Chewelah’s Kubik and Baker sign with colleges…
Two Chewelah Cougars are moving on to the next level. Recently Wade Baker and Zakary Kubik both signed letters of intent to play athletics at the collegiate level. Baker signed with Waldorf College of the NAIA to play football and track, while Kubik signed with Walla Walla College of the NWAC.
Baker, the standout defensive and offensive lineman for the Chewelah Cougars this year, helped his team reach the State 2B Quarterfinals and is also a strong track athlete for the Cougars. His 6’5’ 294-pound frame got some attention from college coaches, and he clogged the interior of opposing offenses and kept the riffraff away from Chewelah quarterback Jake Jeanneret.
“Waldorf University has a really positive, overall atmosphere,” Baker said. “Everyone is really welcoming. For example, I met with one of the biology professors, and he was interested in my plan for my future career.”
Baker, who plans on majoring in criminal justic with a minor in biology, thought is was great that the professor was already setting out a road plan so Baker can eventually become a game warden.
“Like a lot of schools, Waldorf has a really good academic support program open to all students,” he said. “Seventy-five percent of the student body is involved in a sport, so the academic system is set up to help us be successful.”
Baker began his junior year signing up with NCSA to get his name out to college coaches. Baker was filmed at most of his track meets and Waldorf Track and Field Coach Kregel contacted Wade and told him she was interested in helping Baker reach his full potential in their program.
Football also was a priority, and over the summer, Baker attended a lineman camp at Montana State where Wade wanted to attend. They watched Baker’s film from last year which Chewelah Head Coach Cameron Gump worked really hard to get together.
“I sent the early season highlights to a lot of schools I thought would be a good fit for me – Montana State, Eastern Oregon, Montana-Western, College of Idaho and Waldorf,” Baker said. “Waldorf gave me the most constructive criticism on my game, and Coach Kregel emailed me and said based upon my athleticism shown in football, both she and Waldorf offensive line coach Roehrich wanted me to join the athletic department there.”
Baker visited the campus and enoyed the school, coaches and town.
“I am excited to have coaches who will help me grow as an athlete,” Baker said. “Specifically for football, I know I will get great coaching in my position and the coaches see a place for me in the lineup for the longterm.”
In track, Kregel said Baker should be able to score points right away in track meets at Waldorf, and wanted to develop him into being an NAIA All-American by the time he graduates.
“I know I will get stronger and faster with their strength and conditioning program,” Baker said. “They have very nice facilities, and the whole school is focused on helping athletes be successful on the field and in the classroom.”
Baker said he will miss Chewelah football after the great run they had this year and the brotherhood they built in previous years.
“We all worked together so well and had great success in the end because of this bond,” Baker said. “The coaches always believed in me, even when I was an underdeveloped freshman.”
In track, Baker said he enjoyed competing with all his friends and being able to see improvements in himself and his teammates.
At the same table, Chewelah senior all-state first baseman Zakary Kubik also signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Walla Walla College. Kubik has been a lights-out hitter for the Cougars through the years and one can pretty much depend on him getting a hit at a Chewelah baseball game like it’s expected to snow in NE Washington during the winter.
“I remember watching baseball on TV and asking my parents how do I get there,” Kubik said. “They told me that you’re need to go play at the college level to get you education and then go from there. It takes discipline, dedication and hard work.”
Baseball is in Kubik’s blood, he started swinging a bat about the time he was able to walk. His parents started pitching to him at age two, and they never left the house without an orange cone used for a hitting tee and a bucket of balls.
“I spent many hours outside hitting rocks with a stick as well,” Kubik said. “When my brother Lukas got old enough we worked on hitting drills, grounders and pop flies every night that we could. We would wait for my parents everyday to get home from work to have a family whiffle ball game before dinner.”
During little league, Kubik said he really caught the baseball bug and realized what he wanted to do. He couldn’t wait to be a Chewelah Cougar as the program had a good reputation.
Kubik said he was fortunate to have great coaches and teammates through the years and is proud to call himself a Cougar.
Kubik started an online FieldLevel account his sophomore year which allows college coaches to search for potential players from all levels.
Chewelah baseball coach Sawyer Bardwell was able to to promote Kubik at colleges and personally contacted college coaches and reccomend him.
“I also sent out emails to college coaches with my stats and videos,” Kubik said. “It was definitely a joint effort and I can’t thank my parents and coach Bardwell enough for their support.”
Kubik started to get a few followers on his Field Level account and then coaches began contacting him about workouts.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Kubik said. “Like I couldn’t believe it. I was nervous but knew that I would perform and do well.”
Kubik picked Walla Walla because of their great reputation as a baseball program and academics. The NWAC, which has schools like the Community Colleges of Spokane in its ranks is known for high level baseball and sending players to four year schools and beyond.
“I had the opportunity to play in Walla Walla this past summer with the Triple A Spokane Northstars team I played on,” Kubik said. “I really liked the town. When I went down in the fall for a workout and campus tour I fell in love with it. The coaching staff and the team were great and it just felt like a great fit for me. I knew right there this is where I wanted to go. “
Kubik said he’s looking forward to working hard and getting better as a player while also meeting new people and growing as a person.