Pirates Host Annual 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.

September 26, 2022

Morro Bay High’s Cross Country teams hosted the Annual Morro Bay Invitational on Sept. 10 welcoming some 40 schools from all over California with new courses designed to challenge even the best harriers, in a traditional kickoff to the season that dates back to the 1970s.

Pirates Coach Chuck Ogle thanked the people who turn out year after year to help with the mega-meet. “Counting the Morro Bay Pirates,” he said, “40 high schools participated in the meet. Once again, we had wonderful volunteer support from parents, alumni and community members. I’m very happy that ‘Mr. Lightning’ stayed away, as a meet of this scale would be impossible to reschedule.”

(His Mr. Lightning reference was to a freaky tropical weather system that blew in Friday night with lightning and some rain. The light show in the sky Friday night forced an early halt to the school’s Varsity football game with Fresno High, with the game being called and the Pirates ahead on the scoreboard for the win.)

“Our invitational is a non-scoring meet,” Coach Ogle said, “meaning no team awards are given. It is, however, highly competitive. The Top-15 in each race earned medals. This year, we introduced middle school races, which followed the high school races.”

Junior, Joshua Bell of Templeton took the boys Varsity race, covering the 2.63-mile course in 14-minutes and 53.6-seconds. Junior, Josiah Delgadillo of Clovis High was second in 15:18.4.

Morro Bay’s top runner was junior, Otis Kelly, who was 61st in the 206-runner race. Second among the Pirates was sophomore, Eli Waldman in 18:57.1. Junior, Michael Pascual ran 21:29.1 and sophomore Orion Rea clocked 27:13.5.

Of note, Coast Union senior Oliver Trujillo ran 23:03.3 and senior Luke Smith in 23:15.8.

Coach Ogle said his No. 1 runner, Michael Carbajal and No. 3, Jack Walker missed the meet.

In the Girls Varsity Race, junior Nicole Bridges of Liberty Union, who was a State Meet medalist last year, ran away with the race, leading from wire to wire and posting an 18:28.2 time. Second place went to Madera South junior, Jimena Rivera in 19:11.8, with third place going to Paso Robles senior, Sydney Moore in 19:17.

Morro Bay had but two runners in the race with the top Lady Pirate Rheanna Dunton in 21:55.2 and coming in 55th place. Junior Noleena Fahy ran 24:35.9. Again, Morro Bay’s top runner, Annie Wieck was also out with illness.

In the boys JV race, senior Morgan Howland finished first in 17:04.2 with sophomore Cody McNeal of Clovis High second in 17:14.4. Third went to another senior, Juan Ramirez of Madera South in 17:36.8. 

Morro Bay sophomore, Rogelio Castillo ran 29:13.3. Coast Union sophomore Diego Gomez also ran in the race, finishing 31st in 19:20.3.

In the Girls JV race, freshman Amaya Uvalle of Righetti won in 16:32.0, with SLO’s Carly Meeks and Molle Berkeland second and third respectively in 17:09.1 and 17:35.2. Morro Bay’s Astrid Barnett-Davis was fourth in 17:36.2 to earn a medal; and Lady Pirate Antonella Salemi was 10th in 18:05.0. also taking home some hardware.

Of note, this year’s invitational follows a tradition that dates back to 1976, according to MBHS alumnus Larry Newland, who ran cross country and track at MBHS under coach Hal Jackson. Newland said the coach figured that runners in the hot Central Valley would enjoy coming to the cool coast to compete.

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