Comets Compete Well at BVAL Finals: Both Varsity Teams Qualify for CCS for 2nd consecutive season

The James Lick cross country team  competed at the 2019 edition of BVAL Finals on Monday November 4th at the historic Crystal Springs cross country course. BVAL finals is significant as the final race of the year for most runners, and the final determinant of team standings for the league season. It is also the CCS qualifying meet, with the top half of teams (24 total teams in the league so top 12 as long as full teams are run) qualify for CCS. Each of the CIF divisions are also guaranteed 1 representative team. With only 3 division schools in the BVAL, that meant the Comets just needed to beat San Jose and Gunderson to clinch a CCS berth, a feat the team managed to achieve.

Conditions were warm and many runners across the league struggled as a result, though we as a team competed quite well despite the heat.

The meet began with the varsity boys race. The varsity boys team has struggled this season with the loss of 1-2 runners Mark Orpia and Jerricho Habon since early in the season. The top trio of Nien Tran (18:20) Brandon Cruz (18:35) and Omar Fimbres (18:40) competed quite well with Nien and Brandon both breaking the 19 minute barrier for the first time. After that, the team’s lack of depth really stung with Geo Campos (20:30) and Jo-Jo Bradley (21:25) coming in next. Melvin Estrada rounded out the group. This was good enough for a 16th place finish out of the 24 BVAL teams. The team also defeated Sobrato, meaning that although the squad went 0-7, we will not be in last in the final standings.

The team did handily beat Gunderson and San Jose to clinch a CCS berth but in many ways it was a disappointing season. For reference, if Mark and Jerricho simply had been healthy enough to MATCH their finals times from last year (not ambitious as the top 3 boys all ran at least 30 seconds better than last year) the team would have finished in 9th place. This is the nature of sports, staying healthy is a big part of success and we were simply unable to do that this year.

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The varsity boys prior to the race

The next race was the varsity girls, a far greater source of strength for the team this season. The team placed 12th of the 24 BVAL schools. Though not every school had a full team, this was a solid middle of the pack performance and the team clinched a CCS spot by being the top D4 school.

Jessica Cervantes lead the team in a PR of 22:57. Keyla Sifuentes (23:49) Emely Lopez (23:55) and Daisy Flores (23:56) all broke the 24 minute barrier for the first time. Yeimili Adame ran 24:26 for her final high school race and Ahsley Preciado rounded out the team in 25:12. This was all without team #2 runner Mya Hammond who is recovering from injury, and Lizbeth Espana, the usual #5 who dropped out during the race due to ankle pain. The girls clinched a middle of the pack finish in the division and even defeated 2 ‘A’ division schools in Piedmont Hills and Andrew Hill. Perhaps the most exciting feature of the team is that the top 6 runners this year are non seniors, and they will look to get valuable experience at CCS finals in 2 weeks.

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The varsity girls before the race

The JV girls were next, and for the 2nd year in a row, they achieved the Comets top finish on the day. The team came in 6th in the entire BVAL and saw a few strong performances. The best performance was by Ruth Rodriguez who lead the team in 24:15, a PR by over 2 minutes and the 5th best JL time on the day. Mariana Perez (24:59) and Estefani Herrera (25:44) were next in as a solid 2-3. Melanny Sanchez ran a PR of 26:16. Kaylena Gil had a rough day but was the 5th girl in 29:20. Deisy Flores rounded out the team in 30:50.

The frosh/soph boys race was next on the docket. Justin Nguyen and Omar Sanchez lead the team, both running huge PRS of 21:22 and 21:26 respectively. Their previous bests were 22:46 and 23:07 respectively. Navbir Kahlon narrowly missed his PR running 23:08, fighting through leg pain to be the #3 boy. Josue Gomez took 30 seconds off of his PR to run 23:35 and Carlos Nava was the 5th boy in 24:03. Jason Garcia ended the frosh/soph day in 26:06, a 30 second PR.

The final race of the day was the reserve race, and it was combined between boys and girls. Abraham Benitez lead the Comets in 21:35 a very solid performance. Josh Merin was next in 22:10. Luis Escamilla took 48 seconds off of his PR to stop the clock at 23:05. Luis Gonzales and Yesenia Martinez ended the Comets day by squeezing under the 30 minute barrier.

Looking around the league, many teams struggled mightily, suggesting that our team had a great day in terms of improvement. For example, the 29 competing Comets achieved 14 PRS to end the season. Compared to Santa Teresa, a top level ‘A’ division team that achieved only 4 PRS from 25 athletes. I for one am proud of the fact that our team competed hard despite not ideal conditions and can say that every member of the team went out with an effort to be proud of.

The team will compete in a final team event, the Watermelon Race this week, before the top runners on the team prepare for CCS finals on Saturday November 16th back at Crystal Springs.

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.

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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 Show Steady Improvement at 2nd League Race

The Comets had their 2nd league meet of the 2019 season on Thursday September 26th at Montgomery Hill. It was a long 3 weeks in between league meets, and many members of the team ran dramatically faster than at ST Division (‘B’) division race #1. Overall the team showed improvement, but we are still not where we want to be at this point in the year.

The first race of the day was the frosh/soph boys. The team fell to a very strong Branham team (currently the 3rd best boys team in the BVAL by my reckoning) but every boy in the race managed a big improvement. None was bigger than Justin Nguyen. At ST #1, Justin ran 24:22 as the #2 frosh/soph boy for the team. At this meet, Justin PR’d by over 4 minutes, stopping the clock at 20:21, a very solid time for a freshmen boy.

Jay Austria was the next Comet across in 21:51, better than the 23:03 he managed at the first league meet. Omar Sanchez had a massive PR as well, running 22:23 compared to his 25:58 clocking from the first league meet. Josue Gomez had his first race of the season, running 23:36, shattering his previous PR of 25:14. Navbir Kahlon was close behind in 22:44, nearly a 2 minute PR as well. Carlos Nava ran 24:20 for a minute PR and Jason Garcia ran 25:15 for his first time on the course.

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Freshmen Justin Nguyen during the first Mile with Sophomore Navbir Kahlon not far behind 

The varsity girls race was next and it would be one of the stronger races for the Comets on the day. Jessica Cervantes lead the group, running a PR of 21:49, but she finished behind all of Branham’s top 3. Mya Hammond narrowly missed breaking 24 for the first time at ST race #1, running 24:02. She didn’t leave that barrier to chance this time, netting a massive PR of 22:50, placing in the top 20 in just her 2nd ever varsity meet. Emely Lopez also managed a massive PR, running 23:10, her first time under 24 minutes as well. Those 3 girls managed to come in before Branham’s 4th girl, giving the team some hope. The Branham 4-5 ran high 23s to seal their victory however. Daisy Flores ran 23:48, and Mariana Perez and Ashley Preciado ran 24:03 and 24:05 to round out the team, both were big season bests. This performance was obviously a massive improvement on race 1 where only 1 lady comet ran under 24, and it was without team #3 Lizbeth Espana as well.  The varsity girls sit at 2-1 and look ahead at a very good chance at a winning record this year.

For the 2nd race in a row however, it was a very rough performance from the varsity boys. At race 1, Mark Orpia and Jerricho Habon lead the team. Neither boy was able to race at this meet due to injury. Brandon Cruz lead the team with a strong time of 17:29, a PR by 1 second.

While Brandon finished in the top 15, no other varsity boy from the team finished in the top 40. The last time we had a race with only 1 boy in the top 40 was in 2013, also the last time a varsity team from James Lick finished 0-7. The team will hope to see speedy recoveries from Mark and Jerricho, but the entire squad will need to pick up the slack to avoid a winless season.

After a 7-0 season last year, the JV girls team on paper looked ready to take things even further, aiming for a top 4 finish at BVAL finals. While the team kept their undefeated season alive against Branham (moving to 3-0) it was an uneven performance for the JV girls. The race also proved that Leigh and Pioneer will be tough opponents.

Ruth Rodriguez had a great race, running under 24 minutes for the first time, stopping the clock at 23:50. Estefani Herrera took 8th overall in 25:01 a small improvement on ST race 1, but not near her PR. Keyla Sifuentes ran 25:32 for her first league meet and is likely to be a key contributor by seasons end. Yesenia Martinez and Melanny Sanchez came in close together at 26:34 and 26:44 respectively. The time was a PR for Melanny. Kaylena Gil ran 27:29 for her first league meet to round out the team.

Erika Camacho had a rough day, running 28:28. Marisol and Deisy Carlos ran big PRs, lowering their marks from the 32 minute range to the 30 minute range. Marisol just missed the big barrier, running 30:04, while Deisy ran 30:34.

Rodolf Ocampo lead the reserve boys, running a PR of 20:25 which was better than our 7th varsity boy on the day. Josh Merin took over 40 seconds off his PR as well, running 20:53. Hugo Marquez also netted a seasons best of 21:16 as the 3rd reserve boy. Luis Escamilla PR’d by over a minute, running 21:51. Abraham Benitez ran 24:14, a PR by over a minute, but he is clearly ready to run way faster than that based on his other races. Expect more than a 2 minute PR the next time out.

When all was said and done, the team came away with 17 PRS on the day, and a few big steps forward, particularly in the frosh/soph boys, varsity girls, and reserve boys races.

The team has another 3 week layoff before the next league meet, (This is the weirdest league race schedule we’ve had since I’ve been coaching) but the team will compete at 3 invitationals in the meantime.

This Saturday, the Comets will take to Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton for the Scott Bauhs Invitational. This is the first time the team has ever been to this meet, so the fastest Comets of the day will come home as school record holders for the 2.95 mile course. The distance is the same as Crystal Springs, (our league finals course) but past results suggest this is a faster course, making it a good confidence builder.

Next week, the Comets will head to Half Moon Bay for the always fun Artichoke Invitational.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

 

 

 

 

James Lick Team Records Fall at 2019 Lowell Invitational

On Saturday September 9th, the James Lick Comets took to Golden Gate Park to participate in the Lowell Invitational for the 5th time in school history. Due to very muddy conditions the courses were slightly altered making the traditional Frosh/soph course 2.07 miles instead of 2.13, and the traditional long course 2.8 miles instead of 2.93.

This might not seem like a big deal to many but it is unfortunate in my opinion since we cannot directly compare the performances to past years and use the comparisons to project ahead. For example, at the end of the meet, we were under the impression we had established a new varsity girls team record, only to learn later that the course had been altered.

In any case, the invitational was a good bounce back race for many of the Comet runners after what was a tough day for the team on Wednesday at their first league meet. The meet began with the freshmen boys race.

Despite the mud, the flat nature of the course and cool weather makes it a course where many runners run a fast pace and build confidence going forward.

Justin Nguyen lead the Comets with a strong time of 15:09, good for a 7:21 mile pace. This was a huge breakthrough for Justin, who just 3 weeks ago ran a 7:31 for our 1 mile time trial to start the season. Omar Sanchez was next in 16:10, also running under 8 minute pace for the first time in his career. Carlos Nava came across in 16:28, just under the 8 minute mile pace barrier as well. Jason Garcia rounded out the group in 17:40, a strong showing for him as well.

The frosh/soph girls race was next, and the first lady Comet across was Ruth Rodriguez in 16:45. The 8:05 pace is by far the best pace of her career to this point. Marisol Carlos also ran in the race as a substitute for a runner who couldn’t make it, and she ran 19:21. The 9:21 pace was a strong improvement for her as well.

In the soph boys race, Jay Austria ran a strong time of 14:45, a 7:08 pace, the 2nd best pace of his career so far. Navbir Kahlon finished in 15:56, a 7:42 pace as well.

With the JV races, the day turned to the 2.8 mile course, more comparable to our league races on the 2.74 mile Montgomery hill course. Even though it is a slightly longer course than Montgomery Hill, the conditions make it much faster. A good goal for any athlete is to try to run faster at Montgomery than you were able to manage at Lowell. This is even more challenging with the course being shortened this year.

Mariana Perez lead the JV girls with a time of 23:18. Estefani Herrera was close behind in 23:27. The 8:23 pace for Estefani is the best of her career to this point. Erika Camacho ran 24:06, a big step forward from a 27 minute clocking at Montgomery on Wednesday. Melanny Sanchez ran 24:21, the best race of her young career so far.

Hugo Marquez lead the JV boys with a time of 19:57, a big step forward from a 23 minute run on Wednesday. Abraham Benitez had by far the best race of his young career. He stopped the clock at 20:13, running 7:13 pace. Josh Merin was close behind in 20:24. Rodolf Ocampo ran 20:56 to and Luis Escamilla ran 21:23, breaking the 8 minute pace barrier for the first time.

The varsity girls race some some big breakthroughs as well. Namely Mya Hammond running 21:08 for the 2.8 mile course. Mya had never run under 8 minute pace for a cross country race before. She went way under that mark, managing a 7:33 mile pace for the race. Lizbeth Espana and Emely Lopez ran 22:16 and 22:18, both dipping just under 8 minute pace for the race as well. Ashley Preciado and Yesenia Martinez both took solid steps forward running 23:19 and 23:33 respectively to round out the groups.

The final race of the day was varsity boys. Mark Orpia lead the group in 16:10, the 5:47 pace being the fastest of his career so far. Jerricho Habon was next in 17:00. Brandon Cruz and Nien Tran made up the 3rd and 4th in 17:26 and 17:39. Omar Fimbres was the 5th boy in 18:09

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The varsity boys after the race

After a very rough first league meet, the team bounced back soundly at the Lowell Invite.

The team will work towards matching their Lowell Invite times at Montgomery Hill, which would make the team a force to be reckoned with at meet #2.

The team will take most of the next 2 weeks to focus on training. The Comets won’t race again until September 21st at the DeLaSalle Invitational.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves

 

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. 

 

Both Boys Relays Teams, 3 More Individuals Advance to CCS Trials

Counting the relay athletes, the Comets had 9 CCS qualifiers from the BVAL Finals meet on Thursday May 2nd at Westmont High School. This is the most athletes the team has seen qualify for CCS in the entire BVAL era (since 1996). That being said, the team only produced 3 individual qualifiers, compared to 4 the year before.

The meet features the top 7 athletes from the ‘A’ division finals, the top 5 athletes from the ‘B’ division finals and the top 4 from the ‘C’ division finals. In some events, additional athletes competed in the case that the “At-large” mark was reached. For example if the 5th place time in the ‘C’ division final was high quality enough, they would also advance to BVAL finals.

For the most part, every event has 16 entries and the top 8 in each event advance to CCS Trials.

The meet began with the pole vault. Last year at BVAL finals, both Mark Orpia and Rodolf Ocampo competed, representing the Comets at the meet in Pole Vault for the first time in school history. They went 9-0 and 8-6 respectively, both PRs at the time. The duo has come a long way, with the pair achieving PRS of 10-8 and 10-2 respectively at this years addition. They placed 10th and 12th.

Next up was the girls discus. Valeria Cortez took 2nd overall with a toss of 111-1, sealing her 4th consecutive CCS appearance in the girls discus. Joe Amendt and Ruth Lebeau are the only other Comets (on record) to make CCS four times in a single event. Marquise Nelson managed a PR in the event though she came in 10th, ending her career with a best of 94- 4.5, the 5th best mark in school history in the discus.

The running events began at 5:00 PM with the 4×100. This years squad has established themselves as the best 4×100 team from James Lick in many years and they backed it up, becoming the first 4×100 team from James Lick to make CCS trials in the BVAL era. The squad of Raven Alcantara, Rodolf Ocampo, Salvador Lopez and Geovanny Campos combined to run a seasons best 45.06 to place 7th, clinching their spot at CCS.

The next event with Comet competitors was the hurdles. Valeria ended her career in the event with a 17.28, finishing 10th place. Valeria’s PR of 16.75 in the event is currently the #3 all-time mark in school history (on record).It was an off race for her, where many times were hampered by a headwind. Yesenia Martinez was racing well until she clipped a hurdle and stumbled, losing her balance. She recovered but it was a poor time by her standards.

The performance of the day in my opinion, and perhaps the performance of my entire coaching tenure was Rodolf in the 110 hurdles. Last year, Rodolf began hurdling late in the season and ended the year with a PR of 19.01, not advancing to BVAL finals. This year, he improved dramatically, lowering his PR all the way down to 16.85 at ‘B’ division finals to place 3rd and qualify for BVALS. He went into BVAL finals ranked 11th, meaning he would need a big day to make CCS. Rodolf had more than a big day, he had an absolute breakthrough. He placed 5th in a massive PR of 15.97, making CCS by a wide margin. After “four-stepping” all year, it was Rodolf’s first time “Three-stepping” a race and it lead to the huge PR. Rodolf is the first boy to make CCS in the 110 hurdles in the BVAL era.

The Comets did not have any more competitors in the meet until the boys 100. Raven ran 11.63, the 2nd best time of his career in the event, placing 14th. Next up was the girls 800. After years of ups and downs, Arlet Miranda went out with the best time of her career, 2:28.08. This PR was not enough to get her to CCS however, as she finished 9th, one spot out of qualification. Arlet nonetheless ends her career #2 in school history in all 3 distance events.

Jerricho Habon competed in the boys 800 but had a poor race, gaining experience for next years addition. The final field events were going on at this time. Marquise Nelson threw 32-4.5 for 7th place in the girls Shot Put, punching her ticket to CCS trials. In the long jump, Sal barely missed his PR, going 20-3.5 but sadly finishing in 9th place. Even so, Sal had a great season as last year his best long jump was 17-10. Yeimili Adame contested the girls 3200 for the Comets, running 13:27, a PR by more than 30 seconds, moving her to #7 on the schools all time list in the event.

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Arlet Miranda in the final (and fastest) 800m of her HS career

The final event of the day was the boys 4×400. The Comets went in ranked 11th, needing a great performance and some good luck to make it through to CCS. The team of Sal, Erik Olsvold, Jerricho and Misael Herrera combined to run 3:36.78, the best time by any JL 4×400 team since the 3:35 clocking of 2002. Initially, it looked like the Comets were 10th, but disqualifications to Willow Glen and Pioneer moved the Comets up to 8th place.

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Left to right: Salvador Lopez, Jerricho Habon, Misael Herrera and Erik Olsvold after the 4×400 

The Comets who advanced to CCS trials will be competing on Saturday May 11th at Westmont High School with the chance to end the season with some good marks, and to potentially make CCS finals. The 9 total qualifiers is the highest number the Comets have ever produced at BVAL finals.

CCS Trials begins at 10 AM at Gilroy High School.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

 

Comets Split Dual Meet with Prospect, Girls Dual decided by 4×400

The James Lick Comets had their 3rd dual meet of the season at Prospect High School on Thursday March 28th. It was a windy day at Prospect, with a strong headwind on the home straightaway, resulting in poorer marks for the sprinters than normal.

In any case, the Comets competed hard, winning the boys side to move to a record of 2-1, while the girls lost a very close dual (66-61) to fall to 1-2.

The meet began with the 4×100, and sprint depth is currently the team’s biggest weakness. Prospect won the 4×100 against the squad of Lisbeth Galdamez, Azalea Galinato, Jenny Fimbres and Yeimili Adame. On the boys side, the Comets nailed their first relay win of the season. Misael Herrera, Josh Merin, Raven Alcantara and Geo Campos ran 46.40 to take the victory.

The girls 1600 was next. Arlet Miranda is still battling illness and had to drop out of the girls 1600. Belen Sanchez took 2nd for the team in a seasons best of 6:24. In the same race, Estefani Herrera ran 7:01, a 14 second PR. Melanie Sanchez ran 8:18 for her debut in the event.

The boys side was a great battle for the win between Erik Olsvold and Jonathan Yuen of Prospect. The lead changed hands multiple times with Jonathan taking the win in 4:52.48 to Erik’s 4:52.52. This was a big seasons best for Erik and is the fastest time of his career since his sophomore season. Erik is rebounding strongly from injuries that hampered him junior year. Jerricho Habon was 4th in a PR of 5:01.8. In the frosh/soph version of the event, Dekota Castro-Lopez won the 1600 with a PR of 5:55, breaking 6:00 for the first time.

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Jonathan of Prospect and Erik Olsvold battling on the last lap of the 1600

The girls 100 hurdles was the 3rd straight dual meet victory of the season for Valeria Cortez in the event. Yesenia Martinez was 2nd and Natalie Rem 3rd completing a Comet sweep. On the boys side, Rodolf Ocampo won the boys 110 hurdles. Dekota won the frosh/soph version of the event.  With the strong headwind, the times were not particularly fast in this event.

In the girls 400, Yeimili Adame ran 1:07.54 to win the event, a very strong showing considering the conditions. Chantrea Thach made her debut in the event, clocking 1:20. Misael Herrera won the boys 400 in a seasons best 56.78. Prospect took 2nd and 3rd in both 400s.

By this time, several field events were already completed. It was a very high quality dual meet in girls throws. Valeria took 2nd despite a throw of 33-3, a mark that would have easily won the team’s previous duals. Marquise Nelson managed a massive PR of 31-1.5. This was only good for 4th however in a very competitive dual. Adriana Marcelino managed a huge seasons best of 21-10.5, only a half inch off of her PR. Kiely Leal threw a seasons best of 20-4. Lizbet Alonzo threw a PR of 19-10, as did Sandra Naranjo with a new personal best of 16-10.

In girls discuss, Valeria won the meet with a toss of 106-3. Marquise took 2nd in a new PR of 89-3. Sandra managed a 2nd PR on the day, throwing over 50 feet for the first time. Lizbet and Kiely both netted seasons bests as well. On the boys side, Rodolf threw a new PR of 34-0 to take 2nd for the team, the first Shot Put points of the season for the boy Comets. In boys discus, Josh took 2nd in 84-0. Alexis managed big PRs in both throws, throwing 26-0 for Shot Put and 60-1 for discus.

Mark Orpia and Rodolf took 2nd and 3rd in pole vault on the boys side, with leaps of 9-0 and 8-6 respectively. Josh Merin was the only boy to clear a height in high jump, taking the win with a 5 foot clearance. On the girls side, Yesenia took 2nd in 4-4 with Lisbeth taking 3rd in 4-2. Marquise also managed a new PR of 4-2.

Back to the running events, the strong Prospect sprinters went 1-2, with Natalie taking 3rd. Again, times were not great due to the wind. Natalie for example ran 14.49 compared to a 13.90 clocking a week ago. The winner from Prospect only ran 13.8 compared to a season best 13.2. Jordan won the frosh/soph 100 in 12.7 and Isaac Ortega made his debut with a 14.79.

The comet boys swept the 100, with Raven, Geo, and Josh combining to accomplish the feet. Raven and Geo ran 12.12 and 12.48 respectively, but it was a PR for Josh who ran 12.57, despite the windy conditions. This shows that Josh is ready to run much faster with good conditions.

The girls 800 was a prospect victory with Erika Camacho and Ashley Preciado taking 2nd 3rd. It was a seasons best 2:58 for Ashley. Mya Hammond ran a PR of 2:58.49 just behind her. Melanie ran 3:48 for her first try at the event.

The boys version was another good battle. Jerricho had the lead with 100 to go, but lost to Jonathan before the line, Jerricho stopped the clock in 2nd with a time of 2:13.71. Brandon Cruz ran a PR of 2:19.01 in the race as well.

Valeria and Arlet took 2nd and 3rd in the girls 300 hurdles. On the boys side, Rodolf and Mark took 1st and 3rd in PRs of 45.59 and 48.54. It was a strong return meet for Mark, who after being held out a week with a minor foot injury will return to training next week.

In the girls 200, Yeimili ran a PR for 3rd place, stopping the clock at 30.10. The boys managed another sweep in the 200. Salvador Lopez lead the team in 25.13. Misael and Geo completed the sweep. Jordan won the frosh/soph 200, running 26.21 for his first try at the event.

Lizbeth Espana, Ruth Rodriguez and Mariana Perez combined to sweep the girls 3200. Emely Lopez broke the 16 minute barrier for the first time, clocking in at 15:55. On the boys side, none of the top Comets ran the 3200, though Adrian DeLaRosa and Alexis Sarellano did run it for fun. Adrian ran 14:55 and Alexis ran 15:59.

The horizontal jumps took a long time to get going. When they did, Prospect took the win in the long jump. Jamie Vong took 2nd in a PR of 18-6 and Sal was 3rd in 18-5. Bryan Rodriguez managed a big PR of 15-4 in the frosh/soph long jump, while Jordan took 2nd in 16-4. On the girls side, Prospect took 1st and 2nd, and 3rd went to Lis who had an impressive 14-0 debut in the event.

The Comet boys swept the triple jump. Raven matched his PR of 37-9. Jamie was 2nd in a seasons best 36-9 and Sal was 3rd in 36-8. Angel Guerrero managed a PR of 34-4. Jordan tripled jumped for the first time, going 32-10. Bryan also triple jumped for the first time, going 28-8 in the event.

The team was down by 9 points on the girls side with triple jump underway. Natalie took the win with a 30 foot jump. Yesenia took 2nd in 27-6. With a point up for grabs due to the lack of  3rd girl, Arlet tried her hand at triple jump and managed to score a point with a jump of 26-0.

With this sweep, the girls were tied at 61 points with the 4×400 relay remaining. On the boys side, the Comets had already clinched victory. The Comet boys still took the win with a time of 3:56. Misael, Jamie, Jerricho and Erik accomplished the victory. On the girls side however, Prospect took the win, sealing a narrow victory that came down to one event.

Final scores:

Varsity Girls: 

Prospect: 66

James Lick: 61

Varsity Boys: 

James Lick: 78

Prospect: 54

Frosh/Soph Boys: 

Prospect: 76

James Lick: 37

The Comets will head to on of our favorite invitationals of the year, the Firebird Relays, on Saturday March 30th.

Then the team will gear up for their quad meet again Lincoln, Piedmont and Sobrato on April 4th.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves

 

Lady Comets set school record at Montgomery Hill: Comets End Regular Season 9-5

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The team after their final league meet of the season

The James Lick cross country team contested their final league meet of the 2018 season on Thursday October 18th at Montgomery hill. The meet determined the final records for each team in the Santa Teresa division (‘B’ division) with only league finals left to affect team standings.

The frosh/soph boys had a rough race to end what was a rough year for the young Comets. The frosh/soph team had been thin all year, and we called Omar Fimbres, our top sophomore boy, up to varsity to shore up the varsity squad, making the frosh/soph team even thinner. This left Jonathan Bradley and Jay Austria to spearhead the team, though neither by had a good race by their standards. Alberto Trejo ran a PR of 21:02. Jordan Laguna ran a PR of 23:07 and Josue Gomez mustered a PR of 25:13. Despite these PRs, the frosh/soph team lost to both Pioneer and Leigh to end their season 1-6.

The varsity girls had a much better showing. Arlet Miranda rebounded from minor injury a week ago, to match her PR, running 19:10 for the second time in her career. Yeimili Adame shaved over 20 seconds off of her PR, running 20:13, the 5th best time in school history. As the #2 and #5 fastest Comets ever on the Montgomery hill course, Arlet and Yeimili form the best 1-2 combination the Comets have had in decades. This marked the first time that two lady Comets ran under 21 minutes at Montgomery in the same race.

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Arlet Miranda (left) and Yeimili Adame (right) in the first mile of the race

This set the team up well to attack the school record team time of 2014, when the Comets clocked 1:45:57 ( an average of 21:11 per girl) to finish 7-0 in the West Valley division (‘C’ division). Belen Sanchez and Jessica Cervantes ran small PRs of 21:55 and 21:57 respectively. Both girls cracked the 22 minute barrier for the first time in their careers. Ashley Preciado had an off race, but was the all important 5th girl in at 22:27. This gave the team a combined team time of 1:45:43 (once times were rounded up) shaving 14 seconds off of the school record. Jenny Villagomez ran a huge PR of 22:45, and Yesenia Martinez rounded out the team.

As the team of 2018 attempts to claim the throne of the best James Lick team of the BVAL era (since 1996) here is a quick comparison, against the current #1, the team of 2014, at Montgomery Hill.

               

                            2014                                                             2018

  1. Daniela Camacho 19:32                                      1. Arlet Miranda 19:11
  2.  Paloma Contreras 21:02                                    2. Yeimili Adame 20:13
  3.  Milka Perez         21:12                                       3. Belen Sanchez  21:55
  4.  Maria Mendoza  21:30                                       4. Jessica Cervantes 21:57
  5.  Julia Cruz            22:41                                       5. Ashley Preciado  22:27
  6.  Brianna Flores  23:25                                        6.  Jenny Villagomez  22:45
  7.  Alma Padilla 24:12                                            7. Yesenia Martinez  23:51

 

The team is now poised to try to seal their claim to “best team of the BVAL era” if they can beat the team time of the 2014 ladies at Crystal Springs. The team of 2014 ran 1:50:00 exactly, the 2nd best team time in school history only to the squad of 1981 (they ran 1:46:xx).

The girls defeated both Leigh and Pioneer to finish the season 5-2. This is the best record the James Lick girls have ever achieved in the ‘B’ division.

The varsity boys were next up, and they would need 1 victory to ensure a winning season. Mark Orpia lead the team running a small PR of 16:19. This moved Mark up to 8th on the school’s all time list for Montgomery Hill. Erik Olsvold was the #2 Comet in a seasons best of 16:50.  Melvin Estrada ran a 1 second PR of 17:15. Jerricho Habon and Nien Tran streamed in together at 17:28 and 17:29 ( a 26 second PR for Nien). Brandon Cruz ran a small PR of 17:31. The team was without last week’s #3 runner, Jared Resendiz who was battling the flu this week. Omar Fimbres was the 7th boy in 18:07.

The Comets fell to a very strong pioneer team (pioneer missed beating Branham by 1 point, making them 6-1 and Branham 7-0). James Lick did defeat Leigh however to end the regular season 4-3 on the boys side. This is the first time that both the varsity boys and varsity girls for the Comets finished the season with winning records in the ‘B’ divsion in the same season. Branham has been the best team in the division, a combined 14-0. We are tied with Pioneer with combined records of 9-5 for the #2 overall team in the division.

The reserve boys continue to show improvement as a group as well. For the first time since 2010, the reserve team ran under 100 minutes as a team at Montgomery Hill, and they did it without a key reserve boy in Gustavo Madrigal. The team of 2010 managed to have 5 boys run under 20 minutes for the course. This year’s squad has had 4 boys accomplish this feet. Geo Campos lead the team running 18:48, 1 second off of his PR. Vincent Giglio ran a big seasons best of 19:37 as the 2nd Comet in. Daniel Portillo also cracked 20 minutes for the team. Hugo Marquez and Rodolf Ocampo made up the 4 and 5 in 20:19 and 20:32. Rafael Yanez and Kevin Santacruz rounded out the boys day by running 30 second PRs. Rafa stopped the clock at 24:41 while Kevin ran 28:54.

The final race on the day was the JV/ reserve girls race, the strength of the team this season. A Sobrato runner finished in first place. After that, 5 Comets streamed in before any other JV or reserve girl. Mariana Perez lead the team in 2nd place overall. She ran a massive PR of 23:34. Erika Camacho took 3rd place in 23:45 (PR by 26 seconds) . Estefani Herrera took 4th in 23:56 (PR by 20 seconds) . Mya Hammond and Ruth Rodriguez finished in 24:24 and 24:25 in 5th and 6th place. Emely Lopez and Jhesselyn Santos were the 6th and 7th Comets in 25:27 and 25:55, both girls running under 26 minutes for the first time.

The JV girls had perfect scores against both Leigh and Pioneer, moving them to 7-0 on the season. This team ran the fastest JV girls team time at Montgomery hill in school history, combing to run 2:00:06, just missing the 2 hour barrier. The previous best JV team at Montgomery hill was the team of 2014, who managed to run 2:03:47. That team managed a 6th place finish at BVAL finals out of all 24 BVAL teams. The potential for a high finish makes this team an exciting one heading into league finals. It is remarkable how far some of our girls have come in the past year.

The trio of Mariana, Erika and Estefani make us especially proud. Last year, Mariana was the fastest of the trio at 28:40. The other two could not break 30 minutes. They have come so far that Estefani, as the slowest of the three would have beaten 10 of the girls in the varsity race.  All 3 girls could not run a mile under 9 minutes when they started running in fall of 2017 (Estefani couldn’t run a mile under 10 minutes.) Now all three can run under 9 minute course for even the very difficult Montgomery hill cross country course.

The remaining girls also had great performances. Francine Estranero ran a PR by 47 seconds, stopping the clock at 26:47. Araceli Mejia ran 28:04 despite never having run under 31 minutes previously. Angelina Guevara (28:10) and Ellie Castro (29:18) both broke the 30 minute barrier for the first time. Adriana Marcelino ended the Comets day with a 3 minute PR of 31:23.

It was a solid day for the team overall and a great one for the girls as a whole.

The team will now turn their attention to BVAL finals on Monday October 29th. It will be the final official race of the season for the majority of the team, while the varsity sides will try to extend their seasons to CCS with a strong showing.

Thanks for reading!

-Benny Reeves