Pirates Win Ocean League; First League Title Since 1974

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.

June 3, 2022

Senior, Phoenix Popp, competing here in the 300M hurdles at the Pirate Relays Meet, won the Ocean League Championship in the 110-meter high hurdles, the 300M intermediate hurdles, and triple jump to lead the Pirates to their first league title in nearly 50 years.

Morro Bay High’s Boys’ Track & Field Team won its first league title in nearly 50 years as senior standout, Phoenix Popp, led the Pirates to the Ocean League Championship, held May 6 at Atascadero High School.

Pirates’ Coach Chuck Ogle said it was the first MBHS Boys’ League Track Championship since 1974, when he was a Pirate. “It’s the first boys league title since yours truly, Jack Smith, Larry Newland, Jeff French and other locals were on the team,” said an enthusiastic Coach Ogle.

The Pirates jumped past their league foes on the strength of their hurdlers.

Sophomore Annie Wieck helped the Lady Pirates to a Third Place finish in the Ocean League. Wieck is shown here competing in the 300M low hurdles at the recent Pirate Relays. She was 
second in the 300 lows at the Ocean League Championships.

Popp scored 36 points for Morro Bay, said Coach Ogle, winning the 110-meter high hurdles in 16.53 seconds; winning the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 42.66; winning the triple jump at 39-feet 3-inches; and placing third in the long jump at 18’-5”.

Junior Aiden Blackwood also helped carry the team, finishing second in the 110 hurdles at 18.45; third in the 300 hurdles at 43.59; second in the high jump at 5’ 4”; and second in the triple jump at 38’-10”. 

Sophomore Heath Jones was third in the 110 hurdles (18.59), while junior Manny Diaz finished fourth (19.03) in the110s and fifth in the 300 hurdles (45.96). 

The versatile Diaz, coach Ogle said, added an eighth place finish in the triple jump at 36’-06”. In the meet, the top-8 place finishers score points for the team in descending order, with first scoring 10 points and eighth one point.

Senior strongman, Jackson Reilly, who was a medalist in last year’s CIF Central Sections Finals, heaved the iron ball 49’ to win the Ocean League shot putt title. Jackson also place fifth in the discus at 111’-11”. 

Junior, Hunter Whitson, who Coach Ogle said “has been coming on strong,” finished third in the discus at 121’-4” and seventh in the shot at 38’-3”.

Senior sprinters, Mitch Carter, Mark Hutchinson, and Camden Steeb teamed up with sophomore Nathan Pech for third place in the 4 x 100 meter relay clocking 45.85. Hutchinson added a seventh place finish in the 100 in 11.69 and was seventh in the triple jump at 36’-07”. 

Carter also notched two individual event scores taking third in the 400 in 54.88 and seventh in the 200 in 24.36. Sophomore, Anthony Frere, scored in the 400 meters (6th in 55.71) and added a sixth place finish in the 800 at 2:11.75.

Distance runner Michael Carbajal scored in both of the meet’s distance events finishing seventh in the 3200 at 11:03.51 and eighth in the 1600 at 4:49.78.

With its runners and throwers doing outstanding, Coach Ogle said the Pirates’ strength rests in their vertical game.

The Pirates “sealed the deal with an overwhelming show of force in the vertical jumps — a traditional area of strength for the team,” he said.

Freshman Liam Burton was fourth in the high jump at 5’; senior Camden Steeb tied for fourth at 5’; and Anthony Frere, who also cleared 5’ but finished sixth on misses; and Nathan Pech was seventh at 4’-10”, as the Pirates virtually owned the event on this day.

They also dominated the pole vault. Sophomore Nathaniel Ruddell led the way in the pole vault, taking second at 9’-06”. Following were Burton (third at 9-06”), Steeb (fourth at 9’-06”), Pech (fifth at 7’06”), senior Nick Gray (sixth at 7’), freshman Eli Waldman (seventh at 6’06”) and Heath Jones (eighth at 6’06”).

The Pirates racked up 180.5 points to win the title. Runners up Mission Prep scored 146, followed by Templeton (94), Atascadero (77), Orcutt Academy (42), St. Joseph (38) and Santa Maria (34.5)

The Lady Pirates had a good meet as well, taking third place scoring 121 points. Atascadero High won the meet with Templeton taking second.

Senior star and Chico State bound, Ava Burton, led the way, winning the pole vault with a personal best of 10’-9”; finishing second in the triple jump (32’-09.5”) and the long jump (15’-06”); and taking fifth in the 100-meter low hurdles (20.23). 

Burton scored 30 points on the day, and was followed closely by sophomore, Annie Wieck’s tally of 29. Wieck won the 400-meters in 63:01; finished second in the 300-hurdles at 52.35; third in the triple jump at 31’-4.5”; and was fourth in the high jump at 4’-9”.

Coach Ogle said seniors, Shaylee Sargent and Leah St. Arnaud, each scored in three events. Sargent was third in the pole vault clearing 7’-6”; eighth in triple jump at 27’-7.5”; and was eighth in the long jump at 13’-9’. St. Arnaud medaled in the 100 hurdles (20.36); the high jump (fifth at 4’-4”; and fourth in the pole vault at 7’-6”.

Senior, hurdler Hana Yoneyama, finished second in the 100-lows at 18.61 and sixth in the 300s in 55.92, and event that was new to her this year, the coach said.

The Pirates also got great performances out of their freshmen athletes.

“Our enthusiastic and talented ninth grade class contributed across the board,” Coach Ogle said. 

Frosh Lilah Green, Fatima Martinez and Emily Giordano teamed with senior Jessica Chavez to take fifth in a fast 4 x 100 meter relay clocking 54.09. Green also placed eighth in the 100 (13.86) and sixth in the pole vault (6’06”). 

Giordano took fifth in the 400 (68.03); was third in the 300 hurdles (52.96); and finished sixth in the pole vault at 6’. 

Mia Bennett finished fifth in the 1600 (6:01.41) and sixth in the 800 (2:47.59). Rheanna Dunton wrapped up the scoring with a seventh place finish in the 3200 breaking the tape at 14.07.14).

Doing a bit of reminiscing, Coach Ogle reflected back on the track teams and the glory days of the early 1970s.

“The 1974 Los Padres Athletic League title was the fourth championship in a row for the Pirates,” he said. “Members of the ‘74 team included [per the collective memory of some community elders] Jack Smith, Larry Newland, and sprint legend Randy Reed, [whose 100-meter school record of 10.80 set in 1973 still stands]. The 1974, MBHS Athlete of the Year, Allen Peterson [who held the mile and 1-mile school records for years], myself, Ken Peters, Jeff French, Marin Patague.”

Others included, “David McConaghay, David Legg, Chris Brown, Robin Brown, Ernie Sites, Sam Pentz, Rick Albro, Sam Boyd, Max Dishen, Joe Baldwin, Mike Sweeney, Russ Caldwell, Roy Schellenger, Carl Meyers, Gary Reaney, Jeff Savage, John Moltzner, Allen Knowles and Tracy Dillon.”

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