It has been a long road to semi-state for Lamb
It was only natural that Dosson Lamb became a runner.
Lamb, a sophomore at Sullivan High School, is the first Sullivan boys cross country runner to advance to the semi-state in 15 years. He advanced out of the Terre Haute Sectional and Bedford North Lawrence Regional on Saturday.
“When my dad used to run, I would run with him during his cool down,” Dossan said of his father Clint Lamb, who also ran in the semi-state in 1996 at the Indiana University golf course. “I have been running as long as I can remember.
“I was in the third grade when I ran my first seven-minute mile. I did it on the track during football practice. When I made it, I was crying. There were all these players clapping and wondering who this kid is.
“I figured out at an early age that I liked to run.”
Dossan is 5-7 and weighs 105 pounds.
“I don’t have a ton of muscle,” he said. “Bigger kids may have strength and size, but I can outthink them.”
Lamb started running with the junior high team when he was a fourth-grader.
“I would wear a yellow shirt and they would put me in the race,” said Lamb.
In the fifth grade, he finished 10th in the Western Indiana Conference meet.
“I was 10th until they found out I was just in fifth grade,” said Lamb.
A year later, he was No. 2 runner behind Shane Garner and was in the same predicament in seventh grade, running by current teammate Riley Smith.
“I competed with Shane Garner, but he was No. 1,” said Lamb. “I was No. 2 all over again the next year to Riley.”
In his eighth-grade season, Lamb broke the school record as he got stronger and developed his love for running.
“That’s really when my love for running started to grow,” he said.
In 2017, Lamb was prepared for his first season of running in high school, but his health held him back.
He had breathing issues that caused him to pass out and have seizures.
“I only got to run in two races,” he said. “It was very disappointing and kind of a downer.
“Even though my problems were attributed to breathing, it could have been somewhat mental.”
Lamb said he had a great summer, putting in about 200 miles to prepare for his sophomore season.
He was running behind Smith early in the season, but started to show significant improvement as he ran No. 1 for the Golden Arrows at the Shakamak Invitational, WIC, sectional and regional.
“Dossan put in a lot of miles this summer,” said Sullivan coach Samantha Unger. “He worked hard all season with some ups and downs along the way.
“Here at the end of the season, he has been looking pretty strong. He went after it at the regional and he finished sixth, I think, as an individual outside of the top teams. He started slowly, but got the ground made up quickly and finished strong.”
Lamb finished 31st overall at BNL with a time of 17 minutes and 27 seconds, a personal best.
“I feel like I am where I am supposed to be,” he said. “It was great that we got a chance to compete as a team at the regional for the first time in years.
“And I am going to my first semi-state. I feel like all of my hard work has paid dividends. It has been a rewarding season for me and the team.”
This year was not easy for Lamb, who overcame an injury.
“My achilles was acting up and I stepped in a hole on our home course,” said Lamb. “That aggravated it.
“I had to put my left foot in a slush bucket full of ice every night. It slowly improved and I started getting better around the time we ran at Shakamak.”
Dossan, who’s mom is Erica Vandergriff, said that his dad, one of a handful of cross country runners at SHS to make it to the semi-state, has been a big influence on his running career.
“He would let me know if I needed to get out fast, bust up a pack or run off the pace at the start, depending who was running,” said Dossan. “He gave me some great training advice in the off season.
“He said it would be great to see in the paper (Sullivan Daily Times) that Lamb makes the semi-state. He has really supported and helped my running career.”
Lamb, a typical teenager who plays video games and hangs out with his friends, knows that his odds are less than favorable on Saturday. He again would have to be among the top 10 finishers outside of the six teams that qualify for the state finals.
“I have been doing some speed work as well as soft running, which helps with mental preparedness. This has been a successful season, even if I don’t make it to state,” said Lamb, who wants to eventually go to college and major in business or finance. “This is where I want to be.
“I know it won’t be easy to get to state on Saturday. I just want to run my race. If I do that, I can live with the consequences. Getting to semi-state as a sophomore is big. I hope to have two more chances to make it to state. If I can do that, maybe I could be considered one of the best runners in Sullivan history.”