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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

F/S Boys: 0-2

JV Girls: 2-0 

Varsity Boys: 1-1

Varsity Girls: 2-0 

Reserve Boys (unofficial) : 1-1 

Reserve Girls (unofficial): 2-0 

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

Exciting things are ahead,

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

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James Lick Throwers Shine at Firebird Relays

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The Varsity Girls Throws Team (Charli Chircop, Alejanda Ceron and Valeria Cortez) with their coaches and teammate Daniel Medina

The Firebird Relays at Fremont High School in Sunnyvale have been one of the team’s favorite invites for several years now because of the variety relays available. In addition to the standard 4×100 and 4×400, the meet holds the Distance Medley Relay and 4×800, as well as combination relays in all field events and the 300 hurdles.

To qualify for combination relays, a teams top 3 athletes have their best marks/times added up and compared across the top 3 of others teams. The team with the 3 best relays in each event received medals. This makes the Firebird Relays a great meet for the team to compare its depth against other teams.

The meet started off strong for the team. Susie Peterson ran a huge seasons best in the 100h, running 19.63 to go under 20 seconds for the first time this season. Kirsten Yutuc ran 21.15 for a PR in the 100h despite a fall on the final hurdle of the race.

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Left to right: Susie Peterson, Valeria Cortez and Kirsten Yutuc before contesting the 100 hurdles

Jonathan Rodriguez also ran a PR in the 100 hurdles, clocking a time of 19.16 for his race. Soon afterwards field events got under way.

Lyndel Ventura went 12-11.50 for the team in the long jump, though she was jumping from a board 2 feet behind the board the meet was using to measure from. This shows that Lyndel is near her 15 foot long jump PR.

The team sent 3 triple jumpers on the boys side to compete as a relay team. Ace Medina led the team with a new PR of 37-3. Cody Huoch was 2nd in a PR of 36-7.50 and Hadji Yono-Cruz was rd in 35-9. The team placed 5th in the triple jump relay, only missing 3rd place by a  combined 5 inches.

Arlet Miranda ran a 5:49 1600, well off the 5:41 she ran a few weeks earlier at the Willow Glen Invite as she continues to battle through minor injury. Daniel Portillo had an excellent race, breaking the 6 minute mile barrier for the first time to the tune of a 15 second PR of 5:54.

The Comets ran a Frosh/Soph Boys team of Raven Alcantara, Misael Herrera, AdrianDeLaRosa and Bryan Cuevas who combined for a solid 49.31. The Varsity team of Cody, Hadji, Ace and Chris Okoro competed as well but were Disqualified for a lane violation.

 

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Raven Alcantara handing off the baton to Misael Herrera in the 4×100 relay.

Both the Varsity Boys and Frosh/Soph Boys competed in the 4000m Distance Medley Relay or DMR. The Varsity Boys team placed 6th despite the absence of top runner Erik Olsvold and missed the school record by less than 1 second, running 11:30.81. Inteus Castro-Lopez started the team off with a 1200m leg of 3:38. Gustavo Aguilera ran a 57 second 400m split, followed by a 2:07 800m leg by Nathan Bernardo. Azael Zamora anchored the team home with a 4:47 1600m. On the FS side, Melvin Estrada, Misael Herrera, Hugo Marquez and Mark Orpia combined to run 13:01.

Meanwhile, the strong Lady Comet throwers were strutting their stuff. In 2016, Alejandra, Charli and Valeria took 3rd in the Frosh/Soph Discus relay, and first in the Shot Put relay. Their combination relay mark of 83-8 gave them the win. Alejandra was the team’s leading thrower on the day with a  toss of 28-2.5. This year, with Charli and Alejandra being juniors, the team stepped up to compete at the varsity level and showed just how far they’ve come by winning the Varsity Shot Put relay with a combo of 96-5.5.

It was the first time in school history that 3 Comet girls cracked 30 feet for Shot Put in the same meet. All 3 girls PRd. Alejandra threw 32-7, Charli threw 32-5 and Valeria threw 31-5 to seal the deal.

The team had similar success in the discus Throw, taking 2nd as a team in that as well.  In 2016, the team’s combination mark was 214-10. This year the three-headed monster combined for a total of 287- 5.5. Valeria led the team with a throw of 99-2, Charli threw 96-5.5 and Alejandra threw a PR of 91-11, the first time 3 lady Comets have cracked 90 feet in the discus throw in the same meet.

As if the throws of the varsity girls were not impressive enough, freshmen Mariah Santos took 5th in the Frosh/Soph girls discus witha  huge PR of 74-1.50. For comparison sake, at the 2016 Firebird Relays, Aleajndra led the team in discus with a throw of 74-11. She backed up this impressive PR with a throw of 22-9 in the Shot Put. Adriana Marcelino also competed for the team.

The Comet throwers on the girls side are as impressive a group as the team as seen in decades. They have anchored the girls team all season and are probably the team’s strongest overall event group (the only possible competition being the boys distance crew).  With the rapid improvement he’s fostered in the team’s throwers, in my mind Coach Vela is the best throws coach in the WVAL by a wide margin, if not the entire BVAL.

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Alejandra Ceron throwing the Shot Put

The boys throwers saw a huge PR as well. Both Daniel Medina and Rogelio Alonzo competed. Roger threw a massive PR in the discus, hitting a mark of 97-11 after setting a PR of 89-0 just days earlier.

The team of Cody, Ace, and Hadji in the long jumped all jumped roughly 17 feet to end their day in the horizontal jumps. In the vertical jumps, the team took 2nd in the varsity boys high jump relay. 5 Different teams had 3 jumpers clear a height. Juan Gutierrez and Ace both went 5-0 for the team,and Jonathan went 5-4 to clinch the medal for the team.

The distance teams took both to the track in the 4×800 relay. The Varsity boys team only missed a medal by 5 seconds despite missing two of the team’s top 3 800m runners in Erik Olsvold and Gustavo Parra. The team’s time of 9:03 is the best time the Comest have run for the 4×800 on record. The Frosh/Soph boys clocked a time of 10:27 as well. Arlet Miranda ran a strong 800, but was caught on the line to finish 2nd overall to a San Jose High runner in 2:35. This sets up a  good WVAL rivalry going forward.

The Frosh/Soph boys 100m dash saw Raven go under 13 seconds for the first time, crossing the line in 12.91. Kirsten made her 400m debut in 1:15 as did Chris in 1:05.

The final event the team competed in was the 300 hurdles. Cody ran a strong time of 44.98, just a tenth of a second off his PR. Gustavo A ran a huge PR of 44.71, taking more than a full second off his PR from last season. Jonathan coasted home to a 49.28. The team was a combined 2 seconds away from a medal.

Overall the meet was a huge success for the team. Many athletes received medals, and the team competed well against some of the best teams in the CCS. The team placed 13th overall out of  more than 40 competing teams, giving them a confidence boost as they look ahead at the 2nd half of the season.

The team will take on the Gunderson Grizzlies at Gunderson on Wedensday March 29th, then they will head to Overfelt  on Saturday April 1st for the first ever Royal Relays.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves.

 

Varsity Boys off to 4-0 start to season

The FS team moments before the start of their race.
The FS team moments before the start of their race.

The James Lick Cross Country Team kicked off their scoring season with the STAL #1 at Alum Rock Park. The 2.85 mile course, which has been run on and off since 1991 covers parts of creek trail, and all of the North Rim Trail for a fast course. The team was facing 4 other teams in the STAL: Branham, Oak Grove, Leigh, and Sobrato. After spending last year in the WVAL (‘C’ League) the team was eager to get off on the right foot to show they belonged in the more competitive STAL (‘B’ League).

The Frosh/Soph Race got things started with a few fantastic individual performances. Freshmen Vincent Giglio, and Erik Olsvold placed 2nd and 3rd overall, in 18:10 and 18:14, faster than any freshmen in the race. The Alum Rock Course, wasn’t used at all from 2001-2007, but has been run at least every other year since 2008. In that time, no freshmen from James Lick has run faster than Vincent or Erik did, and this is just after the first race. Sophomore and FS team captain Jesus Deloya had a rough race due to injury, but still finished 10th overall in 19:19, a league race PR. It was not until 21:14 had elapsed that Austin Swank finished as the team’s 4th runner, (32nd overall) while Rene Bravo finished the team’s scoring at 22:05 in 42nd place. Isaak Herrera ran 22:55 and Juan Carlos-Rios in his first big school race, ran 26:28. The Frosh/Soph Boys beat Sobrato, 20-36 as well as Oak Grove 21-40. Their two losses were heartbreaking close as they fell to Leaigh 28-29 and Branham 28-28 with branham winning by merit of tiebreaker (which 6th runner was faster). They start their season 2-2 overall.

The Varsity girls were next on the ledger. The team knew it was going to be tough to compete in the STAL with only one returning member from last year’s WVAL championship team, and 5/7 girls never having run high school XC before. Nonetheless the team packed better than any other team in the league, with less than a 2 minute gap between the 1st and 5th runners. Freshmen Arlet Miranda lead the girls in 21st place, with a strong time of 21:55. Maria Mendoza was 24th in 22:06, while Andrea Ortiz ran 22:31 for 27th, a very strong performance for an athlete whose primary strength is sprints/hurdles. Elizabeth Guevara ran 22:55 for 3oth and Gabriela Aguilar ran 23:31 for 34th. Daisy Nava and Raquel Rodriguez ran 24:22 and 24:44 respectively to compete the team. Thanks to their strong packing, the team was able to get wins over Leigh and Oak Grove, 25-32 and 19-44. They were beaten handily however by strong Branham and Sobrato teams. Overall it was a very strong performance for an inexperienced girls team, with the fastest combined team time (1:52:57) at the opening league race of a season in school history.

The strongest performance of the day, was unsurprisingly from the group that has been the most motivated, the Varsity Boys. In recent years The Varisty Boys have struggled with inconsistency and underperformance, as well as a deficit in the raw talent which made the team successful for most of it’s history. The group of boys this year, lead by Captain Hector Ramirez, set their sights on changing that this year, by working hard through the summer with the goal of making CCS and proving they could be competitive in the B league.

The team did just that, despite underperformance by several boys. Nathan Bernardo placed 5th overall in a great season opening time of 16:33. Hector Ramirez placed 9th in 17:02, while this is a 48 second league race PR for Hector, we are convinced he is already capable of faster. Inteus Castro-Lopez placed 16th in 17:28, Gustavo Aguilera had a rough race but placed 18th in 17:37, and Azael Zamora was the 5th guy in 17:55 and 21st place overall. Jesse Chircop ran a huge PR of 18:15 and Gustavo Parra continues to progress towards full fitness with a  time of 18:38. A far cry from last year’s first league race where Nathan was the 1st JL boy in 18:04.  The team beat all 4 teams they faced, the closest dual being a 23-32 victory over Leigh. Had all 8 teams raced each other today, they only would have lost to Pioneer, setting the stage for a very good season for the team.

The JV girls finished off the scoring races with a 2-2 record like their Varsity counterparts, beating the same teams, Oak Grove and Branham, again. They were lead by Jennifer Custodio, who ran a strong JV time of 24:37 for 12th place. Evalilia Garcia ran 25:05 for 17th, and Jocelyn Aguirre ran 25:59 for 21st. This was a strong trio for the team without Julia Cruz who is expected to be a key contributor. Analilia Regla finished 28th with a  time of 27:38, and Christine Young ran 27:59 for by far the best race of her high school career. Denisse Calixto ran a solid JV time of 28:08 and Susie Peterson finished in 30:03 to cap off the team. Diana Romero   ran 32:04 in the reserve race.

The Boys Reserve was spearheaded by Miguel Chavez in 22:07, Joseph Benitez was next in a strong starting time of 22:27. Thomas Estrada was next in 23:05, then Ryan Puzon and Ivan Adan-Ramirez came in together at 23:20 and 23:21. Ivan Morales clocked in a 23:42 and Manuel Urango finished the team’s day in 30:51.

Overall it was a great race for the team, every division showed they belong in the STAL and will work to be a force going forward. The Comets will race at the DelaSalle Invitational Saturday, and the Stanford Invitational the Saturday after that. Stay tuned for more Comet News.