UCLA recruits varsity athlete to their team

Junior baseball player will join the program after high school

Adria Cooper, Staff Reporter
Originally published November 27th, 2019

Junior Nate Leibold wearing the UCLA uniform during his official visit to the school. (Courtesy of Nate Leibold)

Junior Nate Leibold wearing the UCLA uniform during his official visit to the school. (Courtesy of Nate Leibold)

Junior pitcher and third baseman Nate Leibold is set to head south to Los Angeles. He recently made a verbal commitment to UCLA. While Leibold will not have a contract until his senior year, he has started the committing process.

While UCLA is the school that Leibold decided on, there were many more recruiting him, including University of Washington, Oregon State and University of Southern California.

With all these school after him, Leibold had some serious thinking to do. He came to the conclusion that he would attend UCLA.

“I just felt like I fit in best there and I know the reputation it has for baseball and academics in general,” Leibold said.

The UCLA baseball team historically is very highly ranked, and they are currently ranked sixth in the nation for the 2019 season by the NCAA, making them a worthy pick.

Kelan Scanlan plays baseball with Leibold and has known him for three years. He himself has had experience with the recruiting process and agrees with Leibold’s decision.

“It’s a great school, a great program. I think he knows he made the right choice,” Scanlan said.

Doug Montgomery is the school’s head baseball coach and has been able to watch Leibold develop as a player for three years and supports Leibold in his decision.

“UCLA has put several great pitchers into Major League Baseball so it will be a great opportunity for a kid all the way up here in the Northwest,” Montgomery said.

It’s no coincidence that Leibold received all this attention as he dedicates much of his time to staying in shape and getting better. Leibold spends at least 10 hours a week on practices and work outs. He also plays basketball, which helps him stay in shape during the off-season.

Leibold acknowledges that he couldn’t have gotten where he is on his own.

“My mom and dad have been super helpful just in everything. My friends have all been supportive. My coaches are super important,” Leibold said. “I wouldn’t be here without any of them.”

Leibold will continue to play for the school team while working to develop further for college. Montgomery has a plan to help Leibold prepare.

“It’s important that Nate knows how to work hard on his own and hold himself accountable, because no one’s there to hold your hand in college. You need to know how to prioritize your time and responsibilities, to balance baseball, school, and your personal life,” Montgomery said. “But Nate’s got a good head on his shoulders, so I shouldn’t have to do too much.”

As for his goals, Leibold will not end his aspirations at playing for UCLA. “I’d like to be in the MLB, it’s a dream,” Leibold said.