Los Altos High has been home to Lambie Lanman far longer than the four years he spent as a standout student-athlete there.
Lanman practically grew up on campus; in June he became the last of five brothers to graduate from the school.
“It’s always been a part of my life,” said Lanman, headed to Yale University to play football.
When his older siblings played sports for the Eagles, Lanman was usually in the stands rooting them on. He recalled transitioning from crawler to walker in the Los Altos gym, taking his first steps at halftime of oldest brother Fritz’s basketball game. That same year, Fritz’s football teammates came up with the nickname Lambie – and it stuck.
“They called me that because I was the little lamb of the family,” said Lanman, whose real name is Christopher. “I’ve kept it as my identity ever since.”
But there’s a lot more to Lanman than his unusual moniker. He excelled in three sports at Los Altos – football, basketball and baseball – and earned straight As.
Lanman performed well enough at quarterback and in the classroom to draw interest from two Ivy League colleges; he chose Yale over Cornell University. Lanman also passed up an opportunity to walk on at Cal.
“I visited Yale in April and fell in love with it,” he said. “It was the people mainly; there are a lot of diverse people there who do great things.”
Lanman should fit right in. Although sports have been a big part of his life, they do not define him.
Lanman is a published author and filmmaker as well. When he wasn’t playing, practicing or studying, Lanman somehow found time to publish a book and produce a short documentary in his senior year.
Not that Lanman brags about any of this. It’s not his style. He didn’t mention the book or film during his nearly half-hour interview with the Town Crier.
“Lambie is humble about his accomplishments,” said his mom, Alanna.
His book, “Beyond The Back Gate: ‘Filoli’s Wild Garden,’” is about the 600-plus wooded acres surrounding the historic Filoli Estate in Woodside. Alanna said he’s donating the profits from the book – published last fall and sold at the estate’s bookstore – to Filoli, a place he’s visited regularly since childhood.
Around the same time the book came out, Lanman finished his documentary, “Be All: A Profile of Grant Beall.” The 10-minute film – featuring a Los Altos High student who overcame a leg amputation to play on the water polo team – has more than 3,000 views on YouTube.
He did all this and played three sports most of his prep career without earning anything less than an A.
“It’s another thing to juggle,” Lanman said of maintaining grades high enough to score a Los Altos High Scholar-Athlete Award four consecutive years. “It’s all doable – you just have to work hard.”
Lanman approaches football with the same diligence, according to Eagles head coach Trevor Pruitt.
“He will never go into anything unprepared; he’s overprepared for everything.” Pruitt said. “If there is film to be studied – a defense, a play – he will study it and get it done with a full report. It’s amazing.”
While Lanman was quick to praise Pruitt for changing the football culture at Los Altos in his first season – turning an 0-10 team into an 8-2 squad last fall – the quarterback proved instrumental as well. Lanman completed 140 of his 208 passes for 2,198 yards and 21 touchdowns. He threw only six interceptions. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Lanman also rushed for four touchdowns.
“He’s one of the top guys I ever coached,” Pruitt said of his team captain. “It’s tough losing him. We can’t replace Lambie and his leadership and all that he brings to practice every day.”
Pruitt will get one more chance to work with Lanman, however. Both have been chosen to participate in the 40th annual Silicon Valley Youth Classic – also known as the Charlie Wedemeyer High School All-Star Football Game – scheduled 7:30 p.m. July 23 at San Jose City College. Pruitt is head coach of the North squad that includes Lanman and Los Altos teammates Victor Ruiz (receiver), Ofisa Pati (defensive tackle) and Josh Williams (linebacker).
“I’m honored to be a part of it,” Lanman said of the senior showcase. “I’m super excited.”
Practices are set to begin this week, though Lanman won’t have to worry about being in shape. He’s been training daily since summer began in preparation for Yale. Lanman said he expects to play on the Bulldogs’ junior-varsity team as a freshman, then ascend to varsity as a sophomore.
“I hope to play and see game action this year, but it’s not guaranteed,” Lanman said. “I have a lot of work to do, and I’m going to work my head off.”
Pruitt is confident that Lanman’s hard work will pay off.
“I’m really glad he’s going to Yale – it’s the best fit for him,” the coach said. “He’s really excited, and I couldn’t be more proud of him. He has a bright future there.”