Cross Country (Girls)

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Great start for the Lady Guards Cross-Country team at the Cool Breeze Invitational, beating 5th ranked Brentwood High School and the defending champions of the Camino Real League, St. Paul's.  The Guards finished 10th overall but was the top Division 5 school in the race.  They were led by Caitlyn Couch, finsihing 7th at 18:46, followed closely by Valerie Zavala at 19:31, Dalila Rincan finished in 21:24, Claire Borot finished in 21:43 and Cosette Balmy rounded off the top 5 in 23:44; 6th and 7th for the team were Victoria Ramos and Sarah Julien.  Suejean Gallego had a great finish in the Freshman race in 26:11.  The Guards will be travelling to Morro Bay this next Saturday. 

Guards return 3 of the top 10 in league from last year, Dalila Rincan who finished 9th, Valerie Zavala who finished 2nd and Caitlyn Couch who was the League Champion.  The team looks to be very strong even with the change in League from Santa Fe to Camino Real.  The new league consists of Cantwell Sacred Heart, Mary Star, Pomona Catholic and St. Monica.  With the new addition of Claire Borot and the improvement of Adaleigh Ramos the team should be looking for another League Title.

Once again the team had a successful 8 days of altitude training at Mammoth Lakes this summer.  The team not only put in some mileage but also incorporated cross training of swimming and biking.  Take a look at some of the photos in the photo album.

The Guards look forward to defending their Team Championship at this years Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational which is scheduled for Saturday September 24th, come and support these ladies.

T's down to two cross-country programs that will represent the city of Burbank at the CIF State Championships on Saturday at Fresno's Woodward Park.

Burroughs High will have its boys' team and sophomore Emily Virtue competing as an individual, while Bellarmine-Jefferson will be represented by Valerie Zavala.

Like Virtue, Bell-Jeff sophomore Zavala will also be a one-girl team when she kicks off local action at 10:40 a.m. in the girls' Division V race.

Zavala turned in arguably the race of her life as the Guards' usual No. 2 runner was first for her squad at the Division V finals and 14th overall in 20:12.7.

Zavala ended up grabbing the fourth of five at-large individual bids to state, much to the surprise of her coach, Jim Couch.

"That's why we do what we do. You run the races and sometimes you get results like these," Couch said. "That's our reward as a coach, to see these kids progress and move on. It's great to have a representative from our school in the state meet."

Zavala had finished runner-up to teammate Caitlyn Couch in both the Santa Fe League finals (19:04.1) at Santa Fe Dam on Nov. 4 and at the Division V preliminaries (25th, 20:39.9) at Riverside City Cross Country Course on Nov. 14 before jumping ahead of her fellow sophomore to advance to state.

"The only thing I told Valerie is that it's an accomplishment making it there and you just have to do what you naturally do, which is just run it like a normal race," Jim Couch said. "I'm excited for her."


Andrew J. Campa,

Burroughs boys' cross-country, Virtue, Zavala advance to state

Bell-Jeff's girls' team, the Santa Fe League champion, missed advancing to the state finals, finishing in 12th place in the Division V race.

Valerie Zavala was the top performer for the Guards, as she was a surprise 14th-place finisher in 20:12.7 to take the last individual qualifying spot and become her school’s first state runner since 2009.

“After last week’s performance, I knew she had to pick up 10 to 20 spots,” said Bell-Jeff Coach Jim Coach of Zavala, who took 25th in the first Division V heat last week in 20.39.9 and was 41st overall. “Fortunately, the race was so fast that a lot of frontrunners dropped off. She was steady throughout the race and being steady helped her move on.”

Caitlyn Couch, the Santa Fe League individual champ and the Guards’ usual top runner, finished 39th at 21:17.4.

Rolling Hills Prep freshman Mazzy Genovese was the individual winner in 18:16.9. Flintridge Prep won its third straight team title with a 24-123 victory over Pacifica Christian.

Bellarmine-Jefferson at CIF Southern Section Division V preliminaries

It’s on to the next round for the Guards, who advanced out of Saturday morning’s division preliminaries at Riverside City Cross Country Course, highlighted by a great effort from sophomore Caitlyn Couch.

Needing to finish in the top eight to advance to the CIF Southern Section final , the Guards did one better by taking seventh with 247 points in the first heat. Area power Flintridge Prep won the event with 32 points.

As for Couch, the reigning Santa Fe League champion placed fourth in a time of 18:51.8, ahead of any other area runner in the same race.

Fellow sophomore Valerie Zavala was the Guards’ No. 2 racer, taking 25th in 20:39.9, while freshman Samantha Geyer placed 42nd in 21:48.8 as Bell-Jeff had three runners finish in the top 50.

Bellarmine-Jefferson cross-country picks up gold, silver

Cross-country: Guards girls romp to victory behind stellar effort from Caitlyn Couch, while Nick Montijo finishes second in Santa Fe League meet.

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.

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.”

Sports Roundup: Bell-Jeff girls' cross-country wins at Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational
The Guards claimed victory in the 42nd rendition of the invitational held at Griffith Park on Saturday morning.

In a field that included some strong programs, Bell-Jeff captured the win in the varsity blue race with 77 points. Bell-Jeff held off Santa Maria St. Joseph (81), Downey Calvary Chapel (104) and Pasadena Poly (106).

Caitlyn Couch paced her squad by placing second in 19 minutes 43 seconds, while teammate Valerie Zavala was fifth in 21 minutes. Samantha Guyer had a strong effort in finishing seventh in 21:21, while Dalila Rincan was 31st (25:28) and Vanessa Smith was 32nd (25:31).

“Boy, it’s been since 2009 since we won anything at our invitational,” Bell-Jeff Coach Jim Couch said. “So, they were pretty excited

The Bellarmine-Jeffrson Cross-Country Teams are off to a great start.  This last week the Guards ran at Central Park, in Santa Clarita against Burbank and Valencia.  In the girls race the lady Guards placed 3 in the top 7 finishers.  The final score was Burbank 37- Valencia 39 and the Guards 47.  Top finisher for the Guards was Caitlyn Couch, who led most of the race and finished 3rd, she was followed by Valerie Zavala in 6th and Samantha Geyer in 7th.  The young Lady Guards moved into Saturday at the Riverside Showcase Invitational, not knowing what to expect.  They ran fantastic finishing 4th in the small schools division, just ahead of Oaks Christian, St. Paul and one of the best teams in Division 5 Pasadena Poly.  The Guards will no doubt be ranked in the top 5 in their Division for this week.  The Lady Guards’ next race will be next week at the Morro Bay Invitational.


After a strong season from his top two runners in 2014, longtime Guards Coach Jim Couch is looking forward to an encore.

Last season, Bell-Jeff finished third in the Santa Fe League behind St. Anthony and St. Pius/Matthias, but produced the league champion in freshman Caitlyn Couch.

The daughter of Jim Couch, Caitlyn cruised to a league title on Nov. 4 at Santa Fe Dam in 18:02.4. Freshman teammate Valerie Zavala also performed well that day, taking third in 19:45.5.

By finishing third in league, the Guards punched their tickets to the following week's Division V prelims, where Zavala flipped the script.

This time the ninth-grader took control as Zavala placed second in her heat of the Division V prelims in 19:29 and earned advancement to the Division V finals. Couch was not as fortunate and her season ended when she took 10th in 20:07.



PREP ROUNDUP: Bell-Jeff’s Caitlyn Couch wins cross country meet


Santa Fe League No. 2 >> Bell-Jeff freshman Caitlyn Couch won the three-mile race at Hollydale Park in South Gate in 18:44.8, helping the Guards place eighth with 177 points. Valerie Zavala was fourth for Bell-Jeff in 20:20.5. St. Genevieve, led by Sami Knecht taking ninth in 21;37.4, placed seventh with 170 points.

Nic Becerra was seventh for Bell-Jeff in the boys race in 17:55.2, as the Guards took eighth with 220 points.



Quoted From the Burbank Leader

Bellarmine-Jefferson in Santa Clarita Invitational: Freshman Caitlyn Couch ran to victory on Saturday at Castaic Lake, claiming first in the Division 3/4 girls' three-mile run.

Couch won in 19 minutes, 59.57 seconds, more than 12 seconds ahead of her nearest challenger.

Freshman teammate Valerie Zavala finished 35th in 23:08.32

The link below is Caitlyn's Race Finish Video



Guards Performance Not What They Expected 

Hot and dusty at the Kenny Staub Invitational  "It was a morning full of victories, top efforts and personal-best times for the six local schools that participated in Saturday’s 47th annual Staub Barnes Invitational at Crescenta Valley Park." 

"Bellarmine-Jefferson’s top two girls also competed in the Division 1 race, with Valerie Zavala taking 22nd (20:46.22) and Caitlyn Couch earning 29th (21:02.62)." 

After a hard week of training the Lady Guards made a valid effort in the Division 1 race and represented Bellarmine-Jefferson well.  The ladies next race will be this Saturday at Castaic Lake at the Santa Clarita Invitational. 



Better, Better and Better 

The Lady Guards keep on improving even after a hard week of running, the lady Guards finished 8th in the 41st Annual Bellarmine-Jefferson Invitational.  The ladies were led by Caitlyn Couch, finishing 2nd with the 5th fastest time in Bell-Jeff history of 19:23, she was once again followed closely by teammate Valerie Zavala in 4th place, the rest of the pack are constantly improving, Alexis, Catherine and Bianca all ran personal bests.  The teams next meet is this Saturday at  the Kenny Staub Invitational at Crescenta Valley Park. 


Rumble in La Mirada

Success, Success, Success....the lady Guards finished 2nd in the Santa Fe League for the first time in 10 years.  Caitlyn Couch put in a stellar performance with a wire to wire win in 19:40, she was followed by Valerie Zavala in 3rd place with a time of 21:37, the other young lady Guards finishing with their own PR were Bianca Singh (33:15), Alexis Pulido (33:51), Catherine Sunpayco (35:50) and Nicole Yegiyantz (36:01).  The Guards next meet 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,   Valerie Zavala and Caitlyn Couch were the girl representatives for Bellarmine-Jefferson High School.  The girls raced in the Freshman White Division amongst 40 + schools ranging from Alemany, Glendale, Monrovia, Palos Verdes, St. Margarets, Alhambra, South Pasadena, La Canada, Oaks Christian and Pomona Catholic, where they completed dominated the race wire to wire.  With 200 meters to go Valerie took over the race to win with a time of 18:36 followed closely by teammate Caitlyn Couch with a time of 18:39.  These times are personal bests for both girls, placing them in the top 10 freshman in Southern California, there were well over 800 freshman racing at this invitational.. The teams next outing is this Wednesday at La Mirada for their first league meet and Bellarmine-Jefferson's own Invitational on Saturday. 

(watch video of girls freshman segment race at the Woodbridge Invitational)


Cool Running at the Race by the Bay

The Lady Guards travelled to cooler climates this weekend racing at the Morro Bay Invitational, showing no fear against the older and more experienced runners.Through the first 800 meters (1/2 mile) a pack of five included Valerie and Caitlyn, running 2:30; continuing through the first mile with a time 5:54 were Caitlyn and Sarah Holloway breaking away from the pack.Eventually Ashley Davis of Paso Robles outkicked both girls running 19:59, Caitlyn finished in 20:31 and teammate Valerie Zavala not far behind finishing with a respectable time 20:52.Both Caitlyn and Valerie were the only 2 freshman to finish in the top 15 out of 500 girls.These young ladies ran extremely well after running in 100+ degree heat on Wednesday at Pierce College.The Lady Guards' next meet will be this Friday at the Woodbridge Invitational.


Quint Meet At Pierce College, hosted by Burbank High School 
1. Grenada Hills 39
2. Burbank 55
3. Valencia 60
4. Bellarmine Jefferson 107
5, Cleveland 120
The Lady Guards raced at Pierce College on a hot and dry day.  The heat and hills at Pierce College proved to be a little much for the young inexperienced lady Guards.  Caitlyn Couch led the race throughout the first mile, followed closely by teammate Valerie Zavala, just before the 2 mile Tessa Weinberg of Granada Hills took the lead from the lady Guards, closely followed by Kaylee Thompson of Valencia High School, the lead changed several times in the last mile, with Kaylee Thompson finishing victoriously, Valerie Zavala finished with a time of  20:23 followed closely by Caitlyn Couch with a time of 20:52.  The first Burbank runner was Kira Bouchard at 21:29.  Bell-Jeff's Alexis Pulido and Bianca Singh conquered the Pierce cross-country course, unfortunately Sarah Julien did not finish the race, due to an injured knee.  The team is back at it this weekend competing in Morro Bay. 

Cross Town Rival Time Trial
On Wednesday September 3rd Bellarmine-Jefferson High School competed in a time trial with Providence High School at Johnny Carson Park.  The girls race was won by freshman sensation Caitlyn Couch with a time of 16:22, shattering Providences' school record of 17:11, Caitlyn was followed by freshman teammate, Valerie Zavala, who ran it in 17:28.  Other finishers in the race were Sara Julien with a time of 25:53 and Bianca Singa.  The Lady Guards' next race is on September 10th at Pierce College at 2pm.  The Guards will be racing against Burbank, Valencia, Granada Hills and Cleveland.


Race Times


GFS- 4:00


GV/JV- 5:00

BV- 5:30


For the first time in years, the Guards will also compete in the same league as the boys, as Bell-Jeff is moving from the Santa Cruz League to the Santa Fe League.

While the squad is likely to struggle in the team standings, individually, there’s much to be excited about with the Guards.

Coach Jim Couch has two incoming freshmen that he believes will make a big impact in Valerie Zavala and Couch’s daughter, Caitlyn Couch.

“We have two girls this year who are going to compete for league titles,” Jim Couch said. “From an age group perspective, they might be the two best in the area.”

Zavala and Caitlyn Couch have a history of facing each other, having been members of competing youth running clubs, but will now join their talents.

Besides the youngsters, Jim Couch also has a solid returner in Alana Liu, a senior who figures to provide the experience and leadership the team lacks.

  1. Caitlyn Couch
  2. Alina Lu
  3. Valerie Zavala
  4. Alexis Pulido
  5. Kai Yu
  6. Biana Singh
  7. Sara Julien
  8. Ariana Tunyan
  9. Nicole Yegiyants




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. Caitlyn Couch
  2. Alina Lu
  3. Valerie Zavala
  4. Alexis Pulido
  5. Kai Yu
  6. Biana Singh
  7. Sarah Julien
  8. Ariana Tunyan
  9. Nicole Yegiyants
   For the most current information 








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