The Season

The James Lick Cross Country Team finished their regular season with a solid day of work at Montgomery hill. The Varsity boys are 6-1, and in 2nd place as they head into league finals on November 2nd. The Varsity girls are 2-5, in 6th place as they await the BVAL finals run over the historic Crystal Springs Cross Country course. BVAL finals is run with the 'A' 'B' and 'C' divisions all racing in one race, showing where each teams belong. 
Highlights of the last meet include the fact that the Varsity boys team was able to run a team time of 1:24:20, the first team to run under 1:25 at Montgomery hill since the team of 2004. This is without the services of normal number 3 runner, Gustavo Aguilera. The team was spearheaded by Nathan Bernardo, who ran 16:10, the 4th fastest time for a James Lick runner at Montgomery Hill in school history. Other strong PRS on the boys side were Hector Ramirez, 16:32, Inteus Castro-Lopez, 17:00, Azael Zamora, 17:19, and Guillermo Villalobos in 17:39. The Varisty Boys have been aiming all season long for a top 10 finish at BVAL finals which would grant them a CCS berth. 
On the girls side, the team was unable to match their performance from the week before, though the team of Maria Mendoza,  Andrea Ortiz, Elizabeth Guevara, Gabriela Aguilar, Jennifer Custodio and Daisy Nava became the first JL girls team ever to have 6 girls under 23 minutes in one race with Daisy coming across the line in a huge pr of 22:57. The girls are aiming for a 12th place finish at BVAL finals which would likely grant them a place in CCS Finals. 

The Frosh/Soph boys team has been incomplete for several meets, but Erik Olsvold and Austin Swank ran big PRS of 18:18 and 20:34 respectively. Erik as a freshmen has a very bright outlook for the future.
The JV girls have been a source of strength for the team all season long, and though they are only 4-3, at the last race they were the best JV team in the entire STAL. Julia Cruz lead the group in 23:11, 2nd place overall. Evilly Garcia and freshmen Carla Manzanares were next in 24:34 and 24:39, giving the JV girls 3 girls under 25 minutes. A feat which only 3 years ago the Varisty girls could hardly accomplish. Jocelyn Aguirre was 4th in 25:00 exactly. Analilia Regla, Susie Peterson, and Christine Young finished off the team in 26:48, 26:49 and 26:50. The JV Girls are poised to finish in the top 8 teams in the entire BVAL at league finals. 
The reserve teams had strong performances in particular from Ryan Puzon, who broke 20 minutes for the course as the team's number 2 runner. The reserve team is in a position to aim for a top half finish at league finals.
When the populations of each CCS school were done for the 2015-2016 school year, they revealed that James Lick is the 2nd smallest school in the 24 team BVAL. 6 of the league's schools have more than twice as many students to draw from. As a result, anything better than a second to last finish for the team is a testament to the Comets ability to rise above their circumstances, and outperform expectations. The James Lick Cross Country team will look to demonstrate that exact strength at league finals 11/2/15.

League Race 9/17 vs. Branham, Leigh, and Oak Grove

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 Leigh 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 in17:28, Gustavo Aguilera had a rough race but placed 18th in 17:37, and Azael Zamora was the 5th guy in17:55 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.
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