Morro Bay Invitational cross country meet brings in 40 schools from across the state

By Neil Farrell

NORTH COUNTY — Templeton and Paso Robles high schools left big marks on this year’s Morro Bay Invitational cross country meet in Morro Bay, with one Eagle winning the boy’s race and a Lady Bearcat crossing third in the girl’s race.

Held Sept. 10 at the high school by the beach, the Morro Bay Invitational drew some 40 schools from across California, including powerhouse North County programs.


Templeton High School junior Joshua Bell led the boy’s race wire-to-wire as he took an early lead through the campus portion of the 3-mile course, and out onto the sands of Morro Strand, by far the toughest going in the school’s challenging cross country course.

Bell clocked a blistering 14 minutes, 53.6 seconds to take home the first-place medal. There were 206 runners in the boy’s race this year. And while the meet doesn’t keep team scores, it does hand out medals to the top 15 finishers in each race.

Bell’s time left second-place finisher Josiah Delgadillo, of Clovis High, far behind as Delgadillo, also a junior, crossed the finish line in 15:18.4. Those two harriers were the only ones to medal this year from the North County. Atascadero High didn’t bring its varsity teams to the meet but did compete in the JV races.

Other top runners for Paso Robles and Templeton were: Brian Arndt (34th, 17:15.6) and Tristan Poggi (35th, 17:16.8) of PRHS; Nicholas Jansen (57th, 17:58.6) and Nikita Norton (68th, 18:15.7) of THS; Joseph Martinez (18:25.2), Bishop Morsette (18:28.9), Fernando Perez (19:06.1) and Ethan Castelli (19:08.3) of PRHS; and, JD Black (19:18.7), Mason Mudgett (19:57.7), Cohen Wallace (19:59.6) and Carter Harding (20:53.6) of THS. Tony Van of Paso Robles rounded out the North County runners (23:04.0).

In the girl’s race, also a 3-mile course, a top runner from last year’s state meet ran away from the pack and also led wire-to-wire. Nicole Bridges, a junior from Liberty High in Bakersfield, clocked 18:28.2 to win going away. A junior, Bridges last year finished in the top 10 at the state meet.

Among the local kids, PRHS’s Sydney Moore finished third, in 19:17.0; THS’s Taylor Sutton was 11th (20:25.5) to earn a medal, with Kalani Gaviola of PRHS placing 20th (20:53.0).

Also competing were: Kelsey Hammond of PRHS (22:30.9); Melissa Chavez (22:36.2) and Maya Guiterrez (22:46.2 ) of THS; Kylie Troy (PRHS, 23:34.3); Kayla Helmle (23:40.3) and Kyla Schwartz (24:14.7) of THS; and Lila Weatherly (24:22.3) and Samantha Aguilar (24:48.8) of Paso Robles.