Morro Bay High’s Otis Kelly competes in the 2022 Morro Bay Invitational Cross Country meet. The 2023 meet will be run this Saturday. Photo submitted
A new era begins Saturday for Morro Bay High’s vaunted cross-country program.
New head coach, Jennifer Frere, who won a cross-country State Championship when she was a Pirate, will lead the teams into the new season at the Morro Bay Invitational, set for 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at MBHS’s football stadium.
The Varsity Girls’ race starts at 9:30 a.m. with the Varsity Boys starting at 10.
Junior Varsity Girls will hear the starter pistol fire at 10:30 and JV Boys go at 11.
The Girls’ Frosh race (for true freshmen and novice sophomores) goes at 11:30 and the boys’ frosh race starts at noon.
The varsity and jayvee races are on the school’s 3-mile course and the frosh run a 2-miler. After the high school kids are done, races for middle school runners are scheduled.
Over 30 schools from across California are expected to attend this traditional kick off to the cross-country season and take on one of the more challenging courses anywhere.
Both MBHS courses include lengthy runs through the sand of Morro Strand State Beach and circle the campus’ sports fields, finishing with a sprint around the all-weather track before the cheering crowd.
Morro Bay’s Cross-Country Program began in 1967 and is the most decorated of the school’s many sports programs, which include at least three individual State Champions. Coach Frere, nee: Lacovara, is one of them along with 2-time State Champ Isaiah Festa.
Over the years, the Pirates and Lady Pirates have won numerous League Championships, had numerous League Champions, CIF winners and State medalists and the teams have also placed at State and CIF, though a State Team Championship remains a future goal. Morro Bay could be considered a regular CIF and State qualifier.