SAN DIEGO — Bigfork junior Makena Morley finished in eighth place at the 35th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships on Saturday, completing the 5-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 43 seconds to earn All-America status for a second time in her career.
Morley, a three-time Class B state cross country champion, finished in a tight pack of runners behind the lead group. The four runners that placed from sixth to ninth crossing the finish line at the same time.
Morley was the third finisher from the West region, which she won a week ago, finishing four seconds behind Califonia’s Anna Maxwell and a shoulder behind Utah’s Lucy Biles, who was the pace setter early on.
The Northeast region dominated the race, Pennsylvania’s Tessa Barrett winning the national championship by 10 seconds, sprinting through the line in 17:16. Connecticut’s Hannah DeBalsi was second and New York’s Anoush Shehadeh fourth.
This was the third trip for Morley, and her highest finish. She was ninth in 17:40 her freshman year in 2011, also earning All-America honors, and 24th last season.
Michigan’s Grant Fisher won the boys race.
No other Montana athletes participated in the race.
The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships is comprised of four regional 5k races, which took place across the country in the Midwest (Kenosha, Wis.), Northeast (Bronx, N.Y.), and South (Charlotte, N.C.) on Nov. 28, with the West (Walnut, Calif.) on Dec. 7, culminating in the national finals on Saturday. The pre-race and race footage can be viewed online at footlockercc.com.
Flathead’s Zoe Nelson won this race in 2002.