By Ryan Kaczmarski
Florida Gulf Coast University has named women’s basketball player, Avon Lake native and Magnificat High School graduate Stephanie Haas as a recipient of the Northwestern Mutual Academic Student-Athlete of the month for the month of December.
“This means a lot (to me),” Haas said. “It just shows that all of the hard work is paying off.
“You put in so many hours each week, and you have such a hard time balancing out school work and practices. It shows that my time management is also paying off, and I’m able to succeed in both arenas.”
Haas has maintained a 3.947 GPA in the field of criminal justice, while helping the Eagles to a 8-6 record this season.
She is able to get much of her academic work done with the mandatory eight hours of study hall per week she had her freshman year.
“That really helped me transition from high school to college,” she explained. “You really need to find time whenever you can, whether you have to wake up earlier or stay up later.
“When we are on the road, there is always time in the hotel to get everything done.”
She is one of just three Eagles averaging double-figures in scoring at 12.2 points per game. That total is a substantial increase over her freshman season output of 3.9 points per game. The sophomore is also third on the team in minutes per game at 27.6, and has already played more minutes this season than she did her entire freshman campaign.
“Once I finally earned some minutes, I had to take full advantage of those minutes I got and just prove what I could do,” Haas said. “Working (on my game) over the summer, and knowing what the coach wants from me, helped me focus and be the best I can be for the team.”
For Haas, Magnificat played a big role in her success as a collegiate student-athlete.
“There was a lot of pressure and school work there too, and that helped me balance basketball and school work,” she said. “The competitiveness of my high school team helped, because they were players from all over (the Greater Cleveland area), so I wasn’t always the best player on the team.
“That taught me that I’d always have to earn my spot on any team.”
Magnificat head coach Meghann Hubach is not surprised with Haas’ collegiate accomplishments, both on and off the court.
“Steph goes 110 percent in everything that she does,” Hubach said. “When she chose to go to FGCU, I knew she would be successful. She is a kid who is willing to put the time and effort into doing it, so she does well because she works hard. It doesn’t just come to her.”