The phrase like father, like son is one that tends to get tossed around in families.
This is the case for Pretoria, South Africa native, junior thrower Burger Lambrechts Jr. His father, Burger Lambrechts Sr., is a two-time Olympic shot put thrower and a three-time African champion.
“I got my name from my dad [Burger Sr.],” Lambrechts said. “I'm from South Africa, where it's a more common name. It's also pronounced very different from what you might think. You kinda roll the ‘R's and put more emphasis on the ‘G.’”
“I competed against Burger Sr. shortly after I accepted a job opportunity at Western Michigan,” throwing coach Scott Cappos said. “He talked about his interest in attending school in the United States, and I was new to coaching but he was very accepting of my knowledge and skills.”
As of now, Lambrechts’ personal best indoor shot put throw is 63 feet and 2 ¾ inches (19.27 meters) and in the weight throw, his personal best is 59 feet and 10 ½ inches (18.25 meters). For outdoors, Lambrechts’ best shot put throw is 63 feet and 6 inches (19.35 meters) and his best throw in the discus is 188 feet and 5 inches (57.43 meters). His personal-best indoor shot put throw came in the most recent track and field meet for the Huskers, but Lambrechts aims to go even further.
“The goals that I set before the season started was to be a three-time All-American indoor and outdoor shot put and discus thrower,” Lambrechts said. “I want to break 20 meters [65 feet and 7 ½ inches] in shot put and 60 meters [196 feet and 10 ¼ inches] in discus. Only a handful of people have ever done that in the NCAA.”
Prior to coming to Nebraska, Lambrechts competed in the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championship and the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championship. In the 2015 Championship, he finished fourth in both the five kilogram shot put with a throw of 68 feet and 9 ¾ inches (20.97 km) and the 1.5 kilogram discus with a throw of 208 feet and 5 inches (63.52 meters). In the 2016 U20 Championship, Lambrechts finished sixth in the six kilogram shot put with a throw of 64 feet and 4 inches (19.61 meters). His all-time best in the six kilogram shot put is 64 feet and 10 ½ inches (19.77 meters) while in the 1.75 kilogram discus his best throw is 187 feet and 8 inches (57.20 meters). When it came time to pick a college, Lambrechts looked at a few key factors. He eventually settled on Nebraska thanks to Cappos.
“After Burger Jr. 's last year of high school, I flew down to South Africa and visited with him and his family to discuss the opportunity at the University of Nebraska,” Cappos said. “He was impressed and committed verbally during my visit to South Africa.”
Since arriving in Nebraska, Lambrechts has become a valuable thrower for the team, competing in every Big Ten Conference Championships since his freshman year. Lambrechts also competed in the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championship where he finished 14th in shot put. He received 2019 USTFCCCA Second Team All-American honors for his performance.
In the 2020 indoor season thus far, Lambrechts has claimed two shot put titles, the most recent one being his indoor personal best.
“Burger has matured as an athlete in many ways,” Cappos said. “He is stronger, faster and better technically than when he first arrived. He is dedicated and responsible, he cares about his school work and wants to be successful on and off the field.”
“I've loved my time as a Husker,” Lambrechts said. “I’ve gotten more support from my coaches and my trainers than I ever expected. I'm honored to compete for Nebraska and also earn a degree in the process.”
As for the future, Burger is focused on what he can do for his team, along with earning his degree. However, he isn’t ruling anything out after graduation.
“If it's in God's will that I can reach professional level by the time that I graduate, I’ll try to be a professional athlete for at least one season,” Lambrechts said.
“I think Burger Jr. will contend for Big Ten Championships and finish in top six in the NCAA,” Cappos said. “I also believe he’ll be an Olympian someday. He is a world class thrower now and he will continue to get better and better.