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Link: Cross country's Macumber positioned to challenge for SEC title

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Junior Cally Macumber has twice been named SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week this fall. (Chet White, UK Athletics) Junior Cally Macumber has twice been named SEC Cross Country Athlete of the Week this fall. (Chet White, UK Athletics)
After sitting out last season due to injury, Cally Macumber has had quite a season.

The junior member of Kentucky cross country finished in the top two in each of her first three meets of the season before turning in an impressive eighth-place finish at the Pre-National Invitational two weeks ago. She has twice been named the Southeastern Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week and now will have a chance to see exactly how she stacks up in the SEC.

Sean Cartell from the SEC Digital Network takes it from there.

The 2012 SEC Cross Country Championships will start at 11 a.m. ET in Nashville on Friday. Macumber has thrived under the guidance of UK's new coaching staff and women's cross country coach Hakon DeVries. Now, she will look to add a conference crown to an already solid season.

Her breakout meet came at the Greater Louisville Classic, where she placed second individually in the race. Macumber finishing ahead of Washington's Katie Flood, the defending Pacific-12 Conference champion and a 2011 top-10 NCAA finisher, at that meet made a resounding statement.

Two weeks later at the highly competitive NCAA Pre-National Meet, also in Louisville, she placed eighth overall against a tough field and was the highest-finishing SEC runner in the field.

Those two performances make it very plausible that Macumber could claim the league title on Friday. She would be the first Wildcat since Valerie McGovern in 1989 to accomplish the feat.

"I definitely expect her to challenge for it," DeVries said. "Between her and some of the other individuals around the SEC, it's definitely going to be a very challenging race up front. If Cally can put her position and just wait for the final kick, I imagine that she will have herself in it. It's just a matter of getting it done that day."

Macumber also has her sights set on the conference crown, but has a modest approach to her next race.

"It's a goal, but you never know what's going to happen the day of," Macumber said. "I'm just trying to stay positive, keep working and hope everything turns out well. I try to work hard every day, try to be the best that I can be and hopefully that will pay off."

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