Division 2 champions: Raiders pull state surprise

Medford sophomore Alicia Kawa led the Raiders' state championship effort by finishing 17th out of 152 runners in a season-best time of 19:44.4. Photo by Matt Frey/The Star NewsRaider junior Paige Brandner starts a strong second mile, where she gained eight spots during Saturday's state race. Photo by Matt Frey/The Star NewsMedford's Alexis Fleegel uses downhill momentum to pass a handful of runners just over two miles into Saturday's state championship race. Photo by Matt Frey/The Star News

The Medford Raiders had every reason to feel confident about their ability to compete with the best of the best at Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 state cross country championship race at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.
Winning the meet never entered their minds. And that just may be the reason why they did win it.
Capping a season where the varsity lineup won every meet it entered on Wisconsin soil this fall, the Raiders won their sport’s biggest prize by capturing the school’s first WIAA team championship trophy thanks to a nine-point margin over 2017 champion Freedom.
The Irish were one of two teams that knocked Medford out of the state field at last year’s sectional meet in Waupaca. This year, a stronger Raider team both physically and mentally simply wasn’t going to be denied.
“It’s amazing. We’re on top of the world right now,” junior Paige Brandner said after Saturday’s awards ceremony.
For the full story, pick up a copy of this week’s issue of The Star News.

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