By Taylor Fortney
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
For a short period of time, one stands slightly above the rest. The tallest block on the podium reserved for the athlete who performed better than everyone else in the field. Athletes around the world strive to reach that goal, bow to receive their medal, and soak in the view from the top.
Texas Tech senior jumper Bryce Lamb knows the view well. It’s the same view he took in twice in the past three months, first in March as the NCAA National Champion for indoor triple jump, and again in May as the Big 12 outdoor long jump champion.
“Its amazing,” Lamb said. “It’s been a great season, and I have been able to capitalize on a lot of things, and come out with two championships, and hopefully get two more.”
Along with winning multiple championships, Lamb has been tearing through the Texas Tech record books, holding school records in Outdoor Long Jump, Indoor Long Jump, and Indoor Triple Jump.
“My goal was to go to nationals and become an All-American,” Lamb said. “But to also get those school and personal records so that when I leave, people will say he was a great guy and one of the best we’ve had here [at Tech].”
Texas Tech track and field coach Wes Kittley credits the goal accomplished.
“There haven’t been a lot of seniors who are leaders and have been there and done it like he has.” Kittley said.
Kittley believes a big reason for Lamb’s success is his health. Throughout the period of Lamb’s time at Tech, nagging injuries have been a major factor keeping him from realizing his full potential, most notably last outdoor season. Those injuries are gone now.
“He’s healthier than he’s ever been, and that’s been probably the biggest difference for him,” Kittley said. “We’ve never been able to work him like we’ve wanted to in the spring, but this year has been different. We’re just so thankful that he stayed healthy and performed like we always knew he could.”
Kittley further credits Lamb’s success to not only physical talent, but also the intangibles.
“He’s a very talented athlete,” Kittley said. “But he knows he is the best jumper in the field, and he has had the opportunity to go get it done.”
That confidence is contagious, and it has filtered through to the rest of the team.
“It gives the team confidence that Bryce is leading us,” Kittley said. “When you have a national champion on your team, it just gives everyone a different perspective, and he is able to carry that for the team.”
Lamb welcomes that role, and looks to make an impact with the younger Red Raiders.
“It’s great to have seniors because every year there are going to be freshman, and having seniors of both sorts (four-year and transfers), it shows the younger guys what they should strive for,” Lamb said. “We made nationals last year, and it shows younger guys and recruits that they can get there too, and do better.”
Lamb went on to note the relationship between improving the individual and improving the team.
“Its tough because [track and field] being an individual-team sport, you want to do well for your team,” Lamb said. “But you know that if you better yourself, it will always benefit the team.”
Success has translated, with the Men and Lady Red Raiders being ranked 16th and 20th in the nation, respectively. The men finished third in the Big 12 conference championships, led by Lamb’s first placed jump. Lamb isn’t resting on his title, however.
“Those records help drive you to say, ‘this year I jumped this far, but next year I want to jump farther,’ and that’s what we all look forward too,” Lamb said.
The rest of the track and field world is taking notice. Following the Big 12 conference meet, Lamb is ranked No. 1 in the long jump and No. 4 in the triple jump, both in the west region.
Lamb is a six-time All-American, three-time Big 12 Champion, and a national champion, while holding three school records.
“I’m just trying to put my stamp on it,” Lamb said.
Consider it stamped.