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Big 8 likely to cancel non-conference football games

The hits keep coming. And the pads haven’t even gone on yet.

Football coaches inside the Big Eight Conference drafted a letter on July 12 proposing that all non-conference games be eliminated this season. They gave the letter to their athletic directors the following day, and when the league’s A.D.’s meet July 21, they’re expected to cancel the non-conference portion of the season.

That means Middleton’s game at Bay Port on Aug. 20 would not take place. Waunakee — the Cardinals’ opponent on Aug. 28 — approved a plan earlier this week to eliminate all non-conference football games, so that game has already been canceled.

“I just think it’s the smart thing to do,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said. “The best-case scenario is we’ll get back into the building at the start of August. That’s not enough time to get ready.”

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Middleton's stars of the century

The task was daunting.

The Times-Tribune recently asked a 16-person panel to rank the best male and female athletes to pass through Middleton High School in the 21st century. Any athlete who competed in the 21st century was eligible to be nominated and their exploits across their entire career were considered, even if a portion of their playing days came in the 1990s.

The panel consisted of past and present coaches, local sportswriters and community members that have seen countless Cardinals’ events.

There were no set criteria outlined. Beauty was in the eye of each beholder.

If one voter thought a multi-sport athlete with solid production across the board rated ahead of a one-sport athlete who excelled at their craft, that was their prerogative. If another voter prioritized team success, that was fine, too.

Nearly 60 boys and 60 girls were nominated for consideration, and after the votes were tabulated, each field was trimmed to a top-20.

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HTL season canceled

Brandon Hellenbrand, who manages Middleton’s Home Talent League team, had a hunch this was coming.

The same goes for Sauk Prairie skipper Lucas Koenig.

As cases from the COVID-19 pandemic have risen in recent weeks, the challenges mounted for HTL teams to play their season. On June 26, the league’s executive board voted to call off the season, which was supposed to begin this weekend.

While teams across the league were disappointed, no one was arguing with the decision.

“I do agree with the Board's decision to cancel the 2020 season,” Hellenbrand said. “Over the last week or so, watching the number of cases grow and hearing from other teams that have played exhibition games and the difficulty they've had with following the guidelines, I don't think there was any way this season could have been played safely.”

Koenig, who sits on the HTL’s Board, felt the same way.

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Given takes over girls tennis program




Matt Given has them all. And Middleton’s new girls tennis coach hopes those qualities lead to big things on the court this fall.

Given replaces Terry Geurkink, who lasted just one year.

“The Middleton girls tennis program has so much history and success over the years,” Given said. “I know the potential that the girls program has and I am very excited to be a part of it. The tennis community here really supports the program and that is something that really drew me to this job.”

Given, a Math teacher at Middleton High School, was born and raised in Mesa, Az. He attended Arizona State University and has coached the last 12 years.

Given takes over a program packed with potential, but also one that has lacked consistency at the top.

Middleton is hoping that changes with Given.

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White steps down as boys volleyball coach

Ben White knew this day was quickly approaching.

The one where he’d have to pass the reigns of Middleton’s boys volleyball program onto somebody else. The day where he turned over one of the most successful sports in the school to another leader.

For White, that day came on June 12 — and understandably, it came with mixed emotions.

White was named Middleton’s new assistant athletic director. Due to the demands of his new job, White had to step down as the boys’ volleyball coach after a remarkably successful 19-year run.

“Middleton volleyball is something that has been part of my life for 28 years — and I'm not that old,” said White, who was also a player and an assistant coach for the Cardinals before becoming the head man in 2001. “It will always hold a special place in my heart. I am hopeful that in my new role I can help the new coach with any questions they may have and help provide any guidance they may need.”

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Home Talent League returns July 4 weekend

Excitement. Eagerness. Exhilaration.

All mixed with a large dose of cautiousness.

The Home Talent League plans to begin its season on the weekend of July 4 with new several social distancing measures now in place. Teams were supposed to start play in May, but the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Night League season was canceled.

“We're pretty excited as a team to get out there and start the season,” Middleton manager Brandon Hellenbrand said. “The Home Talent board did send out guidelines for each team to follow. I think if each team follows these guidelines, we can be in for a successful season.”

Cross Plains manager Randy Meinholz agreed.

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Middleton wins WSN Cup

The 2019-’20 high school sports season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in the games that were played, no one accomplished more than Middleton High School.

The Cardinals won the annual WSN Cup Large School Division trophy, which is presented by The award honors schools that provide and achieve success in many of the WIAA sponsored sports.

Middleton won the Large School award for a second straight year after Arrowhead won the first 11 titles. The Large School Division is for schools with enrollment over 1,000.

Middleton finished with 585.43 points, while the Warhawks were second with 554.0. Brookfield East (524), Muskego (418) and Brookfield Central (363.5) rounded out the top five.

Points are awarded for finishes in the state tournament of every sport. Generally, the top 32 teams in each sport are awarded points.

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Jamie Sims named Middleton's athletic director

Jamie Sims knows the job is daunting.

He understands that the demands, stresses and time-commitment can all be a bit overwhelming.

But Sims believes he’s ready for his next great challenge. And the powers-that-be at Middleton High School think he’s the man to lead their athletic department into the future.

Sims, currently the principal at Black Hawk Middle School in Madison, was named Middleton’s new athletic director Thursday night. Sims replaces Bob Joers, who died of pancreatic cancer last month.

Ben White was named Middleton’s assistant athletic director and student activities coordinator. He’ll spend approximately 50% of his time in each role.

“I am really excited,” Sims said Friday afternoon. “The program is in great shape thanks to all of the hard work laid by Bob. I’m just excited to build on that and amplify that. Athletics is really my true passion and I can’t wait to get started.”

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'Best of the best' for Middleton boys

This was a year like no other.

The high school sports world came to a screeching halt on March 12 as the COVID-19 pandemic struck. And sports never started up again.

Still, the Times-Tribune would like to recognize the elite performances of the shortened 2019-’20 school year. Last week, we honored the top girls teams and this week we’ll pay homage to the boys.


Teams of the Year: Cross country and swimming

In a matter of 3 ½ months, Middleton brought home a pair of state championships.

First, the cross country team won its second state title in three years, upsetting favored Stevens Point to bring home gold in early November. Then in late-February, Middleton’s swimmers surprised many and won the first state championship in school history.

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'Best of the best' for Middleton girls

This was a year like no other.

The high school sports world came to a screeching halt on March 12 as the COVID-19 pandemic struck. And sports never started up again.

Still, the Times-Tribune would like to recognize the elite performances of the shortened 2019-’20 school year. This week, we’ll honor the top girls and next week we’ll pay homage to the boys.


Teams of the Year: Golf and basketball

Middleton’s girls golf team had a season it will never forget — and ended it with a state championship.

The Cardinals’ girls basketball team produced a similar season, only their state title chase was stopped by COVID-19.

The two groups that both captured the fancy of the community are the Times-Tribune’s Co-Teams of the Year.


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