Sports

Wed
04
Sep
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Middleton defenseless in loss to Verona

Middleton played its first football game in 1919 and went 0-2-1 that season.

In the 100 years since, the Cardinals have seen more good than bad, highlighted by a pair of state championships in the 1980s and a current run of 23 straight playoff appearances.

Last Friday, though, was one of the most humbling nights in program history.

Verona came to Otto Breitenbach Stadium and routed the host Cardinals, 61-35.

The 61 points is believed to be the most ever allowed by a Middleton team. In addition, Verona chalked up 734 yards of total offense, which is also believed to be the most the Cardinals have ever allowed.

The Wildcats improved to 2-0 overall and in the Big Eight Conference, while Middleton fell to 1-1, 1-1.

“Our defense my senior year gave up 35 points on the whole year,” said Middleton first-year coach Jason Pertzborn, who graduated from MHS in 1989. “This was ridiculous.”

Wed
04
Sep
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Middleton golfers surge to No. 1

The Meadow Valleys course at Blackwolf Run was listed at No. 57 in Golf Digest’s ranking of America’s Greatest Public Golf Courses in 2019.

Last Wednesday, Middleton’s girls golf team was able to play one of the country’s top courses — and excel on it.

On a wild, windy day, Middleton posted a 355-team score and won the 15-team Blackwolf Run Invite. Bay Port was second at 357, while Brookfield Central (359), Sheboygan (365) and DePere (373) rounded out the top five.

One result of the win is Middleton jumped to No. 1 in the latest Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin poll. The Cardinals moved from No. 2 to No. 1, followed by Brookfield Central, Kettle Moraine, Arrowhead, Bay Port, Waunakee, Cedarburg, Sheboygan North/South, Green Bay Notre Dame and Milton.

“We are so happy to come away with the win,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “The course provides so many challenges to young female golfers.”

Wed
04
Sep
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Boys XC team chasing another title

Brian Finnel is in the process of building Middleton’s boys cross country program into a dynasty.

Finnel led the Cardinals to the 2017 WIAA Division 1 state championship. Middleton followed that up with a second place showing at state in 2018.

And Finnel expects nothing less than another run at a state title this season. Middleton begins its season Saturday at the Verona Invitational.

“Yes, absolutely,” said Finnel, who has a school-record 82 kids in the program. “We have some big-time experience on our side, arguably the most veteran group in the state at this level. 

“I think it will help temper the emotions compared to having a younger squad. These guys know what to expect in all facets of our season. They have a group sense of what they can do if they work together and are a confident group.”

With good reason.

Wed
04
Sep
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Girls XC team hopes to breakthrough

Lauren Pansegrau experienced first hand what the state cross country meet is like last season.

This year, she’d like to bring some friends along. 

Pansegrau, a senior for Middleton’s girls cross, finished 31st individually at last year’s WIAA Division 1 state meet. Pansegrau then finished second in the 3,200-meter run at the state track and field meet.

Now, with the cross country season set to begin, Pansegrau’s dreams are large — and so are Middleton’s.

“This group of gals definitely has potential, more than they know they have actually,” said Middleton coach Alexa Richardson, whose team begins its new season Saturday at the Verona Invitational. “The girls know they have a chance to have a big breakthrough this year, which has really fired them up.”

Middleton finished fourth at sectionals last year and brings the majority of those runners back.

Thu
29
Aug
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Football Cardinals off and running

MADISON — The moment he plucked the short screen pass from the sky and spun around last Friday night, Middleton senior tailback Kallion Buckner had a pretty good idea six points were about to be added to the scoreboard — even though he was standing just inside midfield.

Three of his giant offensive linemen were already picking up steam ready to devour blockers in front of him. He had a fresh pair of cleats attached to his speedy feet. And there was plenty of open field to show off his skills.

“If they’re there it’s a touchdown every time,” Buckner said of his highly-touted linemen, who on this play were Billy Johnson, Clay Craker and Taylor Simmons. “Whenever I see them, I feel so protected. Untouchable.”

Thu
29
Aug
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Boys spikers, Van Buren thinking big

Two years ago, few people in the volleyball world knew the name Parker Van Buren.

A Middleton sophomore at the time, Van Buren was a bit player for the 2017 Cardinals. He was green as grass. And at 6-foot-3, he hadn’t finished growing.

Today, Van Buren just might be the frontrunner to win Player of the Year honors in the state. And he’s the No. 1 reason why Middleton stands a terrific chance to win its first state tournament match since 2008.

The Cardinals opened their new season Tuesday at the Muskego Quadrangular. And the growth of Van Buren, now a 6-foot-7 senior outside hitter, has everyone in the program buzzing.

“He has the chance to be the most dominant player we've had at Middleton,” said Cardinals coach Ben White. “His size and the position he plays — outside — make him such a tough match-up.

Thu
29
Aug
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MHS boys soccer team aiming high

Overlooked.

Disregarded.

Unnoticed.

Middleton’s boys soccer coach Ben Kollasch believes that all of those could apply to his team — at least early on this season. The Cardinals went just 10-8-2 a year ago, then lost four all-conference players to graduation.

But after watching tryouts, Kollasch believes his Cardinals could be one of the surprise teams in the area this fall.

Middleton takes aim at that goal beginning Thursday, when it opens the year against New Berlin Eisenhower at the Brookfield East Invite.

“The challenge of this team is not the talent,” Kollasch said. “This team has as much talent as any Middleton team in memory.

Thu
29
Aug
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Middleton's girls spikers hope to surprise

Brash. Bold. Bombastic.

This is how many people view Middleton girls volleyball coach Franco Marcos — who is never shy singing the praises of his team.

This year, though, Marcos has toned down the noise ever so slightly.

“Yes, it is a rebuilding year,” said Marcos, whose team began its season at the 20-team Onalaska Tournament on Wednesday. “I guess you never thought you would hear that coming from me. But it will be a sweet rebuilding year.”

Middleton went 32-17 overall last year, finished fourth in the Big Eight Conference at 6-3, then fell to Holmen in a WIAA Division 1 regional final. That team was senior dominated, though, and now Middleton has several holes to fill.

Middleton doesn't have a great deal of experience back. But Marcos will lean heavily on the few veterans he does have.

Junior libero Jada Cerniglia will be a key cog for the Cardinals.

Thu
22
Aug
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Middleton's new era begins

Billy Johnson’s goals were summed up in one quick word.

“Dominate,” Middleton’s all-Big Eight Conference right tackle said.

Clay Craker, the Cardinals’ center, had a similar take.

“We’re going balls to the wall,” Craker said. “The whole group. Our main goal this year is to dominate.”

Middleton, which is coming off a frustrating 6-4 campaign that included a fourth-place finish in the Big Eight Conference, begins its new season at Madison East Friday at 7 p.m. And the Cardinals’ greatest hope for improvement is centered around an offensive line that could be sensational.

Jason Pertzborn, a longtime assistant at MHS who takes over the head coaching duties this year, knows the Cardinals’ path to greatness could come from their ‘Fab Five’ up front and standout running back Kallion Buckner.

Thu
22
Aug
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Middleton swimmers are chasing history

This marks the 50th year that girls swimming has been a WIAA sport.

In that time, there have been just four occasions where a school has won at least four straight state championships. Amazingly, Madison West did it three times (1980-’83, 1989-’92 and 1995-’98) and Hartland Arrowhead did it once (2002-’06).

Middleton could join that elite club this season.

The Cardinals have won three straight state championships, including an inspiring performance last year in which they ran away from the field despite having a top-rated relay team disqualified at sectionals. Now, with a sensational group of returnees, a handful of improved swimmers and a gifted group of newcomers, Middleton is set to take aim at a fourth straight state championship.

The Cardinals open their 2019 season at Madison East Friday at 5 p.m.

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