GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Their collegiate days are fast approaching, but for a pair of incoming Fighting Hawks, significant prep honors continue to pile up.
Earlier this month, freshman Josh Pillath was named TIMESLand Athlete of the Year in the state of Wisconsin by the Peshtigo Times for the second straight year while fellow freshman Destinee Haas was named a MileSplit All-American.
The two major awards are the latest reflection of the high-caliber student-athletes being recruited to the University of North Dakota by head track and field coach Kevin Galbraith and his staff.
Last season, UND junior thrower Molli Detloff became the program’s first All-American since the University transitioned to NCAA Division I competition prior to the 2008-09 season. Detloff was also named the Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Meet at the conference’s outdoor championship, another first for the program.
Pillath, a multi-sport and multi-event standout, was just the third athlete to win TIMESLand Athlete of the Year twice. The other two? His grandfather, former NFL player Roger Pillath (1959, 1960), and his uncle, Jerry Pillath (1963, 1964).
Josh won the 2017 state championship in both the 110-meter high hurdles (14.95 seconds) and 300-meter intermediate hurdles (38.76). He was also the state runner-up in the discus and placed eighth in the high jump. Pillath also starred in wrestling and basketball for Coleman High School.
“I'm thrilled to have a talent like Josh joining us at UND,” said UND assistant coach Joe Silvers, who oversees the multi and jumping events for the Fighting Hawks. “His work ethic, drive, and passion for track are what every coach is looking for.
“He will make an immediate impact for us in several events and has the potential to be a player on the national stage in the decathlon.”
Haas, meanwhile, was tabbed a third-team MileSplit All-American in the discus.
A graduate of Baldwin-Woodville High School, Haas was the 2017 Wisconsin runner-up in the discus after having claimed the state championship as a junior. She topped out at 169 feet, 2 inches during her senior season, seven feet better than the throw that won her the state title as a junior.
“Destinee has a ton of upside,” said UND throws coach Drew Jones.
“She will need to make some technical changes and work hard to add strength in the weight room. Once those things start to happen, she will be a force for UND throws in both the Big Sky and the Summit League,” continued Jones.
Pillath, Haas and the Fighting Hawks will open the indoor season in December.