The Morro Bay High girls cross country team was well aware that Wednesday was the first time in seven years it would be able to host the Los Padres League finals.
Running on their home course — the site for the meet annually cycles through the LPL’s seven schools — the Pirates rose to the occasion, winning the league championship with 34 points.
“For the girls to step up and take full advantage of this opportunity is rewarding,” Morro Bay coach Cary Nerelli said.
Competing on a course shortened to 2.6 miles, Morro Bay got top-10 performances from Rachael Jelstrom (second at 17 minutes, 36 seconds), Macey Burgeson (fourth, 17:59), Rylie Fee (eighth, 18:18) and Ashley Fisher (ninth, 18:20).Templeton junior Savannah Camacho easily won individually in 16:28 to claim her third straight LPL title.
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Camacho, the highest profile overall runner at the meet, closed out last year’s track and field season by running the fifth-fastest 800-meter time in the nation, placing second at the state championships in that event. She opened this year’s cross country campaign by winning all five events she appeared in before the end of September.
Nipomo freshman Kyra Meko finished third at 17:48.
Santa Ynez was second in the girls team standings with 73 points, followed by Cabrillo (92) and Nipomo (105), each of whom also qualified for the CIF-Southern Section divisional preliminaries at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut on Nov. 13.
“I thought the girls showed a lot of character and determination putting away the league with as much emphasis as they did,” Nerelli said. “We hope to use this race as a springboard to propel us to running fast at Mt. SAC. The division is loaded this year, and we’re going to have to run well to make it to the finals.”
Templeton was fifth with 107 points, trailed by Lompoc (108) and Santa Maria (213). It was the first time in program history Nipomo moved on to the prelims.
On the boys side, Cabrillo won with 22 points, while Morro Bay was second with 78. Santa Ynez (95) and Lompoc (101) also advanced, while Santa Maria placed fifth (131), followed by Templeton (132) and Nipomo (162).
Cabrillo’s Joel Velazquez won the boys race in 14:08.
San Luis Obispo County finishers in the top 10 were Bryan Carroll (in seventh, at 14:34) and Mack McGonalgill (eighth at 14:37), both of Morro Bay, and Nipomo’s Sebastian Holleufer (10th at 14:53).