Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Whoever said genetics is what makes two people related, never met Kyle Wait and Tommy Brady. According to these teammates, blood couldn't make their bond stronger.
Wait and Brady grew up in Gardner, Kan., exactly four houses away from one another where their houses were first and second built on the street.
"Our parents taught together in the same school district, so we've been around each other since we were toddlers," said Brady.
Wait is a junior at Kansas State and the older of the two. When Wait entered seventh grade and was old enough to compete on his middle school track team, pole vault became his specialty. A year later, he found himself convincing his best friend to compete in a sport he'd never tried.
"When I got into middle school, Kyle was already pole vaulting and loved it, so he told me to give it a shot. Of course I agreed to do so because he was doing it," explains Brady. "I guess it just stuck."
Wait and Brady both lettered all four years of their high school careers at Gardner-Edgerton High School. Wait finished third at the state championship as a junior with a vault of 15-00.00, and capped his senior year off by winning the state championship with a vault of 15-06.00. Brady's accolades include helping the team to a regional championship and reaching a personal best of 15-03.00 in pole vault.
"Being able to witness Kyle win the state championship when I was a junior, is my best track memory with Kyle. It was great because his sister also won state that year as well, and in the regional meets previous to that one, Kyle and I both placed," said Brady.
It is never easy paving the way for someone younger than you, but Wait explains how Brady influences him on and off the track.
"What I mostly admire about Tommy is the way he manages his life. He has a great social life. The way his manages his time is just amazing," explains Wait. "He's taking extremely hard classes like calculus and other math classes, so he's always pushing me to be a better student. He actually wants to be a high school math teacher."
Their age difference is never a barrier between these two. They act as brothers on and off the track, and both have said this is what makes them better athletes.
Stepping away from the track, Wait expressed a few other goals that did not involve pole vaulting.
"I am a wildlife and outdoor enterprises management major, so there are a lot of things I have thought about doing," Wait says. "For example, I would like to manage a hunting or wildlife reserve in our area. I would also like to raise pheasants."
Over the course of the two full years Wait has competed for K-State, he has been constantly improving. Following his progression from his 2011 indoor season what he placed ninth at the Big 12 Championship with a mark of 5.00 meters (16-04.75), this past May at the outdoor Big 12 Championship with home advantage, Wait rose to victory hitting a mark of 5.31 meters (17-06.50). His win was the first men's outdoor conference championship in pole vault since 1946 and first overall since 1981.
It is only expected that he continue to improve over his last two years at K-State, which he has done, as he is currently ranked No. 8 in the NCAA this season with his vault of 5.40 meters (17-08.50) at the Wildcat Invitational.
Wait's right hand man, Tommy Brady, has only competed one full year at Kansas State. In his 2012 indoor season, he marked a best of 4.60 meters (15-01.00) tying for fourth at the KSU Open. During his outdoor season that year, his marks continued to rise, allowing him to place and make his face and name known for the seasons to come.
In his sophomore campaign so far, Brady has continued to raise the bar for himself. When Wait moved into second place in school history and attempted to break the school record at the Wildcat Invitational, Brady improved his personal best mark up to 4.80 meters (15-09.00).
With the work ethic the friends described of each other, it will be no shock to hear Kyle Wait and Tommy Brady's name more often as time rolls and they continue to train and seek improvement together.
"We do have a little competition on the track. Tommy does everything perfect and always does what he is supposed to do when he's training. His work ethic is like no other. So, it pushes me to work just as hard, or harder. Off the track we're the best of friends again just hanging out," said Wait of their on-the-track relationship.
"I actually look up to Kyle. I've always watched what he's done in track and basketball, and have tried to do what he does, because he is so good," mentions Brady.
Wait explained that every season the jumpers individually sit down with assistant coach Kyle Hierholzer to discuss their short-term and long-term goals.
"Outside of track, I really love volleyball. My dad was the coach at my high school, so I have always liked the game. I have even thought about playing sand volleyball somewhere," Wait jokingly says.
If Wait did pursue sand volleyball, Brady hinted it may be something he would follow his best friend in as well.
As teammates, Wait and Brady automatically share a bond to better one another in pole vault. From toddlers to teammates, there is nothing that could separate these two. Being like brothers to one another is the reason why Kansas State is the perfect fit because this school is all about family.