USA TODAY High School Sports is launching a series called “60 for ’16” to highlight 60 members of the Class of 2016 who we will be watching in the coming 12 months. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Mekenzie Steffen
School: Hill-Murray (Maplewood, Minn.)
Sport: Girls hockey
What we’ve seen: Steffen is one of 23 on the 2015 U.S. Women’s National U18 Team and one of seven defensemen. She helped Team USA to the gold medal in this year’s International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 Women’s World Championship and was also a member of the U-18 team in 2014. She’s attended girls national team development camps for three consecutive years.
In eight games with Team USA over the past two years, she’s accumulated an assist, but the team success certainly outweighs the stats for the defenseman. Per her USA Hockey profile, her favorite moment in the sport was winning the 2014 Minnesota State High School League State Championship. In addition to hockey, she also enjoys, golfing, rollerblading and water sports.
Steffen was also named to the American Family Insurance All-USA Girls Hockey Second Team this past season. Hill-Murray School, where he attends, also recently was voted as USA TODAY High School Sports’ Team of the Year.
Why we’re watching: Steffen still has one year left at Hill-Murray but already is committed to play at Wisconsin in 2016. Last season, the third-seeded Badgers lost in the national semifinals to top-ranked Minnesota, 3-1. Last year in high school, Steffen had 28 points in 26 games. That’s not too shabby for a defenseman and if she can up that to lead Hill-Murray to back-to-back state titles, it’ll be some nice momentum heading to Wisconsin.