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SAN DIEGO – Montana is not big enough to hold Makena Morley’s talents.

The Bigfork junior finished eighth Saturday at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships at – coincidentally – Morley Field in Balboa Park.

The three-time Montana Class B champion finished the 5-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 43 seconds. Morley was the fourth junior to cross the finish line.

Senior Tessa Barrett of Abington Heights High School in Waverly, Pa., won the race in 17:16 under sunny skies in 75-degree weather.

“It was two loops,” Morley said of the course. “It was probably a little harder than the state course in Missoula.”

Morley, who won the regional meet last week, said she had her sights set higher.

“I was little bit bummed,” she said. “I came in with the goal of winning, but I did best I could do.”

Morley, who placed ninth as a freshman and 23rd as a sophomore at the national meet, said she stayed relaxed on the first loop with plans on making a move the second time around.

“On the first loop I got to know the course a little bit,” she said. “On the second loop I was planning on making a move, but that wasn’t really happening.”

Morley said she was happy for the opportunity to run at nationals for the third straight year.

“It’s awesome to be able to run against all these girls and see how I do against all of them,” Morley said.

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​Reach the Missoulian newsroom at @missoulian, at or at (406) 523-5240

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