BILLINGS — Billings Skyview senior Gentry Lamb looks to have a bright future in front of him.
With a 4.0 true grade point average and a 4.39 weighted grade point average, which includes his grades from various honors and advanced placement courses, Lamb is in the running to be a valedictorian at Skyview.
A two-time state place winner in wrestling, Lamb was also nominated by U.S. Senator Jon Tester to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Tester selected 34 nominees from the Treasure State to the military service academies. The selections were based on academics, extracurricular activities, and commitment to serving and leading in the U.S. military. The nomination was the first step in the process of applying to the schools.
After the nomination by Tester, Lamb has been interviewed, written essays, performed physical tests and underwent medical exams. He is now done with the application process to the Air Force Academy and will find out if he is accepted sometime in March or early April.
It was a “big relief” to be through with the process. Three weeks ago, Lamb had his interview, “which was basically the last step. It’s just waiting now and I’m just doing other things to be more competitive for an appointment.”
“It’s definitely been a lot of work. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s really helped me learn how to do that. Writing about yourself and bragging about yourself is tricky.”
Lamb’s coach at Billings Skyview, Ben Sulser, said he believes the current Skyview Falcon would be a great Air Force Falcon. Sulser said those enrolled at the AFA are constantly striving to improve, and he said that is the mindset Lamb possesses.
“He is always looking to push himself and obviously that is a hard place to be,” said Sulser.
“Gentry’s mindset is what makes him special and different, along with his toughness. I’ve never seen that kid shy away from anything.”
Lamb is optimistic about being accepted and looks forward to a hopeful future of studying biology and chemistry at the Air Force Academy, and service to his country. But however bright that future might be, Lamb is focusing on the present.
This weekend Lamb will be competing at the state wrestling tournament at First Interstate Arena at MetraPark in the Class AA 138-pound division. He qualified by placing third at the Eastern AA seeding tourney last weekend in Belgrade.
Lamb will be competing in a tough division when the tourney opens Friday morning. Bozeman standout Leif Schroeder, who will join the Iowa Hawkeyes next year, will be seeking his fourth individual state championship. Also in the division is Idren Peak of Billings Senior, who finished fifth at 132 pounds at last year’s state tourney.
If Lamb is to advance and fight for the state title he craves, he’ll possibly have to beat Schroeder to do it. If both win their first two matches, they’d meet in the semifinals. Schroeder has defeated Lamb in all three of their meetings this season, Lamb said.
“I’ve been training all year. This is the time to let it all fly,” Lamb said. “My plan is to beat him and be in the state finals. … I think I can pull it off.”
This year, Lamb — one of two senior co-captains on the Falcons along with Brenner Bushfield (205) — is 37-10 with 25 pins.
Sulser said Lamb is capable of winning the bracket, which he said is “all sorts of tough.”
“I’ve never seen a kid work so hard,” Sulser said. “Nothing that kid does will surprise me.”
Lamb tends to stay busy, and that might be part of what makes him successful. He is also involved in the National Honor Society, the National Business Honor Society, and the Business Professionals of America clubs at Skyview.
Sulser said Lamb wrestles in the offseason and travels to tournaments in places such as Reno (Nevada), Denver, Fargo (North Dakota) and Las Vegas.
Last season, Lamb was fifth at 120 pounds at the state tourney and he claimed second at 103 pounds as a sophomore. He qualified for the state tourney as a 103-pound freshman and wrestled to a 2-2 record but did not place.
While at Skyview, Lamb has also participated in cross country. In elementary and middle school, Lamb played youth football but said he was “too small” to play in high school. So, as a sophomore he joined the cross country team. His older brother, Bridger, was on the team and the two were teammates for one year before Bridger graduated.
“It’s been alright,” Lamb said of cross country. “It was always more Bridger’s sport. I enjoyed the time and meeting the kids on the team and it definitely helped me get in shape for wrestling.”
The bright future starts this weekend at the Metra for Lamb, who typically is setting the bar high.
“To be a state champion,” Lamb said. “That’s always been a goal every year.”