Hannah Steelman braved 98-degree heat Saturday to finish third in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the University of Texas.

Steelman, a 2017 Orono High School graduate and now a sophomore at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, finished her first of two races of the day in a personal-best time of 9 minutes, 46.06 seconds.

Less than two hours later, Steelman finished eighth among 24 competitors in the 5,000-meter final in a time of 16:14.58.

She earned first-team All-America status in both events.

“In the 3,000-meter steeplechase she ran a great race,” Wofford head track coach Johnny Bomar said in a release. “She ran hard and put in a lot of work to come up with a great result. It took guts for her to run the 5,000 meters in such a short time after the steeplechase, especially with the heat. For her to push through and score shows why she is one of the toughest athletes I have ever worked with. She belongs among the top tier of distance runners in the nation.”

Allie Ostrander, a junior from Boise State, won the steeplechase for the third straight year. The Soldotna, Alaska, native pulled away over the final three laps to finish in a personal-best 9:37.73, comfortably ahead of runner-up Charlotte Prouse of the University of New Mexico (9:44.50).

Steelman began running in the steeplechase less than two years ago after arriving at Wofford. She qualified for the NCAAs in that event last spring but just missed advancing to the 12-runner final.

This year, Steelman easily qualified for the steeplechase final by winning her semifinal heat Thursday night in what at the time was her fastest time for the event, 9:49.51.

She withstood conditions for Saturday’s steeplechase final that were approximately 25 degrees warmer than they were during the prelims to race among the leaders throughout the event.

Steelman moved into the front group just before the water jump on the first of seven laps, then remained among the top five the rest of the way while running largely on the outside shoulder of the leaders.

Steelman was fourth at the start of the final lap and fell back to fifth before passing two competitors after she cleared the final barrier to secure her third-place finish.

Steelman’s time was one of five in the race that topped the previous facility record.

With the temperature having dropped to 94 degrees for the start of the 5,000-meter final, Steelman hung near the back of the lead pack for the first half of that race.

A pack of eight runners broke away midway through the race, leaving Steelman among several runners running alone for several laps.

But again, Steelman came on strong in the final two laps to secure her second podium finish of the day.

Dani Jones of Colorado won the race with a time of 15:50.65.

Steelman had qualified for the 5,000-meter race with a time of 16:10.37 last month at the East Regional in Jacksonville, Florida, and was seeded 17th for the race.

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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...