JLXC girls history. Kim Willoughby’s time of 15:25 in 1980 stood as the school record for over 20 years. Michelle Ruiz in 1983 with a time of 17:38, and Chaves in 1980 with a time of 18:05 add respectable but not particularly impressive times to the list.

At the 2008 Alumni Race, Kayla Matsuda ran 15:24 to establish the current school record for the course. As it stands now, Kayla is undoubtedly the best XC runner in school history, holding the course record on every course she competed on. In 2014, Daniela Camacho ran 16:03, the team’s #3 all time clocking. 2014 also saw Paloma Contreras run 17:29. Those two would help the team to the WVAL championship, the second XC championship in JLXC girls history.

The remainder of the girls list is mostly solid athletes of the past few years filling in the spots, and it is exciting for the current team to be able to alter and strengthen this all time list every year. Arlet Miranda will look to improve on her 17:35 run as a freshmen.

JLXC Girls ALL TIME LIST:

Alum Rock Short Course: 2.25 Miles

Place Name Time Pace Date Race Place Grade
1 Kayla Matsuda 15:24 6:51 2008 JL Alumni Race 1st 12
2 Kim Willoughby 15:25 6:51 1980 MHAL Finals 6th 11
3 Daniela Camacho 16:03 7:08 9/5/14 JL Alumni Race 1st 12
4 Paloma Contreras 17:29 7:46 09/05/2014 JL Alumni Race 2nd 12
5 Arlet Miranda 17:35 7:49 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 1st 9
6 Michelle Ruiz 17:38 7:50 1983 MHAL Finals 11
7 Chaves 18:05 8:02 1980 Alum Rock Invite 12
8 Elsie Carrillo 18:12 8:05 2008 JL Alumni Race 2nd 12
9 Maria Mendoza 18:26 8:11 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 2nd 11
10 Ana Tapia 18:48 8:21 09/11/2009 JL Alumni Race 3rd 12
11 Genny Poet 19:03 8:28 1980 Alum Rock Invite 12
12 Raquel Rodriguez 19:08 8:30 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 3rd 9
13 Elizabeth Guevara 19:12 8:31 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 4th 12
14 Gabriela Aguilar 19:30 8:40 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 3rd 10
15 Daisy Nava 19:43 8:45 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 5th 11
16 Andrea Ortiz 19:43 8:45 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 7th 12
17 Brianna Flores 20:17 9:01 09/05/2014 JL Alumni Race 12
18 Karen Ruiz 20:34 9:08 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 12
19 Destiny Lopez 20:37 9:09 09/06/2013 JL Alumni Race 12
20 Jocelyn Aguirre 20:55 9:17 09/04/2015 JL Alumni Race 8th 10

It’s only a few days until the Alumni Race and the team will use the Alumni in attendance as inspiration. Taking place only 6 days before the official first race of the season (STAL #1 9/8 at Alum Rock Park), the Alumni Race will be the team’s final barometer of readiness for the 2016 XC season!

The team will be actively chasing goals of a STAL championship on the boys side, a winning record on the girls side, and more importantly, the maintenance of a team culture which has drawn plaudits from around the league for its welcoming and sportsman-like nature.

As always, full JL All time lists, as well as All Time team lists, and the best times since I’ve been coaching can be found here:  https://coachbennyreeves.wordpress.com/cross-country-history/

Alumni race recap coming soon.

Thanks for reading as always,

-Benny Reeves