March 8, 2013
BERKELEY - Jacob Wark chose not to live the life of leisure during his time at Cal. The native of Tualatin, Oregon is a rare multi-sport student-athletes in college athletics these days, playing wide receiver for the California football team and right field for the Golden Bear baseball team.
On most days, his schedule allows him to not get too overloaded in either sport. However, on some days like Friday, Wark wakes up to a busy day ahead of him.
Wark's Friday began at 8 a.m. with breakfast before heading to Evans Diamond. After helping his teammates remove the tarp off the field, taking some batting practice and going thru his regular pregame routine, Wark hit the field and helped the Bears defeated Fresno State, 8-1, going 1-for-2 with a run scored. He also was intentionally walked and hit by a pitch, which was maybe a prerequisite for his evening activities.
While his baseball teammates were done for the day, Wark's day was only halfway finished.
"It's pretty tough being out in the sun all day at baseball, playing a nine-inning game and then heading to football afterwards," Wark said. "But I love football and I love baseball, this is what I love to do, so there really isn't any stress in my mind about it."
Following a quick shower and a quick postgame meal, Wark hopped on his scooter and trekked up the hill to Memorial Stadium. Upon arriving, he got his ankles taped, went to his position meeting, put on his shoulder pads and hit the field yet again for football practice.
"Baseball is more of a mental game, but coming out here on the football field, it's both physical and mental. You just have to stay in shape and stay mentally tough. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I had to keep my head in it, watch the guys ahead of me getting reps and luckily I made it through the day with no injuries and I had a great time."
Finally around 8:30 p.m., following a some post-practice media interviews, Wark's day came to an end.
Would there be an encore?
"I'm feeling pretty tired, it's been a long day," Wark said. "After a long day of baseball and having a lot of fun out here on the football field, I'm ready to hit the sack. I hit a wall when we started the team period tonight. With all the running around I've been doing all day, I'll be in good shape, that's all I know."
Most student-athletes choose a single sport they want to pursue in college, but Wark's passion for both football and baseball led him to choose this packed schedule. He, of course, has academic responsibilities on his plate, as well. But Wark wouldn't want to spend his time at Cal any other way.
"God blessed me with the athletic ability that I have, and I didn't want to sell myself short," Wark said. "Having the opportunity to play two sports at the college level and coming to a historic university like Cal with great programs like the Cal football and baseball teams, this was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up."
A major factor that helps Wark is having the support of his teammates and coaches from both teams. When he's on the diamond, his football teammates come out to support him. When he's on the gridiron, his baseball teammates are cheering him on.
Even the head coaches, football's Sonny Dykes and baseball's David Esquer, couldn't be happier that Wark made the decision to pursue both sports.
"They were ecstatic about it," Wark said. "I talked to coach Esquer about it and he said that he'd love to have me play baseball. I sat down with coach Esquer and coach Dykes before baseball season started and I made sure that it was still alright with both of them that I played both. Coach Dykes was on board with it, and they've both fully supported me the whole way. I really appreciate them giving me this opportunity."
After Friday evening's football workout Dykes, a former college baseball player himself at Texas Tech in the early 1990's, talked about Wark's day.
"It's pretty amazing," Dykes said. "They had a big win today, he practiced tonight. I'm sure he's worn out. It's got to be physically and mentally taxing on him, but he's a tough kid and he's really done a good job with handling all of that this spring. He's come out and practiced hard the days when we've had him, and I know he's doing a good job with the baseball team."
Family is very important to Wark and when he does finally get to take a break and relax he spends his limited free time catching up with his them on the phone and Skype.
Just like how family is important to Wark, his commitment to succeed is important to Cal and his supporters in the Cal community couldn't be happier with his drive and determination to excel as a Bear.
Cal's next spring football workout is scheduled for Saturday at Memorial Stadium from 1 - 3:30 p.m. PT. All practices are open to the public and free of charge. Fans should enter the stadium through Gate 1 on the north end, where they will be directed onto the concourse level and into available seating in the lower area of sections EE, F, FF and G. Fans are not allowed onto the field.
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for Wark, the baseball squad hosts Fresno State at the same exact time Saturday in the third game of a four-game series. If he could be in two places at the same time he probably would but on Saturday you would need to make a trek down to Evans Diamond to catch Wark in action.
Cal's spring practices will conclude with the 2013 Cal Football Spring Game to be televised live by the Pac-12 Networks on Saturday, March 23 (4 p.m. PT).
In addition to attending practices, fans can visit the 2013 Spring Football Central page throughout spring ball for a complete practice schedule, fan information and a wide array of additional content including blog entries, videos, features and much more.
Visit the official Cal Athletics Facebook page for a chance to win prizes each day leading up to the spring game.
For 2013 ticket information, visit CalBears.com or call (800) GO-BEARS.
DYKES COMMENTS FROM POST-GAME MEDIA SESSION
The team's situation at quarterback
2013 CAL FOOTBALL REMAINING SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE