By David Paulsen

Correspondent

Nearly one month ago at the Muskego Cross Country Invite, the Waterford High School girls’ cross country squad finished 71 points behind Lake Geneva Badger.

On Saturday, the Wolverine girls nearly overtook Badger in the Southern Lakes Conference Meet, finishing just two points behind.

“We never doubted that we could come back and challenge them,” noted head coach Nate Schreiber.

Badger won the SLC Meet with 47 points, with Waterford totaling 49 and Westosha Central 53.

“It became a three-headed monster,” Schreiber said. “It was a fun race to watch and a difficult result to see.”

Schreiber noted that Badger edged the Wolverines when Maria Dilman of Badger leaned at the finish line to narrowly edge out Waterford’s Dawn Brintnall and Hannah Jost. Dilman finished with a time of 16 minutes 41.4 seconds, while Brintnall was clocked in 16:41.8 and Jost in 16:42.2

“Every step and lean counts,” Schreiber added.

Waterford was led by senior Rhea Fiorita, who finished second overall in 16:18.7.

Sophomore Valerie Knurr was the second best Wolverine girl in 16:39.4, with freshman Makenna Reed third in 16:41.0.

“Those two girls (Knurr and Reed) put us in the position we were in (to vie for the conference crown),” Schreiber said.

Overall, Schreiber said his girls’ squad is coming on strong with solid times.

Senior Kayla Butscher (16:44.2) and freshman Jennifer Murphy (17:09.9) also ran for Waterford in the varsity meet.

The boys’ squad also finished second, with Westosha Central grabbing the SLC crown. Westosha Central tallied just 31 points, with Waterford second with 46. Badger was third with 62.

“Westosha ran very well,” Schreiber said. “We were outmatched. That’s more a credit to them than a discredit to us.”

Schreiber said the Wolverine boys ran a strong race, although he added it was not their best race.

“There’s still room to tweak and that’s exciting,” Schreiber said.

Junior Grant Brooks finished fourth overall in a time of 17:00.2, with senior Kurt Sustachek sixth in 17:07.5.

Senior Mitch Singer finished 13 seconds back in 17:20.0 (10th) with senior Kody Brand right behind him in 17:23.2 (11th).

Sophomore Mychal Grube was fifth best for the boys, but finished 30 seconds back in 17:53.9 (15th).

Schreiber noted that if he can get his No. 1 through No. 4 runners to run in the 17 minute to 17:05 span, and his No. 5 under 17:30, which he believes are all obtainable, the team could do very well at sectional.

Also competing in the varsity race were seniors Brandon Bergerson (16th, 17:57.1), and Alexander Gasiorowski (24th, 18:30.1).

The WIAA Division 1 sectional will take place Saturday, Oct. 22, at UW-Parkside.

For the past five years, Waterford has advanced one of its squads to the state tournament.

“We have quite a streak going,” Schreiber noted.

To keep that streak intact, the Wolverines will need to defeat teams they have trailed in other meets earlier this fall.

Teams to beat in the girls’ side of sectional will be Badger, Westosha Central and Kenosha Tremper.

On the boys’ side, the Wolverines will face strong teams from Racine Horlick, Racine Park and Westosha Central.

The top two teams from each sectional advance to state, plus the top five individual runners who are not members of qualifying teams.