New Coaches at Morro Bay High

Written by Neil Farrell

Neil has been a journalist covering the Estero Bay Area for over 27 years. He’s won numerous journalism awards in several different categories over his career.

July 16, 2023

Morro Bay High will have two new coaches when school starts again in September. 

Athletic Director Tyler Hoyt announced that he’s hired new baseball and cross country coaches, which also marks the return of a legendary MBHS runner.

New Harriers Coach

Cal Poly alumnus and 5-time All American, Jennifer Frere [nee: Lacovara] is the new cross country coach at Morro Bay High School. 
Submitted photos

Jennifer Frere (nee: Jennifer Lacovara), will return to her alma mater to lead the Pirates’ Cross Country teams. If her maiden name sounds familiar, it should. Jennifer Lacovara won a State Cross Country Championship while at Morro Bay High, one of only two female athletes to win a State Title in any sport. (The other was Shayla Ballantine in the pole vault.)

A.D. Hoyt said Frere, “is an experienced runner and Anatomy and Biology teacher at MBHS. She ran Cross Country and Track for MBHS under the direction of Cary Nerelli and won the State Cross Country meet her senior year.

“Her school records for the 1600 meters (5-minutes 7-seconds); 3200m (11:09); and for the Woodward Park course (17:57) still stand today.” The State Cross Country Championships are held the last Saturday in November at Woodward Park, which is in Clovis.

She went on to run for Cal Poly where the Cross Country Team won its 11th straight NCAA Div. II National Championship. 

Her individual accomplishments were many. “She was a 5-time All-American in Cross Country and Track,” A.D. Hoyt said, “with personal bests of 9:45 for the 3000m and 17:04 for the 5000m. Coach Frere is excited to help athletes meet their running goals and build on team successes.”

She’d likely give them a run for their money too. Coach Frere will replace Chuck Ogle, who led the Pirates cross country teams for many years after Coach Nerelli left to coach women’s basketball at Hancock College in Santa Maria. For A.D. Hoyt, it’s special to see a former Pirate coming home.

“As a fellow Morro Bay cross country alumnus,” he said, “I could not be more excited to have one of our own taking the helm for the years to come. This year’s program stands to be very strong, and I look forward to seeing it grow with Coach Frere.”

The Pirates will host their annual Invitational Cross Country Meet on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the high school. Dozens of the top cross country programs in the state will be on hand to take on the challenge of the Pirates’ home course, which includes runs through loose sand onto the beach and features numerous changes in surfaces — from grass, to dirt, artificial track, pavement, sand and back on dirt again. It’s considered one of the toughest cross country courses anywhere.

New Baseball Coach

Former Cal Poly pitcher, Jared Zill, is the new baseball coach at Morro Bay High School.

A.D. Hoyt said he’s hired Jarred Zill as the new head baseball coach. “Jarred is a 2019 Cal Poly Alumnus,” A.D. Hoyt said, “where he played for the Mustangs. He pitched in the weekend starting rotation all four years in college. 

“During his final two years he was the Friday night guy.”

During his career at Cal Poly, Zill pitched 179 innings over 45 appearances; had four seasons of pitching to a 3.50 ERA or lower; and also earned Cal Poly’s “Mike Krukow Outstanding Pitcher Honors” in 2016, Hoyt said.

Over his collegiate career, Zill posted 10 wins and recorded 166 strikeouts, Hoyt said. Now, Zill is one of the owners of a baseball training and instruction company.

“As co-owner of BPA Central,” A.D. Hoyt said, “he delivers elite baseball instruction and training to the area’s youth. Jarred grew up playing elite baseball in the BPA organization as well, starting at age 9.”

Coach Zill credits this early, specialized coaching for his success on the mound.

Zill played baseball at Capistrano Valley High School and graduated in 2014. Cap Valley High is “one of the top programs in the Southern Section” of CIF, Hoyt explained. “During his tenure there, he was in the starting rotation. When he wasn’t pitching, he played third base.” 

After high school, Zill was recruited by San Jose State and San Francisco State Universities but chose Cal Poly.

In 2021, he returned to his alma mater (CVHS) as the pitching coach. But he soon moved back to SLO County, where he married his best friend, Katie, and then opened his own baseball training business.

“Currently,” A.D. Hoyt said, “Jarred coaches youth baseball and provides private baseball lessons. During the summer months, he takes high school level players on a college tour, giving players exposure to coaches and other passionate baseball players.”

Hoyt likes his new coach’s approach to the game. Zill “takes leadership incredibly seriously,” A.D. Hoyt said. “Through baseball, he teaches discipline, respect, and responsibility. He strives for excellence and expects players to do the same in all they do. Baseball is his vehicle to teach players to act responsibly in all facets of their lives.”

He will use baseball to teach about life. “Through lessons from the game,” A.D. Hoyt said, “Coach Zill will guide student athletes to reach their academic goals, to always be a positive example and an elite representation of their school and of themselves.”

The A.D. who when school starts again will begin in his second year leading Pirates’ athletics, said his new baseball coach wants to loop in local youth sports leagues, something he personally believes in too.

“As an athletic director,” A.D. Hoyt said, “Jarred’s capacity to both coach our high school team and foster youth baseball opportunities on the coast is incredibly exciting. I am looking forward to seeing Morro Bay Baseball grow and thrive in the years to come because of this unique capacity.”

On another sports note, A.D. Hoyt said the school’s Girls’ Water Polo Club was planning to go to Italy to play some water polo. The Water Polo Club Team consists of the school’s girl’s water polo players, but competes outside the school’s official team sport.

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