Sports

Wed
24
Mar
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Soccer Cards thrilled new season has arrived

The wait was excruciating.

Which is why the return figures to be so much sweeter.

Middleton’s boys soccer teams began its new season Monday. And after a 16-month gap between competitions, the Cardinals were thrilled to get their new year started.

“The kids are fired up,” said Kevin Pauls, who’s beginning his first year as Middleton’s head coach. “We had contact days a couple weeks ago and had over 90 student-athletes participate each of the five nights. As of Friday, I have about 130 kids signed up, which is down a little from a normal year, but still shows how excited these players are to get out and play.”

No one is more excited than Pauls, though.

Pauls is a lifelong soccer player who attended McFarland High School and began coaching with the Spartans in 1998. At McFarland, Pauls coached at all levels and was also a varsity assistant.

Wed
24
Mar
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Tennis Cardinals win a pair

The wait is over.

And now, Middleton’s girls tennis team is ready for a big season.

The Cardinals cruised past Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker by identical 7-0 scores last Saturday. It was the first time Middleton took the court since Oct., 2019.

“For the first match of the alternate fall season the girls came out and played well,” Middleton first-year coach Matt Given said. “It was nice to finally get the season going.”

In the Cardinals’ win over Craig, Netra Somasundarem rolled to a 6-0, 6-0 win at No. 1 singles. Sophia Agapov posted a 6-4, 6-1 win at No. 2, Amy Li rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 victory at No. 3, and Charlotte Sax cruised at No. 4, 6-2, 6-0.

In doubles play, Karsen Dettman and Noor Rajpal posted a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 1. Cece Hujanen and Rose Ryan rolled to a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 2, while Grace Olson and Cate Ohly notched a 6-4, 6-2 win at No. 3.

Wed
24
Mar
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Boys spikers get a lift from JV team

Rob Kleinschmidt knew he had talent and depth inside his Middleton boys volleyball program this season.

Last week, he found out just how much.

The Cardinals were placed in contact tracing quarantine on March 17. That meant Middleton’s JV Red team was called into action last Saturday against Appleton North and Kimberly — two state powers.

Appleton North defeated Middleton, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 and Kimberly toppled the Cardinals, 25-16, 25-20, 25-19. Both matches were extremely competitive and the Cardinals discovered how strong their program is from top to bottom.

“We learned a lot about what it takes to compete at the highest varsity level,” Middleton JV coach Josh McCall said. “Every player showed me something special throughout the day.”

Before the Cardinals’ varsity team was put into quarantine, they rolled by Fort Atkinson, 25-7, 25-12, 26-24 on March 15.

Wed
24
Mar
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Middleton swimmers notch two big wins

Amazingly, the postseason is quickly approaching in girls swimming.

And once again, Middleton appears like it will be a force.

Middleton edged Sun Prairie, 92-78, on March 16 in what was its toughest dual meet of the season. The Cardinals also rolled past Verona/Mount Horeb, 130-40, last Saturday.

Now, Middleton will travel to the Verona Sectional on March 30. The state championship is April 6 at Waukesha South High School.

“A few girls definitely turned some heads … and made a statement of where they want to be at the end of the season,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said of the Cardinals’ performance last week. “All in all, we executed well and swam at our best this season.”

Sun Prairie has one of the state’s top teams in this alternate-fall season. But Middleton got the best of Sun Prairie after a lengthy delay in its schedule.

Thu
18
Mar
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Boys cross country team is ready to roll

The wait was excruciating.

Which is why the return was so much sweeter.

Middleton’s boys cross country team began its new season Monday. And after a 16-month gap between competitions, the Cardinals were thrilled to get their new year started.

“Relief. It was a long grind,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “It was tough for the boys to keep training or find a reason to train, especially in the winter. I think that really sparked the team to get in gear. We used all 15 contact days to get ready and I know from those that they are extremely excited to begin the season.”

For the better part of a year now, Finnel wondered if this moment would ever come.

It was mid-March, 2020, when the WIAA canceled the remaining games in the girls and boys state basketball tournaments due to COVID-19 concerns. Shortly thereafter, spring sports were canceled, as well.

Thu
18
Mar
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Girls cross country team has high hopes

When you saw them last, Middleton’s girls cross country was completing a magical, marvelous season in which they finished fourth at the WIAA Division 1 state meet.

It’s been a long, grueling path for the Cardinals to make it back to the cross country trails. But that’s exactly where Middleton found itself Monday afternoon when it kicked off its alternate-fall season.

“This season will obviously be different considering not all schools will be competing,” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson said. “However, I expect great things to come. I know the girls do too. This group of girls is very resilient and are good at looking at what the future holds and at the whole picture rather than letting the present obstacles overcome them.”

Getting to this point certainly wasn’t easy and took both patience and perseverance.

Thu
18
Mar
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Boys spikers survive brutal week

Two weeks into his tenure as Middleton’s boys volleyball coach, it’s become apparent Rob Kleinschmidt will schedule the best competition he can find.

Kleinschmidt did just that last week, and Middleton enjoyed a thrilling few days — splitting four matches against a bevy of state powers.

On March 8, Fond du Lac defeated Middleton, 25-19, 18-25, 26-24. The Cardinals bounced back, though, later that night and toppled Kaukauna, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21.

The Cardinals also downed Madison Edgewood, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20, on March 11. Kimberly, the defending state champion, then edged Middleton, 20-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13, on March 13.

In Middleton’s loss to Fond du Lac, Cole Sweitzer had 10 kills and DJ McCall added nine kills and three blocks. Nick Stott had 37 assists and Jackson Pertzborn added four digs.

Middleton led Fond du Lac, 24-21, in the third and deciding set. Fond du Lac closed the match with five straight points, though, to prevail.

Thu
18
Mar
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Girls spikers split a pair

Middleton girls volleyball coach Maddie Vogel was a high school standout at Verona.

During Vogel’s first coaching appearance against her alma mater, she would have loved nothing more than to topple the Wildcats. That didn't happen, though, as Verona edged Middleton, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21, on March 10.

“While the final result wasn’t what we had hoped for, I’m happy with how we performed as a first showing and am confident in our ability to compete with them next time,” Vogel said. “We play them again in a couple of weeks. We’ll be working hard to get ready for that.”

Middleton rebounded nicely when it downed Beloit Memorial, 25-11, 26-24, 25-21, on March 11.

Jordan LaScala led the Cardinals with eight kills and six aces, while Evin Jordee led Middleton with 11 assists. Sierra Pertzborn had four blocks and Jada Cerniglia had a team-high 15 digs.

Thu
18
Mar
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Murphy picks Virginia Tech

Storm Murphy, a 2017 Middleton High School graduate, has decided to join the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team as a graduate transfer.

Murphy, a point guard, spent the last four seasons at Wofford and earned All-Southern Conference first-team honors as a senior this year.

The NCAA Division I Council has given all winter-sports athletes in this school year an additional year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic. Murphy elected to play his final season for Virginia Tech and coach Mike Young, who was his coach for two years at Wofford.

“I’m really pumped about it,” Murphy told the Roanoke Times (Va.). “Watching a lot of VT games, I think I’ll be able to fit right in.”

Murphy said Wisconsin, Baylor, Colorado and Missouri all reached out to him last week. But playing for Young a second time appealed to Murphy.

“I know what I’m getting with him,” Murphy said. “I know the offense.

Thu
18
Mar
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Tanin named to all-freshman team

Sitori Tanin, a former Middleton High School standout and a freshman at Loyola University Chicago, was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-freshman team.

Tanin averaged 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She led the team in blocked shots (24) and shot 50.5% from the field.

Loyola is 11-12 this season and went 8-10 in the MVC. Loyola earned a bid to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) and will open play Friday at 1:30 p.m. when it battles Longwood in a quarterfinal-round game.

Tanin led the Cardinals to the WIAA Division 1 state basketball tournament in both her junior and senior seasons. In track and field, Tanin qualified for state from 2017-2019.

Tanin was also named the Times-Tribune’s top female athlete of the 21st century by a 16-person panel in the semmer of 2020.

 

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