The Lake Stevens High School wrestling program has enjoyed considerable success in recent years and it’s due largely to athletes like Kelly Kubec.
In the two seasons spanning 2006, Kubec was about as good as he could be. In both years, he was virtually unbeatable, winning a Western Conference championship, a Class 4A Northwest District championship, and a Class 4A state championship.
About the only difference between the two seasons was the state title won by Lake Stevens this past season, the team’s fifth since 1990.
Kubec did his part. Wrestling at 130 pounds, Kubec won his first three matches via pins and then defeated Jared Sterling of Rogers of Puyallup 7-3 the championship match.
For Kubec, it was a season with just one blemish. He lost only to Michael Mangrum of Auburn-Riverside earlier in the season. Mangrum would go on to win the Class 3A state championship at 140 pounds, his second straight.
All this success did not come overnight for Kubec. He started wrestling when he was just 4 years old, and quickly discovered a knack and a love for the sport.
Longtime Lake Stevens wrestling coach Brent Barnes, who has seen plenty of superb wrestlers come through his program, said Kubec was ”great from Day 1.”
Indeed, once he reached high school, Kubec became an immediate star for the Vikings. In his four prep seasons, Kubec was a four-time Wesco champ, a four-time Northwest District champ and a three-time state champ (he placed third as a freshman).
Kubec’s lofty wrestling accomplishments are not limited to the local high school mats. Last summer, Kubec traveled to Fargo, N.D., where he competed in the Junior Nationals Wrestling Tournament. Against many of the premier young wrestlers in the United States, Kubec placed second in Greco-Roman and fourth in freestyle.
All these successes were obviously meaningful for Kubec’s future. He has accepted a scholarship (not full, but very close) to attend Oregon State University, where he will be part of the fine Beavers wrestling program.
According to Barnes, who spoke in an earlier interview, being a top wrestler ”has more to do with hard work than it does with talent. Kelly definitely got (his success) through hard work and by putting a lot of time in the sport.
”He’s highly motivated and he’s very hard working – not only as a wrestler, but as a student – and all that work has really paid off. He hasn’t rested. He’s continued to improve.”