Sports

Thu
30
Dec
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Middleton's Year In Sports

Sports returned to Middleton High School in 2021.

And so did the wins, the thrills and the championships.

After COVID shut down the sports world in 2020, things inched back to a state of normalcy at Middleton in 2021. And that meant one highlight after another.

Last week, we ran stories No. 6-10. This week we look at the top-five.

 

1. Girls XC team wins state — twice

It was so much fun winning a state title, Middleton’s girls cross country team thought they’d do it twice.

The Cardinals won the WIAA Division 1 2020 alternate fall state title when that event was pushed to May, 2021. Middleton then won its second state title in five months and repeated on Oct. 31.

“Holy cow!” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson. “Our girls ran amazing.”

Fri
24
Dec
MTT News's picture

Middleton's Year In Sports

Sports returned to Middleton High School in 2021.

And so did the wins, the thrills and the championships.

After COVID shut down the sports world in 2020, things inched back to a state of normalcy at Middleton in 2021. And that meant one highlight after another.

Over the next two weeks, I’ll examine the top-10 sports stories of the year. Stories 6-10 will run this week, and stories 1-5 will run next week.

 

6. Beckman, boys golfers shine at state

When Jacob Beckman walked Middleton’s boys golf program, he wasn’t bashful.

The baby faced, yet ultra-gifted Beckman outlined his goals. And he wasn’t afraid to aim big.

“The goal that I set for myself the very first day of practice my freshman year was to win a state championship,” Beckman said.

Fri
24
Dec
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Boys basketball team hitting all the right notes

Middleton’s boys basketball team gathered late last-Thursday and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to standout senior guard Logan Raffel.

When it was over, one of the assistants hollered, “Boy, that was rough.”

That might have been a kind breakdown of the Cardinals’ singing. Fortunately for Middleton, though, it keeps hitting all the right notes on the court.

Middleton used a late 10-0 run and pulled away from Janesville Craig for a 60-49 win. The Cardinals are 6-0 overall and remained atop the Big Eight Conference at 6-0, while the Cougars fell to 3-4 overall and 3-2 in the league.

“We feel great,” said Raffel, who celebrated his 18th birthday with 13 points. “We’ve got a great run going and we’ve got a great group of guys that all stick together and all complement each other’s games really well. And we just have a great energy, too. We’ve all been playing since we were little, and we all just mesh really well.”

Fri
24
Dec
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MHS girls fall to Craig

They've toppled the teams at the bottom of the conference.

It's the ones at the top that have given Middleton’s girls basketball team trouble.

The Cardinals dug themselves an 11-0 hole last Friday and couldn't escape in what became a 59-42 loss to Janesville Craig.

The Cougars improved to 5-1 in the Big Eight Conference and sit atop the league with Sun Prairie. Middleton is tied for third place in the conference at 4-2 and is 4-3 overall.

“We had a couple stretches during the game that hurt us,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “But we did show some good signs.”

The Cougars showed more, though, which is why they’re in first place.

“I think what I’m most pleased with tonight was the poise that our girls showed,” Craig coach Kerry Storbakken said. “They knew that Middleton was a good team and was going to make their runs, but our girls never panicked.”

Fri
24
Dec
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Hockey Cardinals notch two wins

Middleton’s hockey team had a sensational week, rolling to a pair of Big Eight Conference wins.

The Cardinals defeated Beloit Memorial, 11-0, on Dec. 14 and downed Madison West, 8-1, last Saturday. Middleton is now 5-4 overall and 3-3 in the conference.

Eight different Cardinals scored in their rout of Beloit Memorial.

Brady Engelkes, Daniel Shulla and Garrett Ballweg both had a pair of goals, while Wyatt Ehrhardt, Ethan Lam, Cam Semrad, Eli Kinne and Vince Kalscheur all tallied goals, as well.

Ehrhardt added three assists and finished with a team-high four points, while Ryan Inman and Brendan Julius both had two assists.

Cam Haynes had 12 saves and notched the shutout for Middleton.

The Cardinals then cruised past Madison West.

Inman led the way with two goals, while Lam had a goal and two assists. Alexander Moreau, Hayden Wimmer, Avery Passini, Kalscheur and Julius all added goals, as well.

Fri
24
Dec
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Swimmers have tough week

Unacceptable

That’s what Middleton boys swimming coach R.J. Leiferman called the Cardinals’ performance against Madison West last Friday.

The Cardinals won five of the 11 events, but West’s depth helped it roll to a 106-64 win. It was Middleton’s first Big Eight Conference loss of the year.

Middleton’s Nick Chirafisi won the 200-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. Jack Madoch won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard freestyle, while Theo Wolf won the 100 backstroke.

But the Cardinals couldn't get much else accomplished.

“Our performance vs. Madison West was completely unacceptable,” Leiferman said. “We have to be better in the future.”

Middleton was much better the following day when it finished second at the 11-team Beloit Invite.

Verona-Mount Horeb was first with 657 points, while the Cardinals were second at 633. Badger (449), Beloit Memorial (287) and Waukesha South/Catholic Memorial (287) rounded out the top five.

Thu
16
Dec
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Middleton off to stellar start

They’re just four games into their young season, but folks are already noticing.

One coach in the same sectional with Middleton’s boys basketball team predicted the Cardinals will be the No. 1 seed come February. Another voted Middleton No. 3 in the latest Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association state poll.

And why not?

The Cardinals are off to a 4-0 start — with all victories inside the Big Eight Conference — following another big week.

Middleton toppled Madison East, 64-59, on Dec. 7. The Cardinals then went to Madison West and stymied the Regents, 51-35, last Friday.

“We’re much better defensively than we are offensively,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “But the offense is brand new, so well learn nuances as we go. I just like the early vibe.

“The mentality of the team is the only thing that matters, and all they care about is that we’ve got four wins. We’re 1-0 four times. That’s their mindset.”

Thu
16
Dec
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Middleton skating for Jack

The Middleton-Cross Plains and Madison West communities lost three bright lights on Oct. 2 with the tragic passing of senior student-athletes Jack Miller, Evan Kratochwill and Simon Bilessi.

Miller and Kratochwill attended Middleton High School, while Bilessi, who previously attended Middleton, was a student-athlete at Madison West High School.

Kratochwill ran cross country at Middleton and Bilessi played soccer at Madison West, while Jack Miller played soccer at Middleton and was planning to try out for the varsity hockey team his senior year.

To honor Miller as well as Kratochwill and Bilessi, Middleton’s Big Eight Conference varsity hockey game against Madison West on Saturday has been designated as a ‘We Skate for Jack’ game with a pregame ceremony preceding a 3 p.m. start at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton.

Thu
16
Dec
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Girls BB team tied atop Big 8

VERONA — The Big Eight Conference’s girls basketball race is going to be a wild one this winter.

A handful of teams could win the title. And it wouldn't come as a surprise if the eventual champion had three or four league losses.

So while Middleton was certainly disappointed with its 61-34 setback at Verona last Saturday, the Cardinals also understood the big picture.

Despite the loss, Middleton, Janesville Craig and Madison La Follette are all tied atop the conference with 4-1 records. Sun Prairie was just ½-game off the lead at 3-2, while Verona and Madison Memorial were one game back at 3-2.

“It’s a measuring stick,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We didn't play very well, but they’re a really good team.

“Overall, I think we’re making some progress. We knew coming into the season that we have a long way to go, but I think there’s still some places we can improve a lot.”

Thu
16
Dec
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Hockey Cards split a pair

Middleton’s hockey team has faced a brutal schedule to start the year.

But after a week where the Cardinals earned an impressive split, they were feeling OK about the direction they’re headed.

Middleton defeated Sun Prairie, 5-3, on Dec. 7, then fell to state power Verona, 6-3, two nights later.

Middleton is now 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the Big Eight Conference.

“Overall, it was a good week for our guys,” Cardinals head coach Dan Truehl said. “We played well in both games and proved to ourselves that we can play with the best in the area and state.

“We still need to learn how to win close games. With younger teams this isn’t uncommon, but being on the right side of a hard fought, close game would go a long way.”

Middleton earned an impressive win over Sun Prairie, as Vince Kalscheur notched three goals in a 20-minute window to lift his team to victory.

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