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Press Photo by Royal McGregor 
Dakota Prairie freshman Ashley Perez grits her way to the finish line to win the Class B state girls cross country title Saturday at Heart River Golf Course.
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dakota Prairie freshman Ashley Perez grits her way to the finish line to win the Class B state girls cross country title Saturday at Heart River Golf Course.

Lambert, Perez race to 1st titles

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Shiloh Christian senior Donovan Lambert observed and learned from former Parshall standout Ken Wells. On Saturday, Lambert put Wells' lessons to work.

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The Shiloh Christian senior won the Class B boys state cross country individual title at Heart River Golf Course.

"Ken is one of my close friends and he's always been good," Lambert said. "Ken pushed me a lot."

Lambert, who was also named Class B boys senior athlete of the year, saw plenty of Wells in the past few years. He finished second behind Wells at last year's state meet.

"It's really good accomplishment," Lambert said. "I couldn't really do it without my family, school, friends and coaches."

Despite cold conditions, Lambert felt comfortable running. However, he believed his start was a little too slow. Lambert ultimately finished in a time of 16 minutes, 43.97 seconds.

"I thought I ran well in the second half of the race," Lambert said. "In the first part, I thought I ran too comfortable. This is state, so everybody is going to go out fast."

The other big story on the boys side was New Town putting seven runners in the top 20. Ryan Wheeling led New Town with a seventh-place finish (17:26.83). New Town is back on top after winning five straight Class B state titles during the 2004-08 seasons.

"It was definitely a total team effort," said New Town coach Brian Anderson, who was named Class B coach of the year. "We have really good depth with quality runners and that really showed today."

Anderson said the credit for his coach of the year award goes to the boys.

"That's nice to get that to be acknowledged by your fellow coaches, but it's these kids who deserve that," he said.

Grafton finished second as a team with 147 points and Beulah-Hazen rounded out the top three with 172 points.

On the girls side, the lone runner from Dakota Prairie, Ashley Perez, was coincidentally alone at the finish line as she won the Class B individual title after overcoming slippery conditions.

Perez ran a time of 15:43.34, which was four seconds ahead of New Town's Symbria Bell.

"I was just hoping to finish in the top five," Perez said. "I looked behind me, because I wanted to see how close Tess Scott (of Barnes Country North) was, because she is really good.

"I was hoping to get a personal record, but I'll take a state championship," she added with a smile.

Five minutes before the Class B girls race about to start, heavy snow flurries started falling. It lasted the duration of the Class B girls race.

"It was cold, but on the same token it's the same weather, same cold, same conditions and same snow for everybody," Hillsboro-Central Valley head coach Kirk Zink said. "You just have to get warmed up and be smart about it. The weather wasn't really an issue."

Hillsboro-Central Valley won the girls title with 63 points and finished 80 points ahead of runner-up Rugby. Shiloh finished in third with 185 points.

The Burros had Annika Rotvold, Gracie Wright and Shayla Fossum place in the top 10. Rotvold led the team in fourth (15:49).

"They ran really well," Zink said. "We had three girls in the top seven and they performed well."

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