Lambert on a throwing roll

Lambert on a throwing roll

By Jack Robinson


Saluki throws coach John Smith said he describes senior thrower J.C. Lambert in two words: old school.

“He could have been on my team,” he said. “There are only three or four athletes out here that could have thrown with us in the 1980s, and he is one of those guys.”


Lambert has accomplished several feats this year. Most recently, he was nominated March 27 as Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week after his 67.09-meter toss broke a university and conference hammer throw record during the Vanderbilt Black and Gold meet in Nashville, Tenn.

Lambert said his training has been intense, and strength plays a big factor to how well he throws in meets.

“I’ve been doing good weight lifting, getting stronger and maintaining that throughout the season,” he said. “I have been throwing as far as I can through practice. I’ve been working on different techniques and speed with heavier implements.”

Smith said Lambert has surpassed the team’s expectations for him this year.

“For what has happened to him the past couple of years, for him to come out and throw 220 this quickly, he is ahead of where we thought he was,” he said. “He is setting personal records every week at least four or five times a week with different weighted balls.”

Unlike last year, Lambert is going into the season at full health and is confident he can stay healthy.

“I have been sick the past couple years and I discovered it was Rocky Mountain (spotted) fever so, I got that taken care of and I am good now,” he said. “So far I have been healthy and my energy has been good and I have really been able to train hard with the hammer since February.”


Lambert said a hammer-throw win at nationals tops his agenda this season after last year’s second-place finish.

“Right now I’m third in the nation, but if I had a big throw it would be around the first,” he said. “I’m pretty confident once we get to the end of the season that I’ll be in top shape and be able to contend for a national championship.”

Lambert has seen ample success in his SIU career after he has qualified for nationals five times in both the indoor and outdoor championships. He has earned National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American and All-MVC honors in 2012, 2011 and 2009. He placed second during last year’s outdoor nationals as he fell short 2.5 inches in the finals.

For teammate sophomore thrower Kyle Walker, Lambert is just as much a coach as he is a teammate.

“J.C. coaches all of us a little bit. He focuses more on the specifics of what we need to work on,” Walker said. “The more he sees success and the more he feels everything, the more he is able to translate that into helping us as his teammates.”

Smith said team success is apparent considering its competitiveness this year.

“When you have a group of athletes, people rise up and get better just because of practice everyday,” he said. “They see what the other person is doing in practice and it forms a natural competition all the time, which carries over into the meets.”

Lambert said the throws team is always testing one another on a daily basis.

“The people on the team do our best to push each other into competition,” he said “We have two guys who are about the same in the hammer throw and other guys that are good as well and everybody pushes each other.”

Coach Smith said he has never seen a hammer thrower quite like Lambert.

“He is going to end up the best hammer thrower I have ever had,” he said. “His dad brought him up tough, and that’s what it takes to be good in the sport.”

Lambert looks to continue his undefeated campaign when he competes Saturday at the Joey Haines Invitational in Cape Giradrdeau, MO.