From smoothe, rolling Tallahassee hills and Florida sunshine to steep mountain cliffs and snow skiing, so will be Ryan Deak's transition over the next few months.
Following this academic semester at Maclay School, the Deaks will be packing up and moving out from their North Florida home to a place up in Colorado's Rocky Mountains. And don't think for a second this has anything to do with the recent incident at Maclay, resulting in Ryan's running the remainder of the season unattached.
"This isn't a result of the whole Maclay thing," Ryan's father Bob Deak says, "this has been in the cards for a while now. We talked it over with Gary (Droze, coach at Maclay) in February, so he knew this was Ryan's last semester here."
The move is more of a financial decision than anything else. Although the elder Deak says he would like just as much for Ryan to attend a school like Villanova or Georgetown, Ryan has had his heart set on running at Colorado, under the legendary Coach Wetmore, for years. "Just like some kids want to be a doctor or lawyer," Bob explains, "Ryan just wants to run for Colorado! Ever since he read that book a few years ago (Running with the Buffaloes)... He's just 100% set on it."
So why the need to move out to Colorado before Ryan's graduation? Well out-of-state college rates aren't exactly cheap--and scholarships are a luxary. At a program where the likes of Ryan Deak may only get a half-ride at best, the $10,000 for tuition alone was a pretty daunting chunk of change.
"We really didn't want the money situation to end up determining where Ryan went to school. So over the Christmas break we talked about it and by January we had made up our minds that we needed to move out there and establish residency."
The family will be making the big altitude jump as soon as the Ryan's junior year is complete. On May 1 Bob Deak will make the trip to Colorado to survey the area in order to find a rental home where the family will spend their first year in the state.
Although Ryan has one more year left of his high school career, his days of high school competitions are over. Next year in Colorado Ryan will be going to school, training at the new oxygen-depleted altitude, and competing in non-high school affiliated races where he can.
Look for Ryan to jump in a few national races this spring such as Seminole Twilight, Golden South, Golden West, Adidas Outdoors, and USATF Junior Nationals in Palo Alto. The next 18 months will be an interesting time for the Deak as he looks to continue to pound the miles and sharpen his skills until he finally realizes his dreams in 2004 of running with the Buffaloes.