Dick Harmon: Waite's progress at BYU utterly stunning
But shortly after arriving in Eugene, Waite realized he did not fit in. He admits he was immature and struggled emotionally and spiritually. By the end of the year, he was exhausted and worn down.
"I try to keep certain standards and a lifestyle that is different than many others at Oregon and, a times, I didn't get much support," Waite said. "I struggled, it was hard, and I didn't feel comfortable."
In high school, his coach used to say, "Lets' go play track," and it was fun. At Oregon, track and his school life were not fun.
Waite left for his mission not knowing if he'd return to Oregon. On his mission, he talked to another missionary who ran track at BYU.
"He never recruited me or anything, but I started asking him questions about the program and coaches. The more I learned, I liked," said Waite.
Before long, he inquired about transferring from Oregon into the Cougars' camp.
"It was the best decision I could make. This is even better than I thought it would be," Waite said.
He calls Eyestone "the best coach in the NCAA" and a man who perfectly matches his personality.
Waite admits it was tough this fall to train after his mission ended in late September.
"I had to train by myself, I couldn't work out with the team. I had nobody to run with and push me," he said. "Coach Eyestone could give me advice and a list, but he couldn't supervise my training until January."
That's what makes Waite's time at Stanford so remarkable.
"Guys off missions, with the restrictions he had in the fall, aren't supposed to do this well; they usually struggle. But it speaks to his talent," said Robison.
"He has very good leg speed, but not tremendous leg speed," said Eyestone. "But his strength is his strength, and he can finish strong. He runs a 48-second 400 meters, and many of the elite 800-meter runners run a 47 seconds.
"But he is very focused and goal oriented. To show how determined he is, he ran 1:50.00 and set a goal of running 1:47. In a very short time, he did exactly that, cutting 2.5 seconds off of his 800 time. That shows the power of being positive and setting goals, accepting the system, coaching and his work ethic."
Today, Waite gears up for workouts with a smile on his face. He goes out and plays track.
"It's come back to me again," he says.
It certainly has.
Top Ten BYU 800 Men
Name Year Time
1. Agberto Guimaraes 1980 1:46.50
2. Mao Tjiroze 2001 1:47.28
3. Alan Schultz 1975 1:47.3
4. Ryan Waite 2010 1:47.54
5. Steve Bergeson 1969 1:47.7
6. Russ Muir 1989 1:47.99
7. Jason Pyrah 1992 1:48.04
8. Zenas Moreno 1978 1:48.7
9. Chad Simkins 2003 1:48.74
10. Devoe Whatley 1987 1:48.84
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