Cross Country (Boys)


October 14, 2015 | 8:32 p.m.

ARCADIA — Despite fielding only one complete varsity team, perhaps no Santa Fe League cross-country program enjoyed more success Wednesday afternoon than Bellarmine-Jefferson High.

The Guards took part in the second three-hour-long Camino Del Rey Assn. cluster meet, which included squads from the Del Rey and Camino Real leagues , at Arcadia County Park.

Bell-Jeff took first in the Santa Fe League girls’ race, led by sophomore winner Caitlyn Couch, while freshman Nick Montijo was second for the short-handed boys.

PHOTOS: Bell-Jeff runs to victory at Arcadia County Park

“Our goal for the boys is to finish 1-2 in league like last season,” Bell-Jeff Coach Jim Couch said. “For the girls, Caitlyn wanted to get the best time of anyone in any league and fell short. As a team, though, we still did really well.”

The Guards girls ran to victory for a second straight meet, this time with 29 points, easily knocking off second-place Downey St. Matthias/Pius X, which finished with 58 points. St. Anthony took third with 60 points.

While the gap in team scoring was large, it was dwarfed by the separation Caitlyn Couch created against the rest of the league.

Couch, daughter of Jim Couch, was so far ahead that she lapped around 15 runners in finishing with a blistering time of 18 minutes, 40.2 seconds on the grassy, quick course.

“I love running here, even though this is my first time on the three-mile course,” said Caitlyn Couch, who had competed at Arcadia as a youth on the abbreviated two-mile course. “My goal today was to get in the [17-minute mark], so I’m pissed that I missed that. I have a plan, an idea of what I would like to accomplish and I have to do better than this.”

Couch’s mark was the fifth-best in any of the three leagues as the Del Rey League winner, Bishop Amat’s Olivia Paez, finished with the top time of 18:05.4.

If there was one disadvantage for Caitlyn Couch in comparison to every other runner, it’s that the Santa Fe League girls’ varsity race, the final event of the day, did not include a pace bike as did every other competition.

“The challenge for me is that there wasn’t anyone I was going after,” she said.

Couch’s teammate, sophomore Valerie Zavala, also mentioned the lack of someone to pace off of.

“It’s difficult to run sometimes when you don’t have anyone out there pushing you,” Zavala said. “That was my situation.”

Zavala finished second in a mark of 20:08 and was in no man’s land, more than two minutes behind Couch, but also nearly two minutes ahead of teammate and third-place finisher Samantha Geyer (21:49.1).

Bell-Jeff’s remaining scorers were freshman Dalila Rincon (10th, 23:19.8) and sophomore Corsette Balmy (13th, 23:42.2).

As for the boys, the Guards did not field a complete team, running only three individuals.

Despite the turnout, Bell-Jeff nearly had another victory before Montijo slowed over the final half-mile and took second in 18:12.5.

“I tried as best as I could, but I just got tired at the end,” Montijo said. “This was my first time on the course and I was just looking to get better than 19 minutes.”

Montijo was locked in a showdown for first place with St. Anthony freshman Evan Vance with each runner taking turns in first place.

It wasn’t until the final half-mile when Vance kicked into another gear and took home the victory in 17:53.7.

“If you look at Nick, he wasn’t even close to that guy the first time we ran against St. Anthony,” Jim Couch said. “He’s made some big strides and I think he’ll catch him.”

Guards sophomore Tim Carlson also placed in the top 20, taking 17th in 20:25.3.

“Tim was sick earlier, but he’s run a lot closer to the top guy,” Jim Couch said. “I think by the end of the season, we’ll have the top two guys in league. Give me a month and check back [on Nov. 4] at the league finals.”


The offseason was tough for the Guards, who lost the Santa Fe League's top two finishers last year in Grayson Goss and Nick Bacerra.

Despite the setback, Bell-Jeff Coach Jim Couch isn't about to throw in the towel.

"I think we can still have a pretty good year and be a good team in league," Couch said. "I'm not sure if we can compete for a league title, but we have some good runners."

Despite owning the top two positions in league last season, the Guards still finished fourth and will look for more depth in 2015.

Couch believes he has a potential breakout runner in sophomore Timothy Carlson.

"He's very capable of putting up sub-17 times," Couch said. "He looks like our No. 1."

Following Carlson, Couch believes that freshman Nick Montijo and sophomore Joseph Noh can serve as steady two and three runners.

It's after the top three spots where Couch and the Guards will look for consistency.

"We have some runners," Couch said. "It's just a matter of who takes those last spots."

A Successful Day At Staub Invite 

The boys cross-country team had a successful day running in 100+ degree heat and a very dusty course, the team was led by Nick Bacerra running 18:31 followed by Zelli Hudson with a personal best of 20:56, close behind him was Sean Mayer at 24:30 and followed by Theo Espiritu.  The boys next meet will be this Saturday at the Santa Clarita Invitational at Castaic Lake. 


Better, Better and Better 

The  young men's cross-country team is improving weekly capturing 11th place in the 41st annual Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational.  Nick Bacerra had a great race running 18:04 and placing 21.  Nick was followed by teammate Zellie Hudson who improved 8 minutes running 21:46 finishing off the pack were Sean Mayer, Jeff Zhang, Leon Mallillin and Theo Espiritu.  The teams next meet is this Saturday at the Kenny Staub Invitational at Crescenta Valley Park. 

Rumble in La Mirada
The Bellarmine young men had their first League Cluster Meet at La Mirada park in La Mirada, where Nick Bacerra established his dominance in the Santa Fe League, taking FIRST in 18:18;  Also, turning in their best personal performance this season was Zellie Hudson in 24:26, Sean Mayer in 25:21 and Jeff Zhang in 28:24.  The Bellarmine boys finshed 3rd in their first cluster meet.  The Guards' next outing is set for this Saturday at our own Bellarmine-Jefferson 41st Invitational.
Under the Lights at the Woodbridge Invitational



Under the lights at the Woodbridge Invitational on a brand new course, The Great Park of Orange County, Nick Bacerra was the only boy who competed and represented Bellarmine-Jefferson well, he ran a personal best for the season with a time of 16:55.  Nick finished 22nd in a race of 250 seniors.  Up next is the team's first league meet on Wednesday at La Mirada Park followed by our own Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational on Saturday.   

Cool Running at the Race by the Bay

This weekend at the race by the bay, the cooler temperatures led Nick Bacerra to a season PR of 18:31, placing him 6th out of 241 runners.  The grueling course was no match for Nick, even through the sandy beach and dunes, where he made his move from about 16th place working his way up to a final sixth place.  Jeff Zhang, had an impressive finish on the last 300 meters on the track.  The Guards next meet is this Friday at the Woodbridge Invitational at the the Great Park in Irvine. 


Quint Meet At Pierce College, hosted by Burbank High School 

Burbank 32

Valencia 44

Granada Hills 45

Cleveland 110

Bell-Jeff NS

This week the Guards raced at Pierce College on a hot and dry day.  the race was won by Enrique Vizcaino of Burbank in 15:55, followed by Christian Cucuta of Granada Hills in 16:06.  The first Guard finisher was Nick Bacerra with a time of 18:46, achieving his initial goal of running 18's.  In the freshman race, Zellie Hudson was top Guard, in the JV race Edric Orta was the top finisher in 25:26.  Other Guards conquering the tough Pierce course was AJ Perez, Sean Mayor, Filip Sahagun and Leon Magnus Mallillin.  The Guards next meet is this Saturday at Morro Bay.

To contact Coach Couch with question please email:

2014 Boys  Cross Country Team

Cross Town Rival Time Trial

On Wednesday September 3rd the Guards competed in a time trial with Providence High School, where Nick Bacerra ran wire to wire with senior Lalo Fischer of Providence.  Nick ran 15:34 finishing second, with a host of other Guards finishing right behind Nick, Edric  Orta 25:29, Sean Mayor 25:49 and Norberto Duga 24:32.  The Guards' next meet is on Wednesday September 10th at Pierce College at 2pm.
Race Times


GFS- 4:00


GV/JV- 5:00

BV- 5:30

Fielding a full team seems to be an annual issue for the Guards, who appear to have just enough runners this year.

“Our goal every year is to have a full squad,” Guards Coach Jim Couch said. “I think the kids want a little more and so do I. We’d like to return this team to where it was in the past, which is competing for league titles. I think we can do that this year.”

The Guards were not a contender within the Santa Fe League last year, but hope is eternal for a squad that will turn to Nick Becerra.

Bell-Jeff’s likely No. 1 runner has had a solid summer and recently logged 70 miles in Mammoth. Couch believes Becerra can get into the high 15-minute mark at Mt. SAC.

“I expect him to dip into that area,” Couch said, “but the exciting thing is that we have other guys who have shown promise.”

Couch is particularly looking forward to seeing the growth of junior Peter Switzer, son of former Hoover High Coach Greg Switzer, who also impressed up in Mammoth.

Outside of those two runners, Couch has a pair of exchange students he believes will turn out to be pleasant surprises.

“I think we’re going to really be able to compete, I really do,” Couch said. “We’ll see how it goes.”


Greetings. We would like to invite all BJHS athletes to join us on our annual Mammoth Cross Country training trip for 2014. The success rate from this trip will depend on parental support. Coaches would like to focus on training our athletes during the duration of the trip. We have secured a condo in Mammoth that will house all individuals. The condo has 4 bedrooms, loft, kitchen, and 3 bathrooms. The facility also has a pool, 3 hot tubs, sauna, laundry facility, and BBQ grills.


Facility Location:                              Cost for trip: $225.00           

1849 Condos

826 Lakeview Blvd

Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546

Departure to Mammoth:

Sunday, July 27, 2014 (leave from Bellarmine-Jefferson at 9:00am)

Return back: ,

Sunday, August3, 2014 (arrive late afternoon to evening)

Weather in Mammoth can change constantly. In the past years we have seen wind, rain, and coldness. At night the temperature may drop to the mid 40’s to 50’s. Usually it is dry and warm during the day (70’s to 80’s). The temperature can be warm or cold. PLEASE BE PREPARED FOR THE WEATHER CHANGES! ! ! !

Mammoth checklist:

1. Personal Gear – Please keep it to one sport bag plus daypack to take into the car.

2. RUNNING GEAR – SHOES, SHORTS, SHIRTS, SOCKS (pack plenty of changes)

3. Towels (to wipe sweat)

4. Toiletries (personal hygiene)

5. Bathing Suit (Not boxers)

6. Shorts (casual)

7. Pants (Jeans)

8. Short and Long sleeved shirts (for the night)

9. Jacket

10. Sandals (Flip flops to wear around the pool or inside condo)

11. Hat (baseball cap okay)

12. Sunscreen Lotion (SPF 50 and higher)

13. Chap Stick (with SPF – it gets dry in Mammoth)

14. Body Lotion (dryness)

15. Books, Magazines

16. Camera

17. Energy Bars – power bars, balance bars, luna bars, etc.

18. Flashlight (extra batteries)

19. Fishing Gear (optional)

20. Inhalers and medicine (motion sickness – consult with your parent)

Bring Extra Money:

All week in town and nights out. (Maybe one night or two)

Laundry and video games (Athletes may bring their video consoles)

Although all food will be provided at the condos, athletes do enjoy buying treats or playing video games. Please bring extra spending money to cover your needs. 

  1. Edric Orta
  2. Nick Becerra
  3. A.J. Perez
  4. Sean Mayor
  5. Mike Lopez
  6. Norberto Duga
  7. Esteban Vigen
  8. Phillippe Sahagun
  9. Jeff Zhong
  10. Eiden On
  11. Daniel Grande
  12. Christion Ramos
  13. Zillie Hudson
  14. Grayson Goss
For the most current information 





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