CU Buffs Makena Morley, Kaitlyn Benner earn 2nd-team All-American honors at NCAA nationals

For the second year in a row, Colorado’s Makena Morley placed 11th in the finals of the NCAA women’s 10,000 meters.

On Thursday night at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin, Texas, Morley posted a time of 33 minutes, 29.27 seconds to earn second-team All-American honors at the NCAA national championships.

Senior Kaitlyn Benner, a Monarch High School graduate, finished 16th in her final collegiate race for the Buffs, posting a time of 34:06.39. She also earned second-team All-American honors.

Also on Thursday for CU, senior Val Constien qualified for the finals in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and Gabby Scott qualified for the finals in the women’s 400-meter hurdles. The women’s 4×400 relay team failed to qualify for the finals.

In the 10,000 meters, Morley ran with the lead pack of about a dozen runners for the first two-thirds of the race, but was unable to pull away with the leaders down the stretch. New Mexico sophomore Weini Kelati won the title by holding off a surging Carmela Cardama Baez of Oregon in the final 100 meters.

Morley was making her third NCAA appearance in the 10,000. She also placed 17th in 2017. Her season is not done, however, as she will compete in the finals of the 5,000 meters – along with teammate Dani Jones – on Saturday at 6:25 p.m.

Benner closed her career as a three-time All-American in track and field. She also earned second-team honors in 2016 for the 5,000 and first-team honors a year ago in the 10,000, when she placed seventh.

Constien, who was fifth at nationals a year ago, ran the sixth-fastest time in the steeplechase prelims, at 9:52.04, to earn one of 12 spots for the finals. The steeplechase finals – Constien’s final race as a Buff – are slated for 4:54 p.m. MT on Saturday.

Scott finished second in her heat of the 400 hurdles, with a time of 57.5 seconds – a second slower than her school-record mark of 56.51, but the goal for Thursday was mainly to qualify for finals, which are set for 5:57 p.m. on Saturday.

Scott then teamed with Valerie Welch, Eriana Henderson and Dani Johnson in the 4×400 relay. The Buffs posted a time of 3:39.25 to finish 24th.

On Friday for CU, Eduardo Herrera will run in the finals of the men’s 1,500 meters at 6:41 p.m., while John Dressel will run in the finals of the men’s 5,000 meters at 8:25 p.m.