Salute to Seniors: Hannah Steelman (Orono High School)

Name: Hannah Steelman

School: Orono High School

What was your most memorable race? Sophomore year XC Festival of Champions. I ran a huge PR to give me a surprising 2nd place finish (1st for Maine girls). This was a breakout race for me, and it made me realize what I was capable of and how much I enjoyed just going out there and letting my legs do what they can. Finishing runner-up as a team to the LaSalle girls of RI was the icing on the cake!

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years? This is a funny one, because most of my biggest competition were the girls I practiced alongside everyday. Kassidy Dill, Becky Lopez-Anido, Lily Koffman, Camille Kohtala, and Tia Tardy pushed me so much in every race and workout throughout my four years. Katherine Leggat-Barr, Abby Hamilton, Carolyn Todd, Anne McKee, and the GSA ladies always made for fun competition as well. 

What was your greatest accomplishment? This past outdoor season's PVC championships all-around. It started off in stellar fashion by breaking a 12-year-old PVC record in the 4x800 with my ladies Kass, Becky, and Camille, and that race set the tone for a great day of track. I felt so strong that day (running two PR's), and was very fortunate to have been selected as "Performer of the Meet", however, it was the amount of successes and smiles I saw through my teammates that made that day truly great. 

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school? Absolutely nothing. Even the lowest points of my past 4 years in this sport taught me so much and built me up to where I am now, so I'm grateful for those, along with everything else.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome? A bad case of shin splints caused me to miss the majority of my senior cross country season, and it was a tough thing to overcome, not just physically, but mentally. 

What will you miss the most? I will miss the Maine running community in general. Speaking as someone who's lived all over the place, I can say it truly is like no other. The incredible amounts of support shown and the friendships that are built are what makes this community and running within it so special.

What advice you would give to younger athletes? Live in the moment, take each race and workout one at a time, and DON'T overdo it. Take your easy days easy. Do the little things--get enough rest, fuel your body with proper nutrition, stretch, etc. Most importantly, ENJOY the grind, and the results will follow!

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals? I can't express enough just how wonderful my coaches are, and how thankful I am for each of them. Coach White, Coach Dexter, and Coach Libby are truly some of the greatest people I've had the pleasure to know and grow from. They taught me to be confident and helped me recognize my own strength, believed in me, and made every day of practice and competing the most fun. Because of them, I grew not only as a runner, but a person, and as an athlete, you can't ask for anything more from your coaches than that.  

What are your college plans? I'll be running cross country and track and field at Wofford College in South Carolina. I'm entering as undecided, but right now I'm interesting in majoring in Biology, focusing on Human Nutrition (I think it would be so cool to become a Registered Dietitian someday!) 

Who would you like to say thank you to? Ohhh man...There are so many people to thank!! My coaches, teammates, parents & family, the Orono community, the Maine running community--you all have contributed so much to my successes and my growth as an athlete, and I sit here writing this with a full heart because I couldn't be more grateful. And I can't count out the Big Man! His grace and blessings in my running career over the past 4 years were immeasurably more than I could've ever hoped for. He is so faithful! 

Is there anything else you'd like to add? Go T-Dawgs!! (&, as always, gooo Riots!

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