Hannah Steelman of Wofford College (center) competes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase during the recent NCAA Division I East regional track and field championship in Jacksonville, Florida. The Orono High School graduate placed second overall and also was third in the 5,000 meters, to earn spots in next week's national championship meet in Texas. Credit: Courtesy of David Rosenblum

Wofford College sophomore Hannah Steelman has qualified for the NCAA Division I track and field championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 5,000-meter run for the second straight year.

The 2017 Orono High School graduate earned her spots at the nationals, scheduled June 5-8 in Austin, Texas, by virtue of her performances at the NCAA East regionals last weekend at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

Steelman finished second in her heat and second overall in the steeplechase in 9 minutes, 55.18 seconds. Her top-three finish in the heat automatically qualified her to represent the Spartanburg, South Carolina, school at the national championships.

Steelman also placed second in her heat of the 5,000 with a time of 16:10.37 and was fifth overall in that qualifying event to advance to nationals.

She holds school records in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, 5,000 meters and 1,500 meters.

At the 2019 Southern Conference Championship she won the steeplechase in a conference-record 9:52.71. She added All-Southern Conference honors in the 1,500 and 5,000 to qualify for the NCAA East meet but opted not to run the 1,500 at the regionals.

Steelman subsequently was named the 2019 Southern Conference women’s most outstanding field performer after scoring 24 points in the SoCon championship meet.

She previously qualified for the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships, the 2018 NCAA Cross Country Championship and the 2019 NCAA Indoor Championships.

The top 12 qualifiers in each event from the East and West regions (24 total) will compete at the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Steelman is set to run in the steeplechase semifinals at 8:32 p.m. Thursday, June 6. The finals to follow at 6:54 p.m. Saturday, June 8.

The women’s 5,000-meter final is scheduled for 8:25 p.m. June 8.

Koch-Johnson completes career

Carsyn Koch-Johnson of Wade, a graduate student at Cedarville College in Ohio and a seven-time track and field All-American, completed her collegiate athletic career last weekend at the NCAA Division II championships in Kingsville, Texas.

Koch-Johnson, the 2016 and 2017 outdoor NCAA Division II national champion in the women’s 800-meter run and the 2015 runner-up, entered this year’s prelims in that event with the fourth-fastest qualifying time of 2 minutes, 6.94 seconds, but pulled up approximately 200 meters into the race and did not finish.

Koch-Johnson had missed the entire 2017-18 cross-country and track and field seasons as well as the 2018 cross-country campaign due to a hip/hamstring injury before returning to competition last winter.

She will leave Cedarville as the school’s the most decorated runner, highlighted by her four national championships in the 800 — twice indoors and twice outdoors — and her participation in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.

The 2014 Washburn District High School graduate owns nine school records and has run the 10 fastest times in Cedarville history for the 800 outdoors and the top nine marks at the same distance indoors. She also was a key member of the Lady Jackets’ cross-country program.

Koch-Johnson became Cedarville’s first female NCAA All-American in any sport in 2015 as the national runner-up in the outdoor 800 meters.

Koch-Johnson last week was named winner of the 2018-19 Great Midwest Athletic Conference Female Collegiate Achievement Award.

She was married in December and continues her postgraduate studies in nursing at Cedarville with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.

Koch-Johnson was the GMAC female athlete of the year in 2016 and 2017 and was named a conference athlete of the week more than 20 times during her college career.

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...