Lambdin knows way to San Jose
There is a short list of reasons why people run: Some run to lose weight or release stress; others run to compete, prepare themselves for another sport or enjoy the beauty of an area.
Watching Kate Lambdin run, there is no hiding the fact that she loves the simple exercise that is the foundation for almost all other sports.
That genuine love of running has become the South Tahoe High senior’s ticket to covering some of the cost of her higher education. Lambdin, a four-year all-state runner for the Vikings, has signed a letter of intent to attend San Jose State University and will compete for the Spartans’ women’s cross country team next fall.
“She’s a natural distance runner and she loves to run, she loves to run races, that is obvious,” said San Jose State cross country coach Augie Argabright. “She will be a really great fit with our program.”
Running comforted Lambdin last summer when her family lost their Mount Olympia Circle home in the Angora fire. Lambdin resumed her workouts following the disaster, giving her a piece of normalcy from her former life.
“A very rewarding feeling to see her reach her goals after her loss this past summer … testimony to the character she has brought to her running,” said Dan Wilvers, who coached Lambdin during all four of her seasons at STHS. “Kate, above all else, chooses to find the positive things to spend her energies on. (She) doesn’t cry over spilled milk.”
Argabright learned of Lambdin’s character this summer when the recruiting package he sent her was returned to his San Jose State office. Confused, Argabright tried to reach Lambdin by phone.
“She told me, ‘My house burned down,’ and she was real calm about it. It was just amazing,” said Argabright, who launched the Spartans’ cross country program back in 1995.
Looking back, Lambdin said running gave her an outlet following her family’s misfortune.
“That helped motivate me a lot, to get out of the house and have fun with my friends,” said Lambdin, who added that her family hopes to move into their rebuilt house May 1.
Once the season began, the pressure of running for a future in college sports only seemed to make Lambdin better. In many races, Lambdin finished a close second to her much-more celebrated teammate, Kelsey Smith. She really opened some eyes in October when she finished 10th in a star-studded Stanford Invitational field.
At the state meet, Lambdin nearly surged past regional champion Whitney Lindsey of Douglas before settling into third place – her best postseason result.
“The most impressive stat is her consistency,” Wilvers said. “Never, I repeat never, did Kate have a bad cross country race. Never. An amazing stat.”
Lambdin strongly considered attending Long Beach State, where Wilvers’ son, Hudson, is a senior. In the end, Lambdin preferred the college that had a campus atmosphere.
“I felt more comfortable at San Jose,” Lambdin said. “It’s more of an urban school. I like how the school is situated; it’s smaller and not spread out as it is at Long Beach. I’m going to be living in the dorms for one year, and if I went to Long Beach, (the campus) would be closed on the weekends. It’s a commuter school.”
Lambdin was also comfortable with her new coach.
“The coach has a lot of experience, a lot like my coaches at STHS,” Lambdin said.
Lambdin is one of five freshman recruits that will swell Argabright’s women’s roster to 25. Although she lacks college seasoning, Argabright doesn’t doubt that Lambdin can contribute right away.
“With her, she can do a lot of running at high altitude during the summer,” Argabright said. “She can make an instant impact on our team athletically and academically.”
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