A dedicated ESPNHS team managed the Gatorade State Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year selection process, resulting in winners based on the program's three pillars: athletic production and impact in the 2011 season, high academic achievement and exemplary personal character.
THE WINNER: Makena Morley
School: Bigfork (Mont.)
Athletic achievement: Morley raced to the Class B individual state championship this past season with a time of 17:44.32. Ranked No. 22 on the ESPNHS DyeStat Cross Country Top 25 series, she placed third at the Foot Locker West Regional championships in 18:07 in addition to finishing ninth at the national Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in 17:39.1, capturing Second Team All-American honors. Morley also won the Flathead Invitational, Mountain West Classic and Capital City 7 on 7 this past fall.
Academic excellence: Morley has maintained a 4.00 GPA in the classroom.
Exemplary character: In addition to volunteering as part of multiple community-service initiatives as part of a leadership class, 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, mental and physical toughness, and an unbelievable mindset for each race,” said Bigfork head coach Susan Loeffler. “She runs to win every race, so she knows she has competed the best she can when the race is over, and she’s confident in her ability.”
THE FUTURE: Morley will begin her sophomore year of high school this fall.