Men’s basketball has dominated the headlines around Wofford College in recent weeks, with the Terriers riding a 21-game winning streak highlighted by its first-ever NCAA Division I tournament victory, Thursday night’s 84-68 triumph over Seton Hall.
That sets up a second-round game for Wofford at 2:40 p.m. Saturday against Kentucky in Jacksonville, Florida.
Yet basketball hasn’t captured every sports-related headline from the Spartanburg, South Carolina, school of 1,700 students.
Hannah Steelman, a 2017 graduate of Orono High School, recently became the first Wofford student to earn All-America honors in indoor track at the NCAA Division I championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
Steelman achieved that distinction by finishing eighth in the women’s 3,000-meter run with her time of 9 minutes, 8.79 seconds.
Jessica Hull of Oregon won the event in 9:01.14.
The 19-year-old Steelman was one of only two women from Southern Conference schools to qualify for the indoor nationals along with Samford’s Karisa Nelson, who placed second in the mile.
While this was Steelman’s debut at the NCAA indoor championships, she is no stranger to national-level competition at Wofford.
She competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and the 5,000 meters at the 2018 NCAA Division I outdoor track championships and last fall ran in the 2018 cross country championship meet.
Steelman previously earned All-America second-team status in the 5,000 and was honorable mention in the steeplechase.
She earned her spot in this month’s nationals with a qualifying time of 9:03.22.
“This is another amazing achievement for Hannah and Wofford cross country and track and field,” said Wofford head track and field coach Johnny Bomar. “Qualifying to indoor nationals is extremely difficult as they only take the top 16 athletes in the entire country. The culture of the program has been molded by our phenomenal senior class and Hannah is doing a great job of carrying on their tradition.”
Steelman earned All-Southern Conference honors earlier this winter by placing second in the 3,000 (9:11.16) and third in the mile (4:43.14) at the SoCon championships in late February. Her time in the mile is a school record.
“Knowing this wasn’t going to be easy, Hannah fully committed to the process from day one,” Bomar said. “Whether it was waking up at 6 a.m. for runs on her own or lifting between classes, Hannah’s drive has never diminished. I am proud to have her represent Wofford College and our program on the national stage.”
Steelman arrived at Wofford — where older brother Matt played basketball for the Terriers from 2008 to 2012 — in the fall of 2017 after a stellar athletic career at Orono. She was a member of three state championship teams for the Red Riots in both cross country and outdoor track and won individual state championships in cross country (2014), 1,600 meters (2015, 2016 and 2017) and 3,200 meters (2017).
Steelman also was a three-year letterwinner in basketball at Orono and served as a team captain as a senior.
Her father Todd, a former associate head women’s basketball coach at the University of Maine, now serves as women’s basketball assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
Lufkin shines in discus
Another former eastern Maine high school standout, Austin Lufkin of Clifton, began his sophomore season of outdoor track and field at Wofford College by placing seventh among 48 competitors in the discus at last weekend’s Charlotte 49er Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Lufkin, a former New England champion in the shot put and state champion in both the shot put and discus while at Brewer High School, had a best effort of 45.21 meters at the 49er Classic.
Lufkin holds the Wofford school record in the discus of 50.74 meters set at the 49er Classic a year ago and finished fourth in the same event last spring at the 2018 Southern Conference outdoor championships.
Lufkin also plays football at Wofford, where the 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive lineman saw action in 12 games last fall and helped the Terriers reach the second round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs for the third consecutive year. Wofford won its second straight Southern Conference football title in 2018 and finished its season 9-4 overall.
Wofford held its 2019 spring football workouts from Feb. 7 to March 8.