Past and Present Collide at James Lick Alumni Race

After a one year hiatus due to extreme weather conditions, the James Lick alumni race was back with a vengeance for the 2018 edition. The race is always a great experience for our current runners. It serves as both a test of their fitness before official races begin, and a chance to meet some of the great runners of James Lick’s history.

Coaches, Alumni and current runners after the alumni race 

This year’s event had a great cast of characters from Glenn Reeves and Luis Garza classes of 1969 and 1977 respectively, to Randy Pangelina and Gilbert Zaragosa, both members of the greatest ever James Lick teams (the teams of the early 80s). Also in attendance were Don Mora, Jeremy Peterson, and the seemingly always in great shape Joe Amendt, members of the late 80s Comets crowd. Of course, there were also members of James Lick’s latest success’ present, such as Paloma Contreras and Azael Zamora.


The race over the historic 2.25 mile course was new to much of the team since we weren’t able to contest it last year. Many of the returners managed huge PRs from their last try at the course two years ago.

I managed to just hold on for the win in 13:49 with Erik Olsvold the first Comet across in 13:50. This is an encouraging start for Erik who spent all of last cross country season dealing with injury. Jerricho Habon was the 2nd Comet in at 14:06. Jerricho has come a long way since freshmen year when he ran 16:25.  Joe Amendt was right behind Jerricho as the 4th place finisher and 2nd alumni in at 14:10.

Melvin Estrada and Brandon Cruz came in at 14:34 and 14:42 respectively. Melvin’s previous best was 17:29. Jared Resendiz added was the 5th boy in at 14:52, a strong quintet for a team missing Mark Orpia, the team’s top runner from the time trial two weeks ago. Geo Campos and Nien Tran came in close together at 15:11 and 15:15. This was over a 2 minute PR for Nien, and a very impressive time for Geo who continues to show great potential in his first ever cross country season.

Daniel Portillo was next in 16:10, more than a 2 minute PR. Gustavo Madrigal and Arlet Miranda came in close together in 16:35 and 16:40, with sophomore Jonathan Bradley close behind in 16:44. It was a close race as Alberto Trejo (17:57) alumni Paloma Contreras (17:58) Rodolf Ocampo (17:59) and alumni Don Mora (18:01) streamed in close together. Josh Merin ran 18:18 and alumni Daisy Nava came in at 18:34, beating her high school PR by over 20 seconds despite not running all out since she practiced with her team at UC Merced in the morning.

Belen Sanchez and Yeimili Adame came in together at 18:56 as the 2nd and 3rd lady Comets. Ashley Preciado and Yesenia Martinez came in at 19:27 and 19:42. In my 6 years of coaching, this was the fastest girls team at the alumni race. For only the 2nd time, 5 girls ran under 20 minutes, and for the first time, 3 ran under 19. Erika Camacho just missed breaking 20, running 20:06.

Alumni Austin Swank, Jeramy Peterson and Andy Giang came in next in 20:21, 20:22 and 20:35 respectively. Mariana Perez, Ruth Perez and Emely Lopez ran 21:11, 21:26 and 21:49 to show some strong JV girl potential. Alumni Luis Garza finished in 22:11.

Jhesselyn Santos finished in 22:38. Alumni Phuc Pham finished in 22:39 and a number of Comets just managed to crack 23 minutes behind him. Jessica Cervantes, Giulissa Correa and Francine Estranero came in at 22:50, 22:55 and 22:58.  Eddie Tinajero was alumni on the men’s side in 23:15. Angelina Guevara and Mia Hammond came in together at 23:20. Jesse Chircop ended the alumni men’s day with a time of 23:21, and Rafael Yanez ended the boys day with a time of 23:24.

Kirsten Yutuc came across in 23:35. Alumni Aliana Santos and Susie Peterson finished in 24:37 and 25:39 respectively. Adriana Marcelino ended the Comets day with a time of 27:45.

It was a fun day for the team, and there is a lot to look forward to as races begin soon.

The team will take roughly 20 athletes to the Lowell Invitational in Golden Gate Park on Saturday September 8th. They will then head to the Early Bird Invitational in Toro Park Salinas the following Saturday. Our first league meet is not until the 20th.

Thank you to all the alumni who came to our event!

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves


Comets Take Big Step Forward at STAL 2

The James Lick Comets had their second league meet of the 2017 season on September 14th in Alum Rock Park . A week after opening their season on the very same 2.85 mile course, the team took a big step forward, with numerous PRs and their first Varsity win of the season.


Varsity Boys Left to right: Jose (Lemon) Limon, Hugo Marquez, Jesus Deloya, Azael Zamora, Inteus Castro-Lopez, Mark Orpia, Melvin Estrada

The meet began with the Frosh/Soph boys race. Nien Tran and Jonathan Cortez came in at 19:48 and 19:50, both running under 20 minutes for the very first time. Jerricho Habon was the 3rd boy in at 20:03, a PR by over a minute. Daniel Portillo ran a small PR of 20:18, and Omar Fimbres ran under 21 minutes for the first time, running 20:59. The team got the win over Branham to move to 2-1 on the season, despite the decision to move Melvin Estrada (last week’s top F/S boy) to Varsity.

The Varsity girls also saw a number of strong performances, and competed much better despite the absence of number 2 runner Belen Sanchez. Arlet Miranda lead the team in 22:28, still nowhere near her best. The next runner across for the Comets was Xochitl Godinez in 23:43, a massive improvement after running 25:32 only a week earlier. Justine Austria was 3rd in at 25:39, a huge PR as well after she ran 28:08 last week. Jana Kikhia and Ashley Preciado rounded out the top 5 with both girls running 26:24. Neither girl ran under 27 minutes last week. The girls are 0-3, but are improving rapidly. The team will work hard over the next few weeks to try to score their first win against Oak Grove in October.

The varsity boys team was spearheaded by Azael Zamora once again. He ran 15:44 for 3rd place. Inteus Castro-Lopez ran a 20 second PR of 17:08. Mark Orpia succeeded in going under 18 for the first time, running 17:42. Jose Limon ran 18:35, compared to his 19:46 clocking from a week ago. Lemon flashed his track speed over the last 100 meters, passing two runners from Branham (and several other runners) with his outstanding finishing kick. Had he not passed those runners, the Comets would have fallen to 0-3. Thanks to his finish however, the team scored a narrow victory over the Bruins. Hugo Marquez and Melvin Estrada came across the line together in 18:50, both breaking 19 for the first time.

The JV girls race also saw some huge PRS with Jennifer Villagomez taking her PR from 28:20 to 26:01 in one fell swoop. Mya Hammond cracked the 28 minute barrier and Kirsten Yutuc did the same to the 29 minute barrier.

The boys reserve race also saw a huge PR from Luis Escamilla. Luis took his best time down from 27 minutes a week ago, to 24 minutes this week.

Overall, STAL 2 was a huge steo in the right direction for the team.

Earlybird Invitational recap coming soon.

Thanks for reading,

-Benny Reeves




JLXC Takes Step Forward at Penultimate League Meet


The Comets participated in their 3rd league meet of the season on Thursday October 15th. It was the 2nd league meet of the year which was held at Montgomery Hill, and even though it was only a week after the initial Montgomery meet, the race yielded many PRs for the team.

The Frosh/Soph Boys team, which has been missing many of it’s members, nonetheless had 3 PRS for the 3 boys that run. Erik Olsvold and Jesus Deloya crossed the line in 18:38 and 18:40, strong Frosh/Soph times. Austin Swank was the last racer for the team and ran 21:08, a 0:57 second PR.

The Varsity Girls were the team that took the biggest leap forward of the day. Maria Mendoza lead the group in 20:31, nearly a full minute PR and the 4th best time in school history for the course. Andrea Ortiz and Elizabeth Guevara were next in 22:03 and 22:14. Jennifer Custodio and Gabriela Aguilar finished off the scoring in 22:30 and 22:40. Daisy Nava fought though a rough day to run 23:59. This gives the team a combined team time of 1:49:58, a substantial improvement from the 1:53:53 of the previous week. The team will look to take their time down another minute or two at the final league meet next Thursday, and remain hopeful that Arlet Miranda will return to help the team at league finals, though  return to racing by next week seems unlikely.

The Varsity Boys had a mixed day, but nonetheless, beat Prospect to move to 5-1 on the season. This was the first time JL had defeated Prospect in an XC or Track dual meet in years. Nathan Bernardo had an off day but still ran 16:26 just 2 seconds off his PR. Hector Ramirez, recovered from a minor hamstring injury ran 16:42 for 9th place overall, over a minute PR. Gustavo Aguilera ran 17:12 as the 3rd boy, an off day for him as well. Inteus Castro-Lopez battled sickness to run a solid 17:35 as the 4th boy, and Azael Zamora ran a small PR as the 5th: 17:41. Jesse Chircop and Gustavo Parra finished in 17:43 and 17:54 to complete the team. This gave the comets a team time of 1:25:38, the best team time since 2004. A better team time than the 2009, and 2010 teams managed at Montgomery (both teams were successful in making CCS). The team is aiming for a myriad of PRS to lead the team to a team tim ender 1:24:00 in their final league race next week.

The Reserve Boys were again lead by Guillermo Villalobos in a solid PR of 18:42. Miguel Chavez and Ryan Puzon ran 20:10 and 20:15 respectively, while Kelvin Arenas was the 4th boy in 20:45. This gives the team 4 reserve boys under 21 compared to only 1 last week. Ivan Morales completed the team in 23:19, and will look for a better time next week.

The JV and reserve girls had a very strong showing. Julia Cruz was 3rd place overall in 23:10. Evilly Garcia ran 25:22 as the 2nd girl, and Carla Manzanares made her official debut in a strong 25:28. Analilia Regla and Jocelyn Aguirre wrapped up the scoring in 26:18 and 26:20. This was a full minute PR for Analilia. The JV team was completed by Christine Young and Susie Peterson in 27:23 and 27:34. Alonico Urango ran 27:41 to lead the reserve girls, and Elizabeth Perez ran 30:00 exactly as the 2nd. She will naturally look to break 30 minutes for the first time next week. Diana Romero finished the comets day in 31:51, nearly a 2 minute PR for the course.

The Team is looking to make a statement in their final league meet of the season against Independence. Anyone interested in watching the team can see them compete on Thursday 10/22 at 3:30 at Montgomery Hill.

As always the schools ALL TIME lists can be viewed under “Cross Country History”  ^

Results and Youtube Video ca be found Under Links ^

Comets Open Season at Earlybird Invitational


20 members of the James Lick Cross Country Team took to Toro Park in Salinas California to compete in the Earlybird Invitational. It was a strong showing for the team, with both teams placing in the top 30 teams at the massive meet.

The Meet was kicked off by Freshmen Arlet Miranda in the freshmen girls place. Arlen ran a solid 23:04, as she works her way back from injury showing she is ready to run strong at next weeks league meet. The boys side saw a standout performance from Vincent Giglio. Vincent ran 18:49, becoming the first freshmen in JL history to break 19 at the earlybird invitational in over ten years of attending the meet.

The sophomore race had Analilia Regla running 27:51, Susie Peterson running 28:18 and Diana Romero and Elizabeth Perez coming in together at 33:19. This was the XC debut for both Analilia and Diana with both runners competing hard.

The sophomore boys race further illustrated the strength of the comets youth. Inters Castro-Lopez ran 18:37, Azael Zamora ran 18:57, Jesus Deloya finished in 19:31 and Austin Swank crossed the line in 21:51. Austin has made tremendous strides since he started running XC. As a freshmen he failed to break 22 minutes for a league race course. With this Toro Park time, he is poised to try to break 20 minutes for a league race this season.

Juniors Daisy Nava, 25:18, Julia Cruz, 26:47 and Jennifer Custodio, 26:52 were next. Daisy is improving fast from her 30:03 NR time trial barely a month ago. Julia and Jennifer both add depth to the team from the JV side with their performances.

Nathan Bernardo ran 17:53 in the juniors race, becoming the first JL runner to run under 18 at earlybird since 2006 when Reyes Morones ran 17:44. Teammate Gustavo Aguilera ran 19:09 more than a 40 second PR in what was a very rough day for him. Gustavo Parra had a similar performance, running 19:55 for a PR as he continues to get himself in shape following an injury which had him miss 6 weeks of training.

Maria Mendoza ran in place of teammate Elizabeth Guevara in the senior race, clocking a good time of 22:56. Andrea Ortiz ran 24:49, the fastest pace of her young XC career despite the relatively challenging nature of the Toro Park course.

Senior and Team Captain Hector Ramirez ran 18:12, compared to the 19:28 time he ran as a junior. Jesse Chircop ended the team’s day with a very strong 19:04, the fastest time he’s ever run for any course 2.7 miles or longer.

Many of the Comets, particularly on the boys side felt that they underperformed, but even so, this team ran the best JL team time at Toro Park since 2004 (1:32:38). The girls ran a solid 2:02:57. Both teams are in a position to be competitive this year in the STAL and will put themselves to the test next Thursday in Alum Rock Park

James Lick Cross Country Conditioning Begins!


The James Lick Cross Country Team has begun training for their 2015 season. The 2014 season saw the girl’s team win a WVAL league title and move up to the STAL Division of the BVAL. As a result the team will face tougher competition in league meets this season, but the Comets are working hard to be ready to continue their rapid ascent. Last year’s girl’s team set the goal of running 1:50:00 as a team at league finals, the 2nd best time in school history, knowing the time would likely mean a CCS berth and league championship. The team was able to do exactly that. This year’s boy’s team is following their lead.

The team lead by Senior Hector Ramirez has set the goal of making CCS as a team on the boy’s side, and finishing in the top 2 teams in the STAL at BVAL finals. Toward this goal, the team is aiming for a team time of 1:28:00. This time would be the first time since 2003 that any Comet team has broken the 90 minute barrier, and would likely propel the team to a Top 10 finish in the BVAL despite being the BVAL’s second smallest team.

Last year’s team ran a solid 1:31:22, the best league finals time by a James Lick team since 2004. The 2014 team began the season with the best mile PR on the team being Nathan Bernardo at 5:18. This year the team has Nathan as a junior at 4:52, junior Jose Jiminez at 4:56, junior Gustavo Parra at 5:00.25, Hector at 5:02, Sophomore Jesus Deloya and Junior Guillermo Villalobos at 5:11, and junior Gustavo Aguilera at 5:16. The dramatically improved track times, will foster great success this XC season.

Competition is wide open as the team begins to build their endurance for who will achieve Varsity positions, but the expectation is for the team to be lead by the core group of Hector, Nathan, The two Gustavo’s and Guillermo, with Jesus and sophomore Inters Castro-Lopez leading the Frosh/Soph team to becoming a team strength. This is also the first season that incoming freshmen will participate in summer training under Coach Reeves. Freshmen Erik Osvold, and Vincent Giglio in particular are showing they will be strong factors for the team, along with new sophomore Azael Zamora. Look for this hardworking group of boys to spring the Comets forward this season.

The girl’s team is very much in transition with the loss of 4 of it’s Varsity members to graduation, and one likely to injury. Returning runners : Maria Mendoza, Julia Cruz, Evalilia Garcia, Andrea Lepe, Alonica Urango and Gabriela Aguilar will help guide the team. New athletes from track team looking to make a mark in XC include Junior Daisy Nava, Seniors Andrea Ortiz, Karen Montes, and Elizabeth Guevara, as a well as Sophomores Cierra Gutierrez and Analilia Regla. The team will do the best they can to replicate their CCS berth of a year ago and lay a system which works for the girls to train hard, and be as motivated as the boys.

The Comets are running everyday at 9:00 A.M. in front of the school by the student parking lot, and at 1:45 for the athletes who are attending summer school. Hope to see you all there!