Hannah Steelman of Wofford College makes her way along the cross country course during a meet last fall. The Orono High School graduate, a freshman for the Terriers, has boosted her performance since joining the college ranks. Credit: Wofford College athletics

Hannah Steelman had never competed in the steeplechase until less than two months ago.

Now the Orono High School graduate and first-year distance runner for the Wofford College women’s track team is a conference champion.

Steelman won the unique 3,000-meter race that includes a water jump on each lap at the recent Southern Conference outdoor track and field championships held at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Steelman raced to victory in a school-record time of 10 minutes, 9.39 seconds and in the process became just the third female athlete in Wofford history to win a conference title in outdoor track. Steelman’s time was nearly 16 seconds faster than race runner-up Emma Grace Hurley of Furman.

Steelman also earned All-Southern Conference honors in a second event with her third-place finish in the 1,500 meters with a school-record time of 4:23.69.

Another Wofford athlete with eastern Maine ties, freshman Austin Lufkin of Clifton and Brewer High School, placed fourth in the men’s discus at the SoCon championships with a best of 48.74 meters, or 159 feet, 11 inches.

Harris earns Big 10 honor

Middle-distance standout Isaiah Harris of Lewiston and Penn State University has been named the Big Ten Men’s Track Athlete of the Championships, as announced by the conference office on Tuesday.

Harris earned the award after winning the men’s 800-meter run with a meet- and facility-record time of 1:45.31 at the Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships last Sunday.

Harris, a former track and basketball standout at Lewiston High School, now has swept six of six men’s 800-meter run titles between the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field Championships while at Penn State.

Harris returns to competition May 24-26 at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field East Preliminary Round to be held at the University of South Florida at Tampa, Florida.

Dexter is LEC player of year

Jake Dexter, a junior second baseman and relief pitcher from Oakland and Messalonskee High School, has been named the Little East Conference baseball player of the year.

Dexter was one of two Huskies to earn a top conference award, as freshman third baseman Sam Troiano of South Portland was named the rookie of the year.

Dexter, the younger brother of two-time LEC Player of the Year and Chicago White Sox draft pick Sam Dexter, also was named first-team all-conference at both pitcher and second base.

The right-hander (4-3 record, 1.67 earned run average) has made 20 relief appearances this season entering the NCAA Division III tournament scheduled to begin for the Huskies on Thursday at Auburn, New York. He has an LEC-high 11 saves — tied for third most in Division III — along with 40 strikeouts over 32 1/3 innings.

Dexter also ranks among the league’s top hitters with a .387 batting average, 65 hits, 11 doubles, three homers, 28 RBI and 31 runs scored in 40 games.

Troiano batted .258 with 41 hits, six doubles, five homers, 18 RBI and 32 runs scored.

Three other USM players earned All-LEC accolades, as junior outfielder Devin Warren of Oakland and sophomore outfielder Dylan Hapworth of Winslow were first-team honorees while sophomore pitcher Gage Feeney of Cutler earned second-team accolades.

Warren, also a graduate of Messalonskee High School, is batting a team-leading .401 with two home runs, 14 doubles, 31 RBIs and 15 stolen bases. Hapworth, a Winslow High School product, is hitting .338 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs.

Feeney, who played at Washington Academy in East Machias, is 6-1 on the mound in nine starts this spring. He has a 3.18 earned run average with 44 strikeouts and 13 walks in 56 2/3 innings.

USM (27-13) is seeded third in the NCAA Division III New York Regional and scheduled to face No. 6 Amherst (24-12) in an opening-round game of the double-elimination tournament at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

Coach Ed Flaherty’s Huskies are ranked No. 24 in this week’s D3baseball.com/NCBWA Poll and No. 26 in the ABCA/Collegiate Baseball News poll.

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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...