By Jacob Most
Nov. 23, 2013 -
Photo Gallery | Results | Video Interview With Macumber
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Cally Macumber battled back brilliantly from a tough-luck break to finish 13th at the NCAA Championships with a time of 20:26.40 on Saturday at the LaVern Gibson Course.
With the result, Macumber finished inside the NCAA Championship top-15 for the second straight season as she was sixth at the same meet in 2012.
Macumber's finish was the eighth highest at the NCAA Championships in school history, and accounting for her performance last season just the second top-15 finish since 1989, when UK won the team National Title, and Valerie McGovern placed second individually.
Macumber became one of four Wildcats to ever place inside the NCAA top-15, and is now just the third to do so twice in her career.
After executing a near-ideal start to the race, getting to the front of the 253-deep field at the gun, Macumber was tripped and fell near the one-mile mark.
She recovered back into position within the first chase pack, which featured eventual race-winner Abbey D'Agastino of Dartmouth, before the 4,000-meter mark, but Macumber was unable to match the leaders' move in the latter stages of the race.
Still, Macumber continued picking off runners after the unfortunate fall as she passed 18 runners in the final 2K including an impressive close when she went by three runners in the last 75 meters.
"I was definitely happy to be here," Macumber said. "I wish I would have done a little better, but things happen and now I just look forward to the next season. After the fall there was a bit of a gasp, but I just tried to stay positive and keep picking people off. With it being my last cross country race there's a bit of sadness, but I'm ready for the next chapter."
The senior's recovery was all the more impressive given the energy-sapping muddy conditions of the course.
"Despite the fall, Cally never gave up the whole way, she kept working," women's cross country coach Hakon DeVries said. "It's pretty remarkable how many people she was able to pass in the second half of the race given the conditions. We are definitely the most proud 13th place coaching staff out there."
Macumber, a senior in cross country, has exhausted her eligibility indoors and will be a senior for the outdoor track and field season.