Posted on

Eight Raiders earn All-GNC awards, led by Baker and Wipf

Eight Raiders earn All-GNC awards, led by Baker and Wipf Eight Raiders earn All-GNC awards, led by Baker and Wipf


The Medford Raiders didn’t win the 2020 Great Northern Conference championship and put a bigger dent into the second team rather than the first team in the vote for this year’s all-conference teams.

But the Raiders will gladly take where their season ended up over those GNC accolades.

Fresh off their trip to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament, it was announced last week that eight Raiders had earned All-Great Northern Conference honors for their play this fall, two of whom made the 11-man first team. Senior Ty Baker not only made the first team, but he was named the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. Senior midfielder Owen Wipf was one of five unanimous choices by the league’s coaches. Almost half of the 11-man second team consists of Raiders. Those award winners are seniors Colton Gowey and Brady Hupf, juniors Gage Neubauer and Kale Klussendorf and sophomore Zach Rudolph. Sophomore Aaron Schield is one of 12 players earning honorable mention in this year’s vote.

The awards follow a short but very successful season for the Raiders, who finished 7-3 in the GNC, one game behind champion Rhinelander, and 10-4-1 overall under second-year head coach Nathan Bilodeau. The Raiders got their revenge against Rhinelander in the WIAA Division 2 tournament, beating them 2-0 in a sectional semifinal contest on Oct. 29. They won the program’s first-ever sectional championship two days later, winning a penalty-kick shootout with Rice Lake 6-5 after the teams played to a 0-0 double-overtime tie.

Medford’s season ended Nov. 7 in Marshfield with a 3-2 loss to eventual state champion Manitowoc Roncalli-Two Rivers in a state semifinal.

Baker’s Defensive Player of the Year award isn’t necessarily based on statistics, though he did score two goals and had two assists in league play. He scored goals in a 3-0 win at Antigo Oct. 13 and in a 7-0 win over a short-handed Rhinelander team two nights later.

His trademark was his physical and aggressive style as Medford’s unquestioned leader on the back line. Baker was never afraid to break up an opponent’s attack with a tackle, nor would he turn down a chance to advance the ball up field with a sprint dribble to start an offensive attack. Wipf was one of Medford’s co-captains, along with Rudolph. Again, his stats didn’t jump off the page with two goals and four assists in league play. He scored in a 2-1 win at Mosinee Oct. 1 and in the 7-0 win over Rhinelander. He had five goals and five assists overall, despite missing three games due to a mid-season quarantine. He scored both of Medford’s goals in the state semifinal.

Wipf’s value came with leadership and his ability to win, possess and pass the ball in the middle of the field.

Baker and Wipf are part of a first team that features Co-Offensive Players of the Year Hugh Wiese, a senior from Rhinelander, and Toren Holtz, a junior from Mosinee. The rest of the team could all be back next year. It includes Rhinelander junior goal keeper Gavin Ostermann and junior Beau Howard, Northland Pines junior Mason Hogenmiller and sophomore Ryan Muench, Mosinee junior Cole Holtz and Lakeland junior DJ Ratajczk and freshman standout Yaroslav Myshchyshyn.

Myshchyshyn led the GNC in scoring with 43 points (20 goals and three assists) during the 10-game conference slate. Holtz was second with 40 points (18 goals and four assists) and Wiese was third with 23 points (nine goals and five assists).

Wipf was a second-team choice and Baker earned honorable mention in 2019.

Hupf certainly had a case to be the first-team goal keeper as he led the GNC with a .936 save percentage (44 saves on 47 shots) and a 0.38 goals-against-average in league play. The Raiders were 7-1 with him between the posts. Unfortunately, he missed two GNC losses to Lakeland and three games overall in late September due to a quarantine and Ostermann got the first-team nod instead with an .840 save percentage, an 0.89 goals-againstaverage and an 8-1 GNC record.

Medford collected eight shutouts this season with Hupf in the lineup, including three in the post-season and five in GNC games.

The rest of the second-teamers played key roles in Medford’s scoring.

Neubauer was the team’s leading scorer in GNC play, scoring six goals and adding two assists for 14 points despite missing the two Lakeland games when quarantines and injuries hit the Raiders hard. Neubauer returned with a huge four-goal game in a 5-1 home win over Mosinee on Sept. 29. He added two goals in Medford’s 6-0 WIAA regional final win over Lakeland on Oct. 24.

Rudolph joined Wipf in helping patrol the middle of the field for the Raiders, but he found more success near the goal as the year progressed. He scored three GNC goals and added three assists and tacked on three non-conference goals and assist during the year. Two of his goals came in post-season play, one against Lakeland. The other was a beautiful header to clinch the 2-0 sectional win at Rhinelander.

Gowey and Klussendorf did most of their work from wing positions on the offense. The speedy Gowey ranked second on the team with 10 points in league play on four goals and two assists. That included a hat trick in the lopsided win over Rhinelander to end the regular season. He had two goals in the regional final win over Lakeland.

Klussendorf scored three GNC goals, including two in the team’s season-opening 3-0 win over Northland Pines on Sept. 15. He had five goals overall, including the go-ahead goal in the sectional win at Rhinelander. He’ll be remembered for putting in the clinching goal in the penalty- kick shootout with Rice Lake and sending the Raiders to state.

Schield is another rising player in the program. He was another key part to Medford’s strength in the midfield positions and the team’s ability to out-possess opponents. He had a goal and four assists in GNC play and six assists overall. His goal was a perfectly-placed penalty kick in the 3-0 win at Antigo and he had multiple assists off corner kicks. Schield also started the memorable shootout with Rice Lake with a confidence-boosting goal for the Raiders.

Half of the Great Northern Conference’s six teams –– Medford, Rhinelander and Mosinee –– were sectional qualifi ers and a fourth, Northland Pines, had a legitimate shot in Division 3 until COVID issues shut down the Eagles’ season in the last week.

Owen Wipf First Team

Brady Hupf Second Team

Colton Gowey Second Team

Gage Neubauer Second Team

Kale Klussendorf Second Team

Zach Rudolph Second Team

Aaron Schield Hon. Mention