By Holly Kitten
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Bryce Lamb was only five years old when he ran at his first track practice.
For him, the experience was far from fun.
"I got back to the car and told my mom I didn't want to run anymore," Lamb said. "It was just hard for me."
However, Lamb kept attending practice and, over the years, went from a small club team to the Chandler High School track team in Phoenix in 2005. During his career there, he was the Gatorade Athlete of the Year for two years and set the Arizona state records in long jump and triple jump.
As if those accomplishments were not enough, Lamb also made the U.S. Junior World Team in 2007 during his sophomore year. Lamb said he remembered placing eighth in the long jump and 12th in the triple jump at the event.
For him, it was a disappointment.
"I was devastated," Lamb said. "It just wasn't enough for me."
After being heavily recruited by both football and track coaches around the country during high school, Lamb committed to Texas Tech as a jumper for the track and field team in 2009.
Rock Light, Tech's associate head track and field coach, said he was glad Lamb chose to pursue track in college, especially for the Red Raiders.
"He was a great football player out of high school," Light, the jumps coach, said. "He was offered by probably every Pac-10 school and many of the Big 12 schools."
Lamb said he chose track because he had a greater passion for it than football. He said his family helped with the decision, too.
His cousin, Terra Evans, was already running as a sprinter for the TTU track team.
"When I came for my visit, she was my host," Lamb said. "That was a big part in it."
Then, Terra's sister, Taylor Evans, signed to run for Tech the same year as Lamb.
"Taylor told me she was coming here, so that just made it that much better and made me feel a lot more comfortable," Lamb said. "They're my second and third sisters."
During his freshman year, Lamb exceeded his coaches' expectations. Lamb set the Big 12 indoor meet record and the indoor school record in the long jump with a mark of 8.14M (26'-8.50"). He also set the indoor school record in the triple jump with a mark of 16.47M (54'-00.50").
At the end of the indoor and outdoor seasons, Lamb qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in both the long jump and triple jump. He said the experience was amazing.
"Once you walk into the building, the adrenaline starts flowing, and you're just ready to compete right then and there," Lamb said. "It's great. I'm looking to get back to it again."
By the end of his freshman year, Lamb won the Big 12 Indoor Performer of the Year, Freshman of the Year and collected the High Point Performer honor at the Big 12 Championships, making him the first Red Raider and first Big 12 student-athlete to win all three in a single season.
Lamb said the season was no more than another U.S. Junior World Championship, though - a disappointment.
"Last year was up and down," Lamb said. "Besides those great marks, I would say the season was a failure. I just didn't finish as well as I liked to."
Light said Lamb's perfection and determination is what makes him such a strong athlete.
"For him, it's never over till it's over," Light said.
Another characteristic Light said he sees in Lamb is his faith.
"He has a very strong faith," Light said. "First is God, then it's himself. That's the first thing about that young man that, to me, constantly separates him from others."
As a child, Lamb said he went to church often. His Grandma and mother taught him to give all the glory to God. Since then, Lamb said "For His Glory" became his motto and even has it as his signature for text messages.
"Everything is for His glory," Lamb said, "which means to do things the way He wants me to do them."
With his faith being a major influence in his college career, Lamb said he also looks up to professional athletes, which he researches on the Internet.
"I could sit at my computer for hours and YouTube every single long jumper there is," Lamb said. "Dwight Phillips to all the way back when, like Bob Beamon. I like to look at everybody and learn from their mistakes and the great things that they do.
"And I watch those videos time after time. I could tell you how long some of them are, down to the second. I could tell you what second it is when they take off from the board."
Outside from the computer, Lamb said he changed his training routine, in hopes of performing better this season. Instead of doing all his training with the jumpers like last year, this year he worked his off-season with the sprinters.
"I'm in a lot more shape," Lamb said. "I'm more fit. I have a lot more endurance."
Lamb said he hopes his new training will give him more strength throughout the entire season, especially at nationals.
"This year, I'm looking to be able to still have the great marks, but be able to do it also at nationalsnor at the U.S. Championships. Last year, at the end of my season, it was bad. So, I'm just looking to be able to compete at the high level throughout the year."
Lamb said he worked hard to prepare for a better season. Even if his preparations succeed though, Lamb said he will still have the mentality to improve.
After all, "improvement" has been his mentality since he was five years old at his first track practice.
"I'm not easily satisfied," Lamb said. "For me, being the athlete that I am, it's hard to please myself. I guess it's a gift and a curse at the same time."