By GREG MENGELT
Silver Creek senior Isaak Haas has helped lead his Dragons into Saturday’s Brown County Semistate.
As Silver Creek won the Southwestern Sectional, Haas finished second. He finished ninth in the Brown County Regional, leading the Dragons to a second-place finish.
And he’s done it all without being anywhere near 100 percent.
Haas suffered a stress fracture in his leg in the offseason — due to over-training — and missed part of his senior season.
Since his return, he has continued to improve on nearly every run.
“He couldn’t run all summer because of the stress fracture and that was just killing him,” Silver Creek coach Darrell Kingery said. “He’s coming on right now. He’s getting better every time he runs.”
Kingery believes Haas will be an asset to any college coach that recruits him.
“Before he had his stress fracture, he was running some unbelievable times,” Kingery said. “He may not run those times [again] in cross country, but somebody’s going to pick him up and they’re going to be pleased.”
Haas recently took some time to chat with News and Tribune sports editor Greg Mengelt for a one-on-one interview.
QUESTION: How did you break your leg?
HAAS: “I didn’t get enough calcium. At the training level I was at, it just gave out on me. I had done that training before. My diet wasn’t keeping up with what I was doing to stay healthy.”
Q: What’s changed in your life because of it?
HAAS: “It shows me the importance of staying healthy. The stress fracture was definitely the biggest struggle I’ve had in my career. I just had to come back from it and stay strong.”
Q: When it broke, describe what happened.
HAAS: “It was kind of a subtle thing. I noticed for about a week I had some stiffness. I thought it was just muscular. I went on a run on a Saturday morning, and it gave out on me. Progressively over that run, it got worse and I had to go see the doctor about it.”
Q: What was your reaction when the doctor told you it was broken?
HAAS: “It wasn’t really a surprise. I had prepared myself, telling myself it was broken. It was still kind of just a shock knowing I was going to be out for a long time and it was going to be a struggle.”
Q: What was the recovery like?
HAAS: “I had to take seven weeks off, no running. I biked to stay in shape. I just couldn’t do any weight-bearing activities. I had crutches for about a week that I was supposed to use. No cast or anything like that.”
Q: Was coming back from it a struggle?
HAAS: “The whole thing has been a struggle, but the first three or four weeks back were definitely the hardest. It has just been a challenge, honestly, to try to get back to where I was before I was hurt.”
Q: So, describe the season. Have you had to get back into shape physically and mentally?
HAAS: “I definitely feel like I’m getting close physically. Mentally, I think it’s made me tougher than I was, just knowing I’ve come back from this. It gives me more confidence.”
Q: Do you think it’s completely behind you now?
HAAS: “Oh, yeah.”
Q: Do you feel like the best is still ahead of you?
HAAS: “I definitely believe the best is still ahead of me. My goal is still to get to state. I know that’s going to be a struggle. Our semistate is so tough, but that’s still my goal.”
Q: So what do you expect from your team at semistate?
HAAS: “The [second-place] finish puts us in a good spot to do well at semistate. I expect a great team performance.”
Q: Are you going to run track in the spring?
Q: What events do you run in track?
HAAS: “I do the 4x[800-meter relay], the 800 sometimes, but I usually do the 1,600 and 3,200.”
Q: Do you think you’ll continue to get even stronger in the spring?
HAAS: “I feel like I will be able to keep up my training and get even higher training-wise than I was last year, and I want to get to state in the 3,200, as well.”
Q: What are your plans for next year? Are you looking at running cross country or track in college?
HAAS: “I’m definitely going to run in college. I just don’t know where yet.”