By David Paulsen

Sports correspondent

The Southern Lakes Conference Relays Saturday showed the Waterford High School cross country squads just what they need to do to compete for a conference title next month.

The Wolverine girls, although, finishing in fourth place overall, were just 36 seconds behind first-place Burlington in a tightly packed field.

The boys’ squad has considerable work to do. While finishing second to Westosha Central, Westosha finished 2:20 faster the Waterford.

“Westosha is lights out,” Wolverine head coach Nate Schreiber said, adding that Westosha has improved its state qualifying team from last year.

The Wolverines did crown one champion, as Rhea Fiorita won the girls’ upperclassmen race in a time of 15 minutes 54.09 seconds.

Schreiber said he challenged Fiorita prior to the race to go out and show she was the best runner in the SLC. She did just that.

“(It was) a great race for Rhea,” Schreiber said. “She is clearly running very well, very smart.”

Fiorita finished nearly 10 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

Freshman Makenna Reed was Waterford’s No. 2 finisher. Reed finished seventh overall in the underclassmen race, completed the 4,000-meter course in 16:53.53.

“She is just beginning to understand her ability,” Schreiber said. “She doesn’t quite understand how good she is yet.”

Finished third through fifth for the Wolverine girls were Kayla Butscher, Dawn Brintnall and Jenny Gilbreath. All are upperclassmen and all ran between 17:07 and 17:11.

Burlington’s winning time was 1:23:41.66. Waterford’s team time was 1:24:17.54.

The Wolverine boys were led by Grant Brooks (17:27.82) and Mitch Singer (17:32.71). They finished seventh- and eighth-place respectively in the junior/senior race.

Brandon Bergersen (17:39.30) and Kody Brand (17:42.06) were the No. 3 and No. 4 Waterford runners.

Sophomore Mychal Grube placed third in the underclassmen race (fifth overall for the team) with a time of 17:58.75.

Schreiber was very happy with where his boys’ squad finished.

“We had all five guys score under 18,” he said. “That was one goal.”

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