Bigfork's Morley among MHSA Hall of Fame inductees

Jan. 18—The 16th class of inductees into the Montana High School Association's athletic Hall of Fame is set and one thing is clear: This group of seven could really run.

The list includes Makena Morley, a 2015 Bigfork High School graduate who among other things helped Colorado to an NCAA cross country championship and continues to run professionally.

It also includes, in no particular order: Lindsey Hall out of Missoula and Big Sky High; former Deer Lodge standout and current Butte High football coach Arie Grey; and Colstrip product Tuff Harris.

In fact the lone "non-runner" on the list, Havre's Marc Mariani — his spring sport with the Blue Ponies was tennis — made a name for himself outrunning pass coverages and opponents' special teams with the Montana Grizzlies.

The MHSA's release noted Morley's love for running started with her mom, Jill Morley, who got the whole family — including younger siblings Logan and Bryn — into the sport.

Morley won 13 state titles in both track and field and cross country in four years at Bigfork; her nine individual titles in track stand out, along with All-America honors in the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor national two-mile races.

But cross country was Morley's favorite season: A four-time state champion, she held the Montana cross country course record. She qualified for the Footlocker National Championships all four years, and had three top-10 finishes, including a third-place finish in 2015. She also represented team USA in January of 2015 and won the Great Buppa Cross Country Championships in Scotland.

Morley started her collegiate running career at the University of Montana where she qualified for her first NCAA cross country championship in 2015. Morley then transferred to the University of Colorado where she competed from 2016-20.

At Colorado Morley qualified for the NCAA track and field and cross country championships 13 times. In 2018 she helped lead the Buffs to win the NCAA cross country championships, and had her highest cross country finish, placing eighth. The Buffs placed third at the NCAA cross country meet both years prior to their win in 2018.

She set school record in the 10,000 meters with a time of 32 minutes, 28 seconds was in the top 6 all-time list for the indoor track 3,000 meters, indoor 5,000 and outdoor 5,000. Morley graduated in 2020 during the covid pandemic, with a double major in Anthropology and English/creating writing.

She signed a professional running contract with Asics in the summer of 2020 and continues to run professionally. She has qualified for two US Olympic trials; racing the 10,000 meters in 2021. She will race in the USA Olympic marathon trials in February of 2024.

Morley won the US 25k road championship in the fall of 2021, placed second at the US 20k road championships that same fall and was second overall in the US road circuit championships that year.

She placed 10th in her debut at the Chicago marathon, placing in the top five Americans. Along with running professionally, Morley helps out with Montana State cross country and track teams and occasionally works at a local running store in Bozeman, where she resides with her partner and fellow runner, Zach Perrin, and their dog/running buddy, Nevie.

Morley and six other inductees are from the Modern Era category, while one, Conrad's Richard Kronebusch, is a Legacy Era inductee.

Here's a brief look at the rest of the Hall of Fame Class.

Arie Grey: The 1997 Deer Lodge graduate went three years without losing an open 400, and both played football and ran track for the Montana State Bobcats.

Lindsay Hall: In 2008 she scored 36 points for Big Sky at the State AA track and field championships; as a senior in 2009 she scored 50. At Montana she would set Big Sky Conference records for points at a single championship meet (43) and for career (205.5).

Tuff Harris: The 2002 Colstrip graduate won six individual track and field titles and briefly held the all-class record in the 100 meters (10.77 seconds). At Montana he excelled in football on special teams (school- and Big Sky-record 94-yard punt return) and at cornerback.

Richard Kronebusch: Along with leading the Conrad Cowboys to the 1967 State B basketball title, he was a two-time high hurdles champ while leading his team to back-to-back track championships in 1966-67.

Marc Mariani: He teamed with future Carroll quarterback Gary Wagner to go unbeaten for two years in doubles in Class A tennis, helping the Blue Ponies win four straight state titles; he was All-State at point guard in basketball; and his 2004 football team won the State A championship. He then set Griz receiving records for career and single-season receiving yards and career TDs.

Luke Zeiger: An All-State cross country runner, the 2012 Glasgow graduate is his school's only four-time wrestling state champion, helping his team to the 2009-10 state titles.

All of the inductees will have a plaque placed at the MHSA Hall of Fame at Fortin Center, on the campus of Rocky Mountain College in Billings.