DRACUT — At this point in his high school athletic career, Devin Lambert is used to making snap decisions under pressure.
Dracut High’s senior standout is an athlete for all seasons, excelling as a quarterback in football, a wrestler, and a pitcher/outfielder in baseball. His athleticism, arm strength and flair for coming up big in clutch situations have enabled him to be a difference-maker in all three sports.
Lambert has followed up a fall where he passed for 1,678 yards and 20 touchdowns on the gridiron by pinning down an abundance of success on the mat this winter.
He went 4-0 with four pins while winning the 145-pound title at the Division 2 North Sectional last weekend. Lambert will head into the Division 2 state tournament at Beverly High Friday night and Saturday with a 30-6 record and 25 pins.
“He’s one of the most talented kids I’ve had in the room here,” said Dracut coach Matt Dehney, a former Middie standout. “He’s a special athletic talent and a great kid. He’s someone who can go out and beat anyone. It’s just making sure his mind is right.
“You not only see his athleticism in wrestling, you see it in football and baseball. Everything he does, he’s good at. He’s a legit three-sport throwback. And he’s very good at every one. It’s crazy. It’s a testament to him.”
Lambert has been wrestling since grade school. He is in constant motion during a match. By now, Lambert is so proficient in his moves that he attacks opponents in a variety of ways.
“I just go out and wrestle,” said Lambert, 17. “I like to create space and use my athleticism. I’m quicker than most kids. I know how to pin. I really don’t have a signature move, it’s something different every match. It’s all about getting good angles and applying pressure.”
Lambert is 5-foot-9 and played football at 165 pounds. He made nearly as many plays with his feet as his arm. In a 28-14 win over top-seeded and unbeaten Marblehead in a Division 4 North quarterfinal, Lambert tossed three touchdown passes and ran for a score.
The mental and physical toughness that served Lambert so well in football help him grind down opponents in wrestling.
“He does things that you just can’t teach,” said Dehney. “That’s where his athletic ability comes into play. His awareness of the situation. His ability to win scrambles. He’s very tough on top. He has such good footwork.
“I think that being a quarterback, he’s used to being in pressure situations. He handles himself so well in those tough situations in football and that translates well to wrestling. He doesn’t get as nervous because he’s used to being placed in spots where he has to think on his feet.”
Lambert, a co-captain, is a four-year varsity wrestler with over 100 career victories. He enters the states as the third seed at 145.
His victory at the North Sectional was the first time he’s made it to the top of the award stand at a tournament as a varsity wrestler. He placed second at the Methuen and Wilmington tournaments this season.
“I don’t care who Devin is wrestling, I always have faith in him,” said Dehney. “He’ll figure out a way. I know he’s going to give me his best effort.
“His toughness shines through on the mat. I’ve seen him play football and he’s not out there juking people, he lowers the shoulder and gets after it. He’s the same way when attacking in wrestling.”
Lambert is quick to credit the role Dehney has played in his success this season.
“He’s always pushing me to get the best out of me,” said Lambert. “He never lets me get down on myself. He lets me know I have the potential to do better and that makes me put the work in. Thanks to him, everything is clicking now.”
Being a three-sport athlete hasn’t prevented Lambert from also pinning down success in the classroom. He is an honor roll student with a 3.1 grade-point average.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Lambert. “I enjoy playing three sports. I love to compete.”
Follow Carmine Frongillo on Twitter @cwfrongi