Winter 2017

|  by Fritz Reznor

Going the Distance

Oakland University athlete Miranda Haas is a champion on the track and in the classroom

Oakland University redshirt senior Miranda Haas is a “running” example of a model student-athlete.

A Pinckney, Michigan native, Haas helped lead the Golden Grizzlies to back-to-back Horizon League women’s cross country championships, twice earning all-league honors after finishing fifth at the league meet in 2015 and placing second in 2016. Last fall, she was Oakland’s top runner at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships, placing 41st out of 221 runners in the women’s 6K.

For most athletes, Haas’ accomplishments in cross country alone would be a great career. But her track and field accomplishments are even more impressive, with first-place finishes in two different events at the Horizon League Championships.

Haas was named the Outstanding Performer at the 2016 Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Championships, winning the 5,000-meter run and placing second in the 3,000-meter run as the Golden Grizzlies won their first ever league track and field championship.

She has reached the podium five other times in Horizon League track and field championships. She won the 3,000 meter steeplechase and took fourth in the 5,000 meter run at the 2015 league outdoor championships; finished third in the 5,000 meter run and fifth in the 3,000 meter run at the 2014 indoor championships; and placed fifth in the 3,000 meter steeplechase at the 2014 outdoor championships.

Oakland University cross country and track and field coach Paul Rice said that her athletic performance is just a part of Haas’ contributions.

“Miranda has become an incredible leader and a dependable teammate in our program,” Rice said. “You need athletes in your program who will step up. As an athlete, as an individual, as a representative on our Student Advisory Council, Miranda steps up.”

Remarkably, Haas is even better academically than she is in running shoes. A Biology major with a lofty 3.92 grade point average, she has been named to the Horizon League Academic All-League team five times and to the league’s Honor Roll six times.

Haas plans to become a dentist, a profession she has pursued since her early teens.

“When I was 13, I had a couple of mouth surgeries, then braces … twice,” she recalled, “and I loved going to the dentist. In the eighth grade, we had an assignment to go shadow someone in a career we were interested in, and I chose to shadow my orthodontist. I loved everything about it, and that was when I decided that was going to be my career path.”

In fact, just hours after a long bus ride back from the NCAA Regional Cross Country Championships in Wisconsin, Haas had an interview for dental school at the University of Detroit Mercy.

“We got back at 1:30 in the morning, and I was up at 7 for my interview,” she said. “It was an interesting couple of days with a lot of emotion, knowing it was the end of my cross country career, but then also taking steps toward my future.”

Haas said she remains focused on her final semester of competition, and the three Horizon League team championships has only whetted her appetite for more.

“I would love to go ‘three-peat,’” she said. “Winning the league cross country, indoor and outdoor championships in the same year would be an awesome feat and such a great feeling.”

And it would be a near perfect ending for a nearly perfect student-athlete.