Kentucky's Macumber cruises into indoor season looking for more breakthroughs

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJanuary 8, 2013 

  • Kentucky Invitational

    When: Friday and Saturday

    Where: Nutter Field House

Cally Macumber has come miles since the third grade.

That's when she found TBL — The Best Little Track Club — and ran a 1-mile time trial.

"I remember my time was 6:36," Macumber said, "and I was really proud of it."

Raised in Rochester Hills, Mich., near Detroit, Macumber grew into a three-time all-state high school runner.

Now, she is the top female runner on the University of Kentucky's distance crew.

The fourth-year junior will make her 2013 debut in the mile Saturday, the second of two days of competition in the Kentucky Invitational in Nutter Field House.

"Since we just came off (Christmas) break, I'm just hoping to see where I'm at," Macumber said. "Hopefully, it's in a good place. Then, move from there."

Macumber has moved plenty from where she began her UK career.

An All-SEC freshman in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track in 2009-10, she placed 40th in the NCAA Southeast Regional cross country meet.

Flash forward to last fall, when she swept first-place finishes in the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Southeast meets, then earned All-America honors.

Building on the foundation laid by longtime UK coach Don Weber, Macumber said she took off last fall thanks to fresh input from Weber's successor, Edrick Floreal, and distance coach Hakon DeVries.

"Definitely Hakon has been a really good coach," Macumber said. "And Coach Flo's been really helping. He's definitely very competitive and he wants to win.

"I think that changes the attitude of everyone on the team. Just more positive. And the things we've been doing have really helped. I'm doing more mileage than I ever have and the workouts are faster. It's been really good."

Training in the Michigan snow over the break, Macumber says she was running about 65 miles a week.

Suffice to say, she moves at a faster pace than in her days as a TBL clubber.

She'll sometimes do a "progression" run of 5 miles. The initial mile will be at a 6:00 pace, the second at 5:50. Then, 5:45, 5:35 and 5:25, "and you just surprise yourself at how fast you can go."

Her sophomore-season personal best of 4:48.7 could be in jeopardy, but Saturday's mile is merely a measuring stick.

Macumber also will run 5,000 and 3,000 meters indoors, and the latter is what she considers her forte.

The 3K can wait for now, though.

"We just don't want to shoot ourself in the foot," Floreal said of the conference indoor meet. "You push an athlete too hard, they get hurt, then you lose them for a month. Then you're looking like an idiot when it comes time for SEC. I think the important thing for us right now is to make sure they're fit and to make sure that the things we're doing are positives."

What Macumber has done for him so far, Floreal likens to His Airness.

"Michael Jordan. Two seconds left. He shoots, he scores," Floreal said. "That's what makes the athlete special. To be able to handle adversity and deliver on their deadline.

"That's what (she's) done. That's what makes (her) special."

Notes

■ Central Florida participants this weekend include hurdler and fifth-year senior Lutisha Bowen, a transfer from Eastern Kentucky. An Ohio Valley Conference champion, indoors and outdoors, Bowen is a graduate of Ballard High School in Louisville. Parents Charles and Mary Bowen both competed for Kentucky State University.

■ Changes in Nutter Field House include a new videoboard and a sprint straightaway that has been reduced from nine lanes to six.

The latter change is to accommodate bleachers on the outside of the track.

Fans will be permitted to mingle with athletes on the infield. There will also be an "athletes only" area.

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229 Twitter: @MarkMaloneyHL Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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