Varsity Girls Go 1-2-3 in Ocean League Meet; Kelly Takes Varsity Race

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.

October 6, 2023

Morro Bay High School’s cross country teams dominated the Mid-Season Ocean League Meet, winning one varsity race and taking the top spot in the other.

The Pirates traveled to the Elks Event Center (fairgrounds) in Santa Maria to compete in the first big multi-team matchup in the Ocean League on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The Lady Pirates’ Varsity Girls Team took the Top-3 spots individually and the girls won the meet in strong fashion.

On the Boys’ side, Otis Kelly ran to a first-place finish in the boys’ varsity race and the team finished fourth.

Girls Go 1-2-3

Morro Bay swept the top spots in the girls’ varsity race as a trio of talented freshmen shined for the Lady Pirates.

Morro Bay’s speedy freshman, Shelby Taylor, finished first in the girls’ varsity race leading her fellow freshmen and teammates — Wendy Wilson and Lilith Buller — in a win-place-show domination.

Taylor covered the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, and 54.28 seconds to win. Wilson timed 19:13.92, about 10 seconds ahead of Buller, who clocked 19:23.12.

Santa Ynez’ Brooke Phelan was fourth in 19:23.9, with Righetti High’s Amaya Uvalle fifth in 19:29.74.

Junior Mia Bennet was Morro Bay’s fourth runner, taking ninth in 20:49.35. And senior, Noleen Fahey, finished 16th in 22:12.11 to round out Morro Bay’s scoring.

Also running for the Lady Pirates was sophomore, Astrid Barnett-Davis, who was 31st, 23:55.13. The race featured seven league teams and 47 total runners. 

Morro Bay recorded an impressive 29 points to win the meet. Second went to Santa Maria with 64 and third was Righetti with 85 (lowest team score wins). Cabrillo High was fourth (88) and Nipomo was fifth with 105.

Kelly Wins 

In a race that saw each of the Top-5 finishers come from a different school, it was a Pirate that led at the finish.

Morro Bay’s outstanding senior, Otis Kelly, ran off with the boys’ varsity race, timing 16:04.8 over the 3-mile course and 10-seconds ahead of second place finisher, Armando Cervantes of Righetti (16:14.57).

Cabrillo’s Vincente Navarro was third in 16:24.47. Heirberto Lopez of Santa Maria was fourth in 16:33.88 and fifth went to Marcus Napoli of Nipomo in 16:42.24.

Morro Bay’s second runner was Eli Waldman, a junior, who clocked 17:20.23, good enough for 12th place. Next was Lucas McAlpine, a freshman who finished 19th in 17:48.87. Junior Jack Walker was 23rd for Morro Bay in 17:55.94 with sophomore Nathan Fuller the fifth best Pirate (35th, 18:41.2). Morro Bay sophomore, Dominic Holst was right behind Fuller in 36th place at 18:52-flat.

Seventh best Pirate was Maddox Miner (38th, 19:00;19).

Boys’ varsity had eight schools and 55 total runners and Nipomo came out on top with 54 points. Second was Santa Maria at 62 and Righetti was third with 74. Morro Bay had 90 points to take fourth and Orcutt Academy was fifth with 111. 

Boys’ JV

In the boys’ junior varsity race, again over 3 miles, San Luis Obispo’s team took four of the Top-6 spots and ran away with the massive race, which also included teams from the Mountain League — 13 schools and 159 total runners (Mountain League held separate Varsity races). 

SLO’s Nolan Connelly, a junior, won in 16:49.11 with Nipomo’s sophomore Fernando Romero-Angeles second (17:06.58), and sophomore Bryce Bowen of Arroyo Grande third (17:06.98). 

Those three were followed by a trio of SLOHS Tigers — Edgar junior, Martinez Delgado (fourth, 17:10.4), Mason Lebed (fifth, 17:15.43) and Jacob McClure (sixth, 17:19.15).

Morro Bay’s top runners were sophomore, Joaquin Cuellar (42nd, 19:09.35), freshman Abe Gade (44th, 19:13.5) and freshman, Ahti Johnson (61st, 19:50.53). Senior Michael Pascual was 78th in 20:28.99 and Brent Elliott Miranda 84th in 20:50.43.

The Pirates’ Alexander Esparza (90th, 20:58.56) and Emmanuel Rios (91st, 21:01.39) followed each other to the finish line.

SLO scored just 27 points to second place AGHS’ 62. Third went to Atascadero with 105; Paso Robles was fourth with 116 and Templeton fifth with 127. Morro Bay finished 10th.

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