Running together: the power duo on the Gophers cross country team

A special bond shared by two sisters on the Gophers cross country team, which is strengthened through running.

Sophomore Megan Hasz holds the lead during the Oz Memorial on Friday, Sept. 7 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course.

Jack Rodgers

Sophomore Megan Hasz holds the lead during the Oz Memorial on Friday, Sept. 7 at the Les Bolstad Golf Course.

by Babatunde Jinadu

While most siblings have a close bond, few have a relationship as close and as successful as Minnesota’s own Megan and Bethany Hasz. 

The Hasz sisters, who are twins, seemingly do everything together, including winning championships on the cross-country course. 

“We’ve always been close, we do most things together and I want her to succeed just as much as I want myself to succeed,” Megan said. “Whatever that means, either if its in running or just in life, because she’s my best friend and when you love someone you want them to do well.”

Graduates of Alexandria Area High School, these sisters were a frightening coalition during their time in the Minnesota State High School League. Between 2011 and 2015, the Hasz sisters alternated high honors at the Minnesota State Cross Country State Championship every year.

In 2011, Megan finished third overall and Bethany finished fourth overall. Then in 2012, Bethany finished third overall while Megan finished sixth overall. 

The duo’s success continued over the next three years from 2013 through 2015. First Bethany won and Megan took second place, then Megan won and Bethany took second and, finally, in 2015 Bethany won and Megan took second place.

“It’s exciting to see her do well, especially when I don’t have a good day,” Megan said. “When she’s a teammate, you just want the team to do well.”

The competitiveness between these sisters has always been incredibly close. When asked about it, Megan had to pause for a moment to retrace the results over the years. It is very uncommon for a runner to qualify for the state meet for five straight years, much less to place in the top five each of those years. The story of twin sisters doing that is not only uncommon, but practically unheard of.

In terms of collegiate goals, the Hasz twins are realistic, which head coach Sarah Hopkins said is important for the team’s success.

“We don’t want to overset our goals and we don’t want to undercut our goals,” said Hopkins.

In high school, the twins were recruited by the Michigan State University and the University of Oregon. However, the sisters took their lone official visit to Minnesota before committing to staying close to home to continue their academic and athletic careers. Both majoring in kinesiology, they are currently entering their junior years of competition for the Gophers in 2018. 

The pattern of trading roles on top has followed them to the collegiate courses, and in the start to the 2018 season at the Intrasquad Meet on Aug. 31. Megan Hasz finished first in a time of 18:32.2 with Bethany Hasz one second behind her as the runner-up in a time of 18:33.2. 

“For the team, I want everyone to continue working and closing gaps. While individually, I want to set the 6k program record, be in the top-three at the Big Ten [championships] meet and hopefully be an all-American. … I will always want to win, but I will always be incredibly happy for [Bethany] even if I do want to win.”