When Garrett Haas and his family moved from Dallas to Utah in August of last year, they found themselves in a new home and a new environment with much less humidity. Although he found himself surrounded by new scenery at a new school for his senior year, “home” for Haas was never in Utah or even Dallas, but on a lacrosse field, stick in hand.
Whether it was 6 a.m. or late after practice had concluded, every time Lone Peak coach Bruce Tucker would drive by the field, he would gaze out and see Haas working to perfect his craft.
“He was there four or five hours a day, just by himself, with his headphones in, listening to podcasts, shooting the ball and working on his game,” Tucker said.
The work ethic and commitment that Haas exhibited day in and day out will not be forgotten by a Lone Peak lacrosse program that only could use his services for one season.
“The legacy that Garrett will leave for us is just a kid who was all lacrosse,” Tucker said. “Like that’s it. He ate, drank and slept lacrosse. That is his passion.”
For Haas to get to the level he was playing at in his senior season, he had to work, and he knew that. Especially since the game didn’t come naturally to him when he was first introduced to the sport.
Haas recalled his first experience with a lacrosse stick and ball when he was in third grade, playing catch outside with his dad and brother. When it came time for Haas to receive the ball, his dad flung the ball towards him, only for the ball to pelt him square in the eye.
At that moment, Haas figured he was better off sticking with soccer than trying out lacrosse. But, after waiting a year, Haas gave lacrosse another go and found himself gravitating toward the sport.
By sixth grade, Haas described himself as “all-in on lacrosse.” He began watching training videos on the internet and college lacrosse on the TV in an attempt to immerse himself in a sport he now found himself obsessed with.
As Haas worked and trained, he found himself getting good at the sport throughout the years, but it wasn’t until this past year that he realized that he might be better than just good.
“I always thought I was good,” Haas said. “But it wasn’t until this year that I knew I could be great at this game.”
Haas said this season he stopped being so critical of himself like he had in the past, and just focused on the positives.
“I was so hard on myself throughout all of my years. I knew my own weaknesses and knew the mistakes that I would make, and I was like, ‘you know, you’re not as good as you think you are. We need to get better,’” Haas said. “And that’s still true, I have to get better and will continue to try and get better, but this past year I’ve just been constantly telling myself, ‘hey, you’re really good,’ and telling myself things that have helped me continue to perform at a high level.”
“I didn’t play club and I wasn’t traveling around the country, it really just came down to me and a bag of balls and a goal. I just put in just hours and hours and hours of wanting to get better. No one is 100% self-made in what they do, but I would argue I’m pretty darn close.” — Lone Peak’s Garrett Haas, Mr. Lacrosse
While positive self-talk helped Haas understand his potential, it wasn’t the reasoning for his electric performances on the field. Haas attributed his performance to the one thing his coaches and teammates know him best for: hard work.
Haas said moving to Utah — where he experienced less homework due to “A-day, B-day” school scheduling — coupled with the pandemic, freed up significant amounts of time for him to put in work to improve his game that he didn’t have in Texas.
“I’ve gotten so much better this past year,” Haas said. “I just had my stick in my hands five times more throughout the week than I did normally because I just had more time. That extra practice allowed for more confidence in games.”
The extra work translated onto the field, to say the least, as Haas racked up 88 goals and 38 assists in just 15 games, according to Max Preps. Haas scored or assisted on nearly 60% of Lone Peak’s goals this season, resulting in Haas signing a letter of intent to play Division I college lacrosse for Ohio State University.
The future Buckeye’s dominance throughout the season also earned Haas the right to be voted by the state’s coaches as the recipient of the Deseret News’ inaugural Mr. Lacrosse award.
“I don’t know what the official definition of Mr. Lacrosse is, but if you’re looking for the best player in the state, for sure a kid you want to have on your team, then he is absolutely that guy,” Tucker said.
Haas was humbled when he found out he would be the first player to ever receive the award.
“I’m really grateful that the other coaches in the state think of me this way, and I’m grateful for their confidence in me and their opinion of me,” Haas said. “I play this game to be the best and to win, so to be perceived as the best by the coaching staffs of other teams, it means a lot. I’m really grateful and humbled to receive the award.”
Haas was quick to thank his teammates and coaches for being so welcoming to him, while also mentioning that “no one is 100% self-made.” But, to Haas, the person he accredited the award to the most had to be himself.
“I didn’t play club and I wasn’t traveling around the country, it really just came down to me and a bag of balls and a goal,” Haas said. “I just put in just hours and hours and hours of wanting to get better. No one is 100% self-made in what they do, but I would argue I’m pretty darn close.”
Haas will depart to serve his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 21 before taking the field at the next level for Ohio State. Haas remains confident the two-year break from the sport won’t affect his aspirations to thrive at the collegiate level.
In fact, Haas said serving his mission is a necessary step on his path towards becoming the best lacrosse player he can.
“Serving a mission and putting my faith first is my No. 1 priority,” Haas said. “If I went and played lacrosse and had a successful career and I didn’t go on my mission, that’s not the success that I want to have. I want to put my faith first, my family second and then lacrosse third.”