For a list of the other Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year winners, click here.
THE WINNER: Makena Morley
School: Bigfork (Mont.)
Athletic achievement: The state’s returning Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, Morley raced to a second consecutive Class B individual state championship this past season with a time of 18:13.1. She placed third at the Foot Locker West Regional championships in 18:17 and 24th at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 18:11.7. Morley finished unbeaten against Montana runners this past fall, winning all six of her regular-season meets by an average of 1:05.1. She finished ninth at Foot Locker nationals as a freshman in 2011.
Academic excellence: Morley has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom and ranks No. 1 in her graduating class.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering as part of multiple community-service initiatives on behalf of a leadership course, she has donated her time to her team’s annual summer fun run and as a youth athletic instructor.
“She has a great work ethic,” said Bigfork head coach Susan Loeffler. “She’s very strong mentally and physically. Makena runs every race with a lot of confidence, daring others to catch her.”
THE FUTURE: Morley will begin her junior year of high school this fall.