After yet another magnificent cross country season, Bigfork runner Makena Morley did more than just make the headlines around the state of Montana. Her utter dominance at the State B meet in Missoula two weekends ago earned her a mention on the national scale.
In Sports Illustrated no less.
Morley, a junior at Bigfork High School, led off the Faces in the Crowd section on Page 24 in the November 11th edition of the magazine (that’s the one with David Ortiz and the Boston police officers on its cover) after she destroyed the all-classification state cross country meet record with a time of 16 minutes, 35.31 seconds.
On Oct. 26 at Missoula’s University of Montana Golf Course, Morley ran the fastest time ever by a Montana high school girl at the state meet, breaking the old record by an astonishing 15 seconds on her way to her third straight state championship. She is only the second girl to finish below the 17-minute mark for the three-mile race, joining previous record holder Zoe Nelson, who ran her speediest time (16:50) for Kalispell Flathead in 2002.
Morley is also a three-time winner of the Mountain West Classic cross country race, held annually at the same Missoula course. She set the record there this September with a 16:43.42, at the time her own personal record as well.
The meet regularly draws hundreds of competitors from several states in the region to Missoula and is the largest prep cross country meet in the state.
And on top of all that, Morley is a two-time winner of the Gatorade high school runner of the year award for Montana. She will likely become a three-time winner when the 2013 awards are announced soon.