Sports

Thu
04
Mar
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Boys volleyball team excited to get started

The wait is over.

And Middleton first-year boys volleyball coach Rob Kleinschmidt is giddy thinking about what the next six weeks could entail.

The Cardinals’ season typically runs in the fall. Due to COVID-19, though, the WIAA gave teams the option of postponing fall sports to the spring, and Middleton elected to do just that.

Middleton began practicing last week and its season will run until mid-April. And after going roughly 16 months since their last match, the Cardinals were thrilled to get things started.

“Getting back into the gym has been busy, but great,” said Kleinschmidt, whose team has its first match of the year Thursday at Beloit Memorial. “This year is a special feeling because it's been so long for the guys between seasons. We have a great group of guys in the program and I have loved the time getting to know them and their abilities.”

Kleinschmidt and the Cardinals know this will be a year like no other.

Thu
04
Mar
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Girls spikers have high hopes

Maddie Vogel was hired as Middleton’s girls volleyball coach last May.

Since then, Vogel and the Cardinals have experienced a ridiculous blend of uncertainty, doubt and questions centered around if they’d have a season.

Last week, Vogel and her team got into the gym for the first time, and it’s not a stretch to say it was glorious.

“Getting back into the gym has been surreal,” Vogel said. “We have waited so long for this moment, so to finally be back in action feels incredible. Things have been going well so far. I think everyone is just so excited to be back in the gym so we have been able to maintain a high level of energy throughout this first week of practice.”

The Cardinals’ season typically runs in the fall. Due to COVID-19, though, the WIAA gave teams the option of postponing fall sports to the spring, and Middleton elected to do just that.

Vogel and the Cardinals now understand that this season will be a year like no other.

Thu
04
Mar
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Future bright for basketball Cards

It’s one thing to have potential.

Turning that into production is a whole other challenge.

That’s the task Middleton’s boys basketball team faces in 2021-22.

The Cardinals will be loaded with possibilities next winter. Whether or not Middleton can make a run at its first state tournament since 1998 — and its first under 16th-year coach Kevin Bavery — remains to be seen.

“They have to stay hungry and cannot be comfortable,” Bavery said of his team. “In fact they have to get uncomfortable and focus on their individual improvement. It won't be an easy team to make.

“There are nine months between now and the start of next season. Some will grow, some will put a ton of time and work into their game, some will take their strength and level of conditioning to new levels, and we always expect players to show up in November improved in all phases. No guarantees, but lots of opportunity.”

Thu
04
Mar
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MHS swimmers dunk Oshkosh West

Practice is one thing.

But for a team to truly understand where it stands, it needs competitions.

Middleton’s girls swimming team got just that last Saturday and posted an impressive 108-62 win over host Oshkosh West.

“We can only see so much in practice and getting the girls into an actual meet environment definitely helped us to see where we are at and what improvements we need to make going forward,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “All in all, we have a really solid, well-rounded team and I'm excited to see them improve over the next few weeks.”

Middleton’s 200-yard freestyle relay team of Kaitlyn Peters, Abby Utter, Ryanne Woodall and Molly Haag was first, while the quartet of Abby Ensenberger, Eva Anagnostopoulos, Andi Young and Tait Haag was second. The Cardinals’ No. 3 team of Brianna Acker, Piper Garcia Hall, Amanda Beckman and Amanda George added a third place finish.

Thu
25
Feb
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Middleton ousted by Verona

The strangest season in Middleton’s boys basketball history ended on Feb. 16.

The Cardinals fell to Verona, 62-56, in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal held at Baraboo High School.

Despite the loss, though, Middleton coach Kevin Bavery was extremely grateful his team had a chance to compete during this year of COVID-19 — something that looked like a longshot two months ago.

I think what we did was incredible and I honestly couldn't be prouder of the effort and the attitude that this group brought,” said Bavery, whose team finished the shortened season 4-7 overall. “We thought we might struggle with chemistry a bit as that is always a process that takes time, but our sense from day one was that these guys were simply happy to be in a gym and see some faces that they hadn't seen in a while. Our absolute No. 1 goal we decided upon after given the return to play permission was 'safe and meaningful', and I believe we accomplished that.”

Thu
25
Feb
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Engelkes is headed to state

Taylor Engelkes had no clue if this opportunity would ever arrive.

Engelkes, a senior gymnast at Middleton High School, wondered for most of the year if she’d have a final season. But when Middleton’s administration approved the return of winter sports last month, Engelkes was determined to make the most of it.

Mission accomplished.

Engelkes had a terrific performance at the WIAA Division 1 Mukwonago Sectional on Feb. 18. Engelkes qualified for state on the vault and the uneven bars and will compete in the state tournament Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse.

“We're so excited to have Taylor represent Middleton Cardinal gymnastics at state,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “She's been a remarkable gymnast and young lady over the past four years, is a team captain, and is someone that all of the girls on the team really look up to.”

Thu
25
Feb
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MHS swimmers excited to compete

They are starting six months later than a normal year.

Most competitions will be dual meets spread across two days. And there won’t be any invitationals this season.

Despite the changes, though, Middleton’s girls swimming team is simply thrilled to be competing. The Cardinals will be at Oshkosh West Saturday for their first meet of the new season and believe they have the makings for another strong year.

“The girls were so excited to have an opportunity to swim this spring,” Cardinals coach Lauren Cabalka said. “Naturally there is some apprehension and feelings of uncertainty since we are not used to swimming in the middle of winter or under these unique circumstances, but the general mood is one of gratitude and excitement. 

“When the newest PHMDC guidelines were released, we were able to create a training environment that is very similar to what we would typically put together, giving us that feeling of normalcy.”

Thu
25
Feb
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Middleton's snowboard teams put on a show

Middleton's girls and boys snowboard teams made the most of a shortened season and celebrated tremendous successes at the WIARA State competition recently.

The girls earned their fifth consecutive state championship and the boys finished third overall.

The girls started strong in the Boardercross event featuring banks, turns, and rolling jumps. After taking first as a team in BX, the girls never looked back, building on their leads as a team and finishing strong in Slalom with all six girls placing in the top 14 slots.

Team captain and senior Ella D'Orazio helped lead the Cardinals to a title by finishing second individually.

The boys demonstrated the team nature of the competition by keeping consistent finishes in all disciplines as a group and finished strong in the Slalom. The combined points from the races helped the Cardinals finish third as a team.

Thu
25
Feb
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Middleton skiers shine at state

Middleton’s boys skiing team finished ninth out of 20 teams at the WIARA state championships held at Mount La Crosse on Feb. 14. Hartland Arrowhead won the team title.

The top three finishers in the three disciplines for the Cardinals were Zach Ostreng, who took 10th in the giant slalom; Griffin Ward, who finished 23rd in the slalom; and Nathan Shaw, who was 62nd in the Super G.

Middleton also won a conference championship, as Ward placed third, Ostreng was sixth and Jude Kunkel was 10th.

Thu
18
Feb
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Girls basketball team falls in playoffs

The past month didn't lead to victories like they’d hoped.

It didn't produce a deep postseason run like they’re accustomed to.

But Middleton’s girls basketball team was thankful for the opportunity to compete — even if things didn’t go according to plan.

The Cardinals fell to Oregon, 53-37, in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal played at Baraboo High School on Feb. 9. Middleton finished its truncated season 0-6, while the Panthers (7-3) lost three nights later to Waunakee.

“We hung in there for a while and had a few little surges, but we weren’t able to stop their guards from penetrating,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said of the Oregon loss. “We also had trouble finishing around the basket. Add that to a few breakout baskets off turnovers and we found ourselves in a hole.”

The ending capped a wild and wacky season for the Cardinals.

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