BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – West Ridge senior Reid Haas still remembers his first middle school cross-country season in seventh grade.

“I was just out there sweating and breathing really hard,” he smiled.

But, it didn’t take long for him to find a silver lining to the grueling practices.

“If you struggle through something with a lot of people at once, you’re going to form really close friendships with those people,” he said.

In addition to those friendships, Haas has used the sport as an opportunity to push his own limits.

“You know, running, it’s a really simple thing,” he said. “You put one foot in front of the other. So, I just use that as an opportunity to get better at something.”

As a senior, he’s done just that. He clocked a 5K time of under 20 minutes for the first time this season. His secret to success has been fairly straightforward.

“I just got out there pretty much every day and ran.”

His commitment to consistency is evident, not only in his athletic but also in his musical pursuits.

“In sixth grade, I played the alto saxophone,” he explained.

He still does during the concert band season. But, by seventh grade, the art of conducting started calling his name.

“My middle school band director introduced us,” he recalled. “I would just be going through the patterns, just with my hand if I was walking down the hall or whatever.”

Drum major became his main goal in high school.

“I wanted to be up there in a leadership position, just kind of dictating things,” he said.

He first tried out as a sophomore, his first year at West Ridge, but did not receive the position. But, as a junior, his time finally came to lead the Wolves’ marching band.

Haas was eager to succeed immediately.

“I probably got more frustrated than I should have been,” he recalled of his early days. “I want everything to be how it should be right away.”

But, just as he learned running cross country and track – improvement comes from the process.

“Accepting that process has been kind of cool over the past two years,” he said.

Because the end result has been worth the wait.

“I just remember getting to the very end of the show and I looked over the whole field and was like ‘We have a program here that’s able to execute really well,'” he said. “‘And I formed some really great relationships.'”

In the leftover time he has, Haas served as one of the leaders of the school’s pep club. He is also the captain of the Scholars Bowl team.

“I’ve always been kind of a trivia guy,” he said. “I just ready up on a lot of different random things, so I might as well put that to use.”

Upon graduation, Haas hopes to attend Georgia Tech to study civil engineering.