From many, there will be one. And while there’s still no guarantee contending athletes will win their own state at this point in the season, a number of elite performers are making a case for Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year consideration. Here’s the scoop on the latest top candidate.
Junior, Bigfork (Mont.)
Greatness Present: Even in the moments following a record-setting performance at the state meet, Makena Morley WAS already thinking about her next goal.
“I knew I still had one more year to maybe get the state record, but to get it this year is awesome,” the Bigfork junior told NBC Montana after winning a third straight Class B title with a meet-record time of 16:35.31, “and hopefully I can break my own record next year.”
This year, Morley not only dominated Montana, but blazed trails across the entire Northwest as well. She also set a meet record in winning the Mountain West Classic in 16:43.42 before breaking the tame in the Foot Locker West Regional championships in 18:05.7. Morley also took second in the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest championships in 17:36.
The 5-foot-4 harrier skipped the Nike Cross Nationals final to focus on the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego earlier this month, where she finished eighth among 39 competitors in 17:42.4.
Greatness Past: Morley also captured Class B individual state championships as a freshman and sophomore, qualifying for Foot Locker nationals in each of her first two prep cross country campaigns.
Her trophy case also includes three individual outdoor track and field gold medals, as she swept the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at the 2012 state meet as a freshman.
Greatness Future: Morley will be a senior next year and remains undecided upon her collegiate destination.
Make no mistake: The Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year races aren’t over, and the National ROY race is now heating up. Time remains for one standout student-athlete among thousands to rise to the top of our list.Check back for daily updates on the top contenders making their case.