Noah Lambrecht, a former student-athlete at McCool Junction (Nebraska) Public School, has been selected the 2020 national recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award,” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
SPIRIT OF SPORT AWARD
The “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
Normal for Noah Lambrecht is different than it is for other young people. However, that is all he has strived to be since a small child.
Born with a life-threatening heart defect, Noah endured three open-heart surgeries in the first seven weeks of his life. He was then orphaned and left at a Chicago hospital before being adopted by Sheri and Gaylord Lambrecht. The Lambrechts accepted Noah into their family in McCool Junction, Nebraska, fully knowing the challenges he would face.
Noah’s desire just to be a normal kid endured even after his fourth heart surgery and pacemaker installation at age 8. Eventually, normal meant running cross country as an eighth-grader. After his doctors cleared him to participate, Noah joined the team and continued to run the next year with the high school team.
Running was grueling for Noah. With one of his lungs half the size of the other, he usually gasped for breath and finished last in workouts and meets, but he was determined to finish each race. That determination was infectious as his teammates – and eventually opponents – began to go back and finish races with Noah.
Noah explored a variety of activities while at McCool Junction, which led to a full high school experience. He was a 12-sport athlete, participating in cross country, track and field and basketball all four years. In addition, he participated in drama, choir and band for four years. Band rivaled cross country as his favorite activity. Noah excelled as a drummer earning multiple honors, including as one of six percussionists selected nationwide to be part of the National Honor Band.
Whether it was on the cross country course or in the band room, Noah’s dedication and commitment have inspired his teammates and peers. His story has touched many outside of his school, as well. Noah was profiled as “The Runner with a Broken Heart” in Runner’s World, has been featured on the Hallmark Channel to share his story and was U.S. Senator Ben Sasse’s guest at the 2019 State of the Union.
Noah currently attends Wayne State (Nebraska) College where he plays in the marching band and majors in communications. His goal is to be a motivational speaker, helping other kids find the strength to do what they desire.