Bigfork’s inimitable Makena Morley raced across the finish line in sixth place in the 5,000-meter run at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships Saturday in Austin, Texas, her second All-American effort of the competition and the seventh of her career.
Morley, one of the most decorated prep runners in Montana history, ran Saturday’s 5K in 16:02.89, just 12 seconds behind teammate and race winner Dani Jones, to claim First Team All-America accolades. Two days earlier, Morley ran the 10K in 33:39.27 to finish 11th and land on the All-America second team. The top eight finishers in each event at the season-ending meet earn a spot on the All-America first team, with the next eight on the second team.
Five of Morley’s seven career All-America finishes have come this school year. She finished eighth in cross country to help the Buffaloes win the national championship last fall, and was seventh in the indoor 5K and sixth in the indoor 3K in March. Morley was 11th in the 10K at last year’s outdoor national finals and 14th in the indoor 5K in 2017.
A 2015 Bigfork High School graduate, Morley was named the Gatorade Montana Cross Country Runner of the Year four times and won four consecutive Class B state titles, smashing the all-class state record along the way. She also won five track and field titles, including the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 as a junior.
Morley began her college career at the University of Montana before transferring to Colorado after one semester in Missoula. She qualified for the NCAA National Championships in cross country four times, including as a freshman for the Griz, and has exhausted her eligibility in that sport. She does have one additional year of eligibility in both indoor and outdoor track.