Cross Country

Morley Finishes 93rd at NCAA Nationals

Bigfork graduate Bryn Morley helps Northern Arizona to highest finish in more than a decade

By Micah Drew
Bigfork's Bryn Morley leads the pack at the state cross country championships at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell on Oct. 22, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Northern Arizona University (NAU) junior Bryn Morley finished 93rd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday in Stillwater, Oklahoma, her highest finish at the national meet.

The Bigfork graduate finished as the fourth Lumberjack across the line, covering the six-kilometer course in a time of 21:28.

Alabama junior Mercy Chelangat won the womens race with a time of 20:01. Oklahoma State sophomore Taylor Roe, in 20:06, was second. Alabama sophomore Amaris Tyynismaa, in 20:10, was third.

Brigham Young University (BYU), with three runners in the top fifteen, easily ran away with the team title, scoring 96 points to second place North Carolina State’s 161. Stanford finished third.

The Lumberjack women finished 11th with 318 points, three spots higher than in 2019.

“Two years ago, we hadn’t been to this meet in a decade, then 14th last year, and 11th this year; we’re moving the needle at NAU women’s cross country,” NAU head coach Mike Smith said in a statement. “It’s not just about the men here we have a special group of athletes that are really making their mark in the history of NAU women’s cross country.”

In the men’s 10k race, NAU won their fourth national championship in five years, after losing the title to BYU in 2019.

The No. 2 ranked Lumberjacks placed four runners in the top ten en route to scoring 60 points, the lowest team score since 2005. Finishing in a surprising second was No. 9 Notre Dame followed by host school Oklahoma State.

BYU junior Connor Mantz won the individual title in 29:26, making him the first American to win the Division I Cross Country meet since Oregon’s Galen Rupp in 2008.

In the women’s race, Morley finished five spots behind Billings West graduate and Stanford senior Christina Aragon. Another Montanan, Belgrade graduate Pipi Eitel, finished 195th for the Lumberjacks.

The three Montanans account for 31 individual state titles in track and cross country across Class AA, A and B.

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