Kamiak High School graduate Jean-Luc Baker, right, and partner Kaitlyn Hawayek perform during the Ice Dance Free Dance program at the Grand Prix Skate America Series on Oct. 23, 2022, in Norwood, Mass. The pair are extending their break from competition through the rest of this season. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Kamiak High School graduate Jean-Luc Baker, right, and partner Kaitlyn Hawayek perform during the Ice Dance Free Dance program at the Grand Prix Skate America Series on Oct. 23, 2022, in Norwood, Mass. The pair are extending their break from competition through the rest of this season. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Community roundup: Local Olympian extends break, will miss nationals

Also, an Edmonds-Woodway High School alum signs an NFL futures deal, former area stars shine on the hardwood and the Silvertips ink a prospect.

Jean-Luc Baker won’t be competing at this weekend’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Baker, a Kamiak High School graduate and 2022 Olympian in ice dancing, announced last week that he and his partner Kaitlin Hawayek are extending their break from competition through the end of the season, meaning they won’t take part at nationals in Columbus, Ohio.

In October Hawayek and Baker withdrew from their Grand Prix of Figure Skating events, citing a concussion suffered by Baker during training. At the time they said they hoped to be able to return for nationals.

However, the duo posted on Instagram that, “After taking some time to reflect over the last few months, we have made the tough decision to take a step back from competing for the remainder of the season and reevaluate our options for future seasons.”

This is the second straight national championships Hawayek and Baker have missed for physical and mental health reasons. The duo were bronze medalists at nationals every year from 2019-22, then placed 11th at the 2022 Olympics. Baker was named The Herald’s 2021-22 Man of the Year in Sports.

Gaye signs futures contract with NFL’s Texans

Edmonds-Woodway High School graduate Ali Gaye signed a futures contract with the NFL’s Houston Texans, indicating he’s in the team’s plans for the offseason.

Gaye, a 6-foot-6, 265-pound defensive end, is coming off his rookie season in the NFL. He was signed by Houston as a non-drafted free agent last spring and spent the entire season as a member of the Texans’ practice squad.

Signing a futures contract makes Gaye eligible to be a part of Houston’s 90-man offseason roster.

Battle shines in upset of No. 3 Kansas

Marysville Pilchuck High School graduate RaeQuan Battle, now a senior guard on the West Virginia University men’s basketball team, played a starring role as the Mountaineers upset third-ranked Kansas 91-85 Saturday in Morgantown, West Virginia.

Battle scored a team-high 23 points, shooting 7-for-14 from the field — including 3-for-7 from 3-point range — and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds, with the biggest of those being an offensive rebound with 38 seconds remaining while the Mountaineers clung to an 82-81 advantage.

Since being declared eligible in December, Battle is averaging 19.5 points and 4.9 rebounds through eight games. West Virginia (7-11) is 3-5 in games with Battle in the lineup.

Williams named NWAC Player of the Week

Jackson High School graduate Sylas Williams, now a freshman forward on the Skagit Valley College men’s basketball team, was named the Northwest Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for Jan. 8-14.

Williams averaged 17.5 points and 19.5 rebounds as the Cardinals racked up convincing victories over Shoreline and Olympic.

Williams is averaging 15.9 points and an NWAC-leading 15.1 rebounds for Skagit Valley (17-1 overall, 2-1 North Region), which is the top-ranked team in the NWAC coaches poll. The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season Saturday in a 107-103 overtime loss at Edmonds.

Silvertips sign prospect Cooper

The Everett Silvertips signed prospect forward Owen Cooper to a WHL scholarship and development agreement, committing Cooper’s future to the organization.

The 15-year-old Cooper was selected by Everett in the sixth round of the 2023 prospects draft. The 5-foot-6, 141-pound native of Calgary, Alberta, is playing this season for the Edge School U18 Prep team, with which he has eight goals and 16 assists in 21 games. He’s also suited up twice with Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Cooper is eligible to join Everett full-time beginning next season.

If you have an item for the community sports roundup, email Nick Patterson at npatterson@heraldnet.com.

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