On Sunday, with snow piles surrounding the high jump pit, Maggie Haase overcame the last obstacle that allowed her to win her second state high jump championship with a winning height of 5’ 0”. It was an achievement that very few athletes experience, but this one was even more cherished as Haase had to overcome a series of setbacks in order to get back to the pinnacle of the podium.
Maggie Haase is a junior at Eads High School and was born to be a high jumper. She comes by it naturally as her mother, Duff (Liebl) Haase was a three-time state champion in the high jump setting a state record in all divisions back in 1990. As Maggie grew up, she found some good success in middle school track and looked to be destined to follow in her mother’s jumping shoes.
Just as Maggie came into high school with everyone anticipating an amazing Track & Field career for her, one challenge after another was placed in Maggie’s way. First, COVID hit during the spring of her freshman year and the track season was cancelled. She didn’t even get a chance to compete.
So, Maggie was a rookie during her sophomore year but quickly figured out the grueling requirements of high school competition. She would win her first high jump state championship that spring by clearing a phenomenal 5’ 3”.
Her track coach Stephanie Bohlander said, “Maggie is a special kind of person; one you don’t meet every day. Her kindness, generosity, and diligence in her work ethic and to her goals is genuine and she is one of the most humble and talented people I’ve known.”
After her sophomore track season, Maggie was riding on a high as she’d also just placed in the triple jump and hurdles at the 1A Colorado State Track & Field meet.
Then, early on in volleyball season at the beginning of her junior year, she had a bad ankle sprain that really set her back. After that injury and just when she was getting back on her training regiment, she hurt her knee later in the fall. Her kneecap popped out of the socket, straining and tearing all the ligaments in her right knee. Surgery was a requirement and happened in October.
Then began the frustrating wait and physical therapy required for serious knee injuries.
Bohlander said, “This kid likes things done a certain way, and her recovery just didn’t seem fast enough.”
Maggie was frustrated when this track season began in March. She’d only begun to get back into running shape as she could just complete a light jog and some bodyweight lifts. Her flexibility was pretty limited, and she was in a lot of daily pain.
Bohlander then described the hard work Maggie had to put in to get into the shape needed to be a state champion, “We began this season with barely running a 400 in a jog, limping through it, and she could only jump around her junior high heights. We knew it’d just take time and patience to train her back into her normal self, but as with every athlete, patience is not easy to come by. After a frustrating and pained beginning, she began to see quick strides weekly. We focused on little gains, and we reminded her daily to trust the process.”
Bohlander said Haase was not strong enough to begin the season competing in triple jump, and running hurdles was way out of the question as she just wasn’t strong enough and didn’t have the flexibility or strength in her knee to withstand those events.
Finally, the high jump was the first event she was able to navigate as she jumps off her left foot, and so her plant foot was the stiff ankle, but not the knee.
Bohlander shared, “It was low-height, minimal reps, a lot of bodyweight lifting and flexibility work.”
Then, slowly, Haase was able to try the triple jump at the Swink meet. She jumped well, but on her second jump tweaked her knee on the landing and so that put an immediate stop to the triple jump as she just wasn’t ready.
“We laid off for another few weeks,” according to Bohlander, “and then we started turning a corner in the training. She was a bit stronger, a bit faster, and we noticed her carrying herself a bit straighter in her drills and practices. We tried the triple jump again and she started gaining. We felt lucky to have her in both events then.”
Bohlander agreed that she had some frustrations in the early meets still, but during practice, they saw good things happening with her.
“It wasn’t until the last 3-4 weeks of the season when she started seeing high jumps in the 4-9 to 4-10 range. That success allowed her to attack the bar and she had the pop she needed to clear the heights required to compete. Around that time, she felt ready for the hurdles too, so we were careful to plan our events at each meet alternating between giving her two events for the day. Sometimes it was the high jump and triple jump, and sometimes high jump and hurdles. Always competing in the high jump, but then adding another event gave her a great training day. She just found her groove and really began getting the positive rewards from all the frustrating and tearful days from the past. She had to triple jump and run hurdles right up to the end of the regular season to qualify—but she did!”
Bohlander said, “We knew entering state week that Maggie would have to be clean in the opening height of the high jump competition. They were starting at 4-7, which was incredibly high, but very exciting for Maggie.”
Haase was ready to go and was confident in her jumping when she had to overcome one more major opponent at Jeffco Stadium in Denver—and that was Mother Nature. The state weekend was stormy and snowy, and events were postponed and delayed, but she was calm and focused.
Bohlander said, “When we jumped on Saturday afternoon, it was sunny, and chilly, and we knew she had aches and pains in her knee as cold weather does that to her now. She missed her first two attempts at 4-7 making everyone quite nervous, after scissoring the height with no issue in warm ups. Then she cleared it clean and that was all she needed—a little momentum and confidence.”
Confidence was the key for Maggie this year as her coaches said she only had the little technical stuff to work through but getting her back to her confident jumping self just took time. When it happened, thankfully it was state title time. She jumped clean after those first two misses clear up until 5-1.
Bohlander beamed, “The highlight for me, was getting to stand and watch this awesome kid jump her season best, win another title, and get to run over to her mom and hug her...it was bittersweet. All those days of pain and tears, all those frustrating practices and meets were all meant for her to have this great success.”
And everyone who knows Maggie will relate, in true Maggie style, her first comments to her mom and coach were, “Thank you so much for being so patient with me!”
Bohlander smiles thoughtfully and adds, “Really Maggs, thank you for being so honest in your training, such a mentally strong kid, and for just allowing us the opportunity to get to work with you.”
Haase has one more year of eligibility and we wish her the best of everything during her senior year next year.