Orono’s Hannah Steelman ran a personal-best and school-record time in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Thursday, but it wasn’t quite fast enough to advance to Saturday’s final.
Steelman, a freshman at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, finished eighth in her semifinal heat with a time of 9 minutes, 59.94 seconds, at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
That was the 14th-fastest time overall among the 24 semifinalists and 2.22 seconds behind the 12th and final qualifier, Katy Kunc of the University of Kentucky (9:57.72).
The five fastest runners in each of the two heats and the next two fastest finishers regardless of heat qualified for the final.
Steelman, a former standout distance runner at Orono High School, bested her previous fastest time for the steeplechase of 10:00.70 set at the NCAA East Regional qualifying meet.
Steelman, who took up the steeplechase for the first time this spring, was one of only two freshmen among the 24 semifinalists. The other first-year collegian, Kristlin Gear of Furman, had the slowest time in the field of 10:35.42.
The fastest qualifier for the steeplechase final was sophomore Allie Ostrander of Boise State in 9:45.96.
Steelman’s work is not done at the NCAAs as she is scheduled to compete in the women’s 5,000-meter final at 8:25 p.m. Saturday.