Makena Morley, a junior at Bigfork High School, will be one of 80 boys and girls competing today in the 35th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego.
The girls 5,000-meter race is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. (MST) on Morley Field at Balboa Park.
The boys race follows at 11 a.m.
Both events will be streamed live at www.footlockercc.com.
This marks Morley’s third trip to the championships. She finished ninth as a freshman, but slipped to 24th last year.
Morley won the Foot Locker West Regional last weekend in California with a time of 18 minutes, 6 seconds. Her margin of victory was 20 seconds.
The top 10 finishers from the four regionals held around the U.S. qualified for today’s race.
“I think mentally and physically she’s ready,” Bigfork cross country/track coach Sue Loeffler said.
“She knows what she has to do and understands what she has to do to accomplish that.”
Loeffler said Morley’s youth and inexperience cost her dearly at last year’s Foot Locker Championships.
“She went out too hard,” Loeffler said.
“She has some things she wants to straighten out from last year.”
Loeffler said Morley turned in a phenomenal performance at the West Regional and expects that to carry over to the championships.
“She’s confident in what she has to do and how to do it,” Loeffler said.
“She doesn’t let other people influence how she runs now. She has that maturity.”
Montana has had just one high school girl win the Foot Locker Championships — Zoe Nelson of Flathead High School in 2002.
Morley has already broken many of Nelson’s state cross country records for time.
“I just want her to run as well as she’s capable of,” Loeffler said for today. “Whatever happens, happens. I was excited to watch her run at regionals. I can’t wait to see her run now.”