Last May, Jeanette Steerman, daughter of Don and Clea Steerman, graduated from McClave High School as the class Valedictorian. However, even more impressive, at the graduation ceremony she was presented with her appointment to Naval Academy at Annapolis, an achievement very few people have ever realized. While in high school Jeanette proved to be that quiet strength that every team needs and coaches loved her as she did the job she was assigned.
She is a competitor to the core. When she arrived at West Point Academy in the summer, Jeanette had a lot of changes to figure out and was forced to make many adjustments to a new life that was strange and different. But her quiet determination and steely focus served her well as she learned the ropes. One thing, however, was not different. Athletics. Jeanette had been involved with sports all her life. That fact would prove very key in her first year at the Naval Academy.
You see, according to her dad, “All midshipman at the United State Naval Academy are required to be a part of a sport while at the academy. This includes Plebe (Freshmen) Summer. Jeanette chose boxing as her sport during Plebe Summer. She was identified as one of the best female boxers at the end of Plebe Summer and asked to participate in the annual Plebe Boxing Smoker. She lost that match, but was asked to try out for the USNA boxing team. The coaches saw she never gave up and had the heart to be a Navy boxer.”
In fact, all freshmen (Plebes) are required to learn to box as part of the curriculum at the United States Naval Academy. Jeanette worked out with the team since school started in September. Many of the older boxers saw here potential and worked with her to develop her talents. She worked diligently, as she did in McClave as a Cardinal, and was often one of the last team members to leave the training room. She was placed on the official roster after Christmas break. Currently, she is one of few Plebes on the roster.
The United States Naval Academy (USNA) has a significant boxing history and has had organized boxing since the 1920s. One of the highlights of student activity at the Academy is Brigade Championships. Any midshipman can enter the Brigade Championships Tournament and many do who are not members of the official team. This year the Naval Brigades of Midshipmen had the 77th annual Brigade Championships. Jeanette won the championships at the 147 lb. class as a Plebe. To put this in context, there have only been 20 four-time Brigade Champions in its history, and there has never been a female who has won it all four years. Jeanette is now on track to become one of the first to do so. Since Christmas, she had several matches against ranked opponents and won them all. She fought in the regional tournament at Xavier in Cincinnati, Ohio, and won against last year's National runner-up from Iowa State, Makaila Blount.
That win got her a number one seed at the National United States Collegiate Boxing tournament at West Point, New York this past weekend April 5, 6, and 7, 2018. She met up in the championship match against Janel Tracy from the USNA. The bout was a hard fought bout with two hard hitting, aggressive fighters that went the distance, but Jeanette came up a little short, losing by decision, 5-0, and taking second place.
Steerman has earned All-American status and is the National Runner-up for the NCBA (National College Boxing Association which is a part of USA Boxing). The USNA women’s team also placed second, besting their third place showing last year. The Women's team is a young team, only losing one senior for next year.
This summer, Steerman will not be taking much of a break as summer training at the Academy involves three blocks. One block is leave, while the other two are trainings. She will be spending one block at the USNA being a squad leader for the summer STEM program. During her second block she will be shipped out for assignment. Each block is 3-4 weeks long. Once summer is over, Jeanette will be back in the boxing ring, as well as in the classroom as she has selected to major in Systems Engineering.
Brigade Championships held on February 23, 2018. Photo Credit – USNA