Nebraska shot putter Burger Lambrechts Jr. has been throwing the shot put, or a ball of some sort, basically since he was 2 years old.
That’s not a normal first sport for a 2-year-old to pick up, but in the Lambrechts’ home, it was a livelihood.
“I can’t even remember when I started shot put,” he said. “By the time I had a memory, I had a technique already.”
His father was a two-time Olympian for South Africa in the shot put.
Unlike some sons of athletes, the younger Lambrechts said his dad didn’t force him into anything with athletics, but he did coach.
“I’ve heard of some people that have had trouble with their parents coaching them,” Lambrechts said. “We never had any problems. We were always on the same page as far as what was going on in practice. Two-time Olympian, he probably knows what he is doing. That’s probably the problem with other people, they can be like, ‘What do you know?’ Well, he knows.”
Burger Lambrechts threw at Western Michigan for one year in 1996, when he made a connection with his throwing coach, Scott Cappos. That connection had a lasting impact on his family, especially his son when he was being recruited in South Africa.
When the younger Lambrechts started looking at colleges in the United States, Cappos, now the Nebraska throws coach, reached out to his old connection.
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“He reached out to me and even came out to South Africa for my last national championships,” Lambrechts said. “I just thought if he was that dedicated, I would just choose Nebraska. I didn’t even come on a visit.”
Lambrechts came to Lincoln in July for summer training, but said there was a little bit of an awakening when winter arrived.
“I had never seen snow until I had got here,” he said. “I called my sister (Ilke) and was video calling her in the middle of a bunch of students. Everybody was looking at me like, ‘What is this guy doing?’”
The change in climate and culture has definitely been an adjustment for the Husker sophomore, but he said his comfort and confidence just keep rising, making him a better thrower.
After what he called a “disappointing year” in 2017-18, Lambrechts took fourth place in the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February.
“I was leading a lot of the competition, but I knew what was coming,” he said. “To be honest, I was surprised how far into the competition I was leading. I was getting my hopes up and going into the final round I was in second, then two guys had long throws that passed me. I feel like there’s a lot more there.”
That room for growth will be put to the test as Nebraska hosts the Husker Spring Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Ed Weir Stadium. Friday’s competition is set to start at 4 p.m.