Pirates Compete in State Cross Country Meet

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.

January 19, 2024

Morro Bay High School’s Cross Country season came to a close at the State Meet in Clovis at the end of November, and while the teams had a great season none of the runners took home State honors. But there were some excellent performances.

Senior, Otis Kelly, who was the top Pirates boy’s runner all season, made the State Meet as an individual when the team’s season ended at the CIF Sectionals. 

Kelly finished the Div. 4 race in 26th place and out of the medal hunt. Still, first-year head coach, Jennifer Frere said his time of 16:01.8 landed him “fourth on the all time top-performers list for MBHS.”

It’s a distinction that places him among the all-time best runners in one of the best prep cross country programs in the State. Isaiah Festa, a 3-time State Champion, twice in Cross Country, and once in track (3200m), is the Pirates’ No. 1 all time runner.

In that Div. 4 race, the winner was Emmanuel Perez of Cathedral H.S., who ran the 3-mile Woodward Park Course in 14:45.5. The Div. 4 boy’s race had 203 runners and it was St. Francis of La Cañada that won the State Championship.

For the MBHS Girls, the team finished 19th and the freshmen led the squad. 

The Morro Bay High Girls’ Cross Country Team finished 19th in the Div. 4 State Meet. Shown here after the meet are from left: Asst. Coach Jackie Wilson, Shelby Taylor, Wendy Wilson, Astrid Barnett-Davis, Noleena Fahy, Coach Jennifer Frere, and Asst. Coach Adam Massini. Photo courtesy MBHS Cross Country

Ocean League Champion, Shelby Taylor continued her dash through the CIF Playoffs finishing 22nd in the Div. 4 race, out of 195 runners.

Taylor was, “The fastest MB freshman ever,” Coach Frere said, “and fourth on the all-time top performers list for MBHS.” The best of all time MBHS runners is Coach Frere (nee Lacovara), who won the State Cross Country Championship when she was at Morro Bay High School on this same Woodward Park course.

Six Morro Bay High Cross Country runners competed in the recent State Cross Country Meet. They were left to right: Mia Bennett, Noleena Fahy, Astrid Barnett-Davis, Lily Buller, Shelby Taylor, and Otis Kelly. Photo courtesy MBHS Cross Country

Morro Bay senior, Mia Bennett was 108th, clocking 20:55.3; and freshman, Lilith Buller was 143rd (21:54.4). Senior Noleena Fahy was 161st (22:12.4); and sophomore, Astrid Barnett-Davis was 182nd (25:42.4).

Junipero Serra Catholic H.S. of San Mateo won the Div. 4 State Championship. There were 197 runners in the Div. 4 girls’ race.

State Champion was Chiara Dailey of La Jolla H.S., who clocked 17:09.2 for the 3-mile course.

The girl’s team will lose just two runners to graduation and should have an even better showing next year.

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