Boys track team wants to keep the bar high

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Rob Reischel
Caleb Easton and Middleton’s boys track and field team are expecting to have a big year./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They’ve won the Big Eight Conference meet five years in a row.

They have three top-five finishes at state in that time and four top-20 showings.

Middleton’s boys track and field team has been a model of excellence in recent years. And the Cardinals, who begin their season Saturday at the Ripon Invite, expect more of the same this spring.

“We expect to win conference and have a strong showing at state,” Middleton coach Joe Line said. “Our main goal is to work hard, but to stay healthy as well.”

Middleton’s only finish outside the top-20 at state since 2013 came a year ago, when the Cardinals were 28th. But several Middleton athletes were injured, a major reason why the Cardinals’ slipped at state. 

“When we got to state last year we were not a healthy team and did not perform the way we wanted to,” Line said. “We learned a lot of lessons from last year and feel more determined to improve and make progress through the whole season all the way to state.”

That seems quite probable as the Cardinals welcome back a deep and gifted group of returnees.

Middleton’s greatest strength should come in the distance events. The Cardinals won the state cross country title in October, and many of those athletes will run track this spring.

Junior Caleb Easton went to state in the 1,600-meter run last season. This fall, Easton was also eighth individually at the state cross country meet.

Senior Jack Rader qualified for state in the 3,200-meter run each of the last two years, while senior Sam Jaeger was 11th individually at the state cross country meet.

Michael Madoch, Braedon Glles, Roman Ystenes, Egan Johnson, Frank Thorton and Zach Leffel are others to watch in the distance crew. 

“We will be the strongest in distance again, especially after record breaking cross country year,” Line said. “Our whole distance squad is worth watching.” 

Senior Aaron Richardson finished 10th at state last year in the long jump and was part of the Cardinals’ 400-meter relay team that finished sixth at state.

Pole vaulter Alec Hanson won the Big Eight Conference meet last year, while sophomore Joey Kean was on the state 400-meter relay team last year and will also run the 100-meter dash.

Cole Parrell and Dylan Kalscheur are returners in the shot put and the discus.

“I see us having a very deep pole vault squad, with the top-four all being seniors,” Line said. “We are young in the sprints and I am excited to see who steps up in all the relays and the 100 and 200.”

Line and his Cardinals will aim high once again, with a Big Eight Conference title and a lofty finish at state among Middleton’s goals. But Line knows the path won’t be easy.

“We expect to win conference this year, but I see Sun Prairie having a great year as well,” Line said. “With their football and basketball programs going to state, many of those athletes do track and will have hard match-ups for us."

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