Bigfork High School graduate and University of Colorado senior Makena Morley saved the best cross country race of her career for her very last one, crossing the line in eighth place at the NCAA Division I Championships in Madison, Wisconsin on Nov. 17, helping the Buffaloes win the national title.
Morley was the second Buffaloes finisher to cross the line, covering the 6K course in 20:00.01, less than 20 seconds behind her teammate and race champion Dani Jones. Morley was one of six Colorado runners to earn All-America honors as the Buffs won their first team title since 2004 and improved on third-place finishes the last two seasons.
For Morley, the eighth-place performance was far and away the best showing of her four races at the NCAA championships, and her first All-American effort (the top 40 finishers are named All-Americans). She finished 97th as a freshman at the University of Montana, then was 43rd and 50th, respectively, as a sophomore and junior at CU. In three years at Colorado, Morley earned All-Pac 12 Conference honors twice and was a three-time all-region performer.
Morley will still have more races to prepare for as she and her teammates will begin the track and field season in a matter of weeks. Because she redshirted after transferring from UM, Morley still has two seasons of eligibility remaining on the track and will look to build on her 2018 outdoor season when she qualified for the NCAA finals in the 10,000 meters.