Sports

Fri
26
Oct
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Boys XC team gunning for second straight state title

It’s October.

And that means three things: the weather is getting colder, the leaves are changing on the trees, and Middleton’s boys’ cross country team is heading to state.

Led by top overall finisher Caleb Easton and four runners in the top-eight, Middleton easily secured the WIAA Division 1 Madison West Sectional last Saturday with a score of 31 points at Lake Farm Park in Madison and earned a trip to state. The state cross country meet is Saturday, at The Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids.

Middleton, the defending WIAA Division 1 state champion, won a second straight sectional title and will be headed to state for the sixth consecutive year.

“I have been here for six years and we have made state all six years,” said Middleton coach Brian Finnel, who spent his first three years at MHS as an assistant and the last three as the Cardinals’ head coach. “Consistency is great and it happens because of our athletes’ desire to work hard.

Wed
24
Oct
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Sun Prairie tops Middleton in thriller

SUN PRAIRIE — The hugs, the handshakes and the tears had ended.

Bryce Carey was among the last people remaining at Ashley Field last Friday. And Middleton’s senior quarterback/defensive back — who could barely stand thanks to a painful calf injury — was having a hard time believing the end had arrived.

“I’m so proud, of all the guys,” Carey said. “We worked so hard … but we just fell short.”

Middleton played its finest game of the year in its WIAA Division 1 playoff opener at Sun Prairie. But third-seeded Sun Prairie scored the final nine points of the game and rallied for a 42-36 win over sixth-seeded Middleton.

Middleton ended the year 6-4, while Sun Prairie improved to 9-1 and will host seventh-seeded Sussex Hamilton (6-4) in a Level 2 game Friday at 7 p.m.

Fri
19
Oct
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Clark, Dettman second at state

Maddie Clark had four different doubles partners during her stellar tennis career at Middleton High School.

Each one brought something different to the table, and Clark experienced an impressive level of success with all of her partners.

But Clark found the perfect fit in 2018.

Despite never having played together, Clark was paired with Karsen Dettman this fall. The two then proceeded to take the state by storm.

At last week’s WIAA Division 1 state tournament held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium, Clark and Dettman surged to the finals. There, Nicolet seniors Annabelle Crowley and Emma Koppa toppled Clark and Dettman, 6-3, 6-2, in Saturday’s championship match.

But Middleton’s dynamic duo left the state tournament extremely happy with how their weekend — and their first year together — went.

Fri
19
Oct
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Boys XC team makes a statement

Better late than never.

That’s how Middleton boys’ cross country coach Brian Finnel looked at it.

Middleton, the WIAA Division 1 defending state champions, has had an up and down regular season. But at the Big Eight Conference meet last Saturday — with the Cardinals fully healthy for the first time in weeks — Middleton dominated its star-studded league.

Middleton finished with just 35 points and cruised past runner-up Madison West (59). Sun Prairie (104), Madison La Follette (132) and Madison East (134) rounded out the top five.

“Around the state the expectations are high for our boys’ team and we know we haven't quite hit those expectations most of this season,” Finnel said afterwards. “Some of it was by design, some it was due to illness or small injury setbacks, but moreover we didn't have our fastest seven altogether yet.

Fri
19
Oct
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Soccer Cards set for the postseason

Bring on the postseason.

Middleton’s boys’ soccer team was red hot to finish the year, winning six of its last seven games. That helped the Cardinals earn the No. 4 seed in their WIAA Division 1 sectional.

Middleton hosted 13th seeded Madison La Follette Tuesday in a regional semifinal. If the Cardinals won there, they’d host either fifth-seeded Sun Prairie or 12th-seeded Badger in a regional final Saturday.

“La Follette has been down on their luck this year, but has frequently shown flashes of greatness,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “We need to approach them respectfully. 

“Should we advance we get a repeat of our home game against a lightning quick Sun Prairie team. It is tough to beat a team twice and I expect Sun Prairie to be motivated by their loss to us earlier.”

Fri
19
Oct
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Swimmers win Big Eight

Another year, another Big Eight Conference championship.

Middleton’s sensational girls’ swimming and diving team — which has won back-to-back WIAA Division 1 state titles — appears well on its way to a third straight championship.

The Cardinals wrapped up a perfect conference season by rolling past Madison La Follette, 130-40, last Friday. Middleton went 9-0 in the conference and won every dual meet and invite of the regular season.

“This was a great final meet for us,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We had a goal of going undefeated and winning the Big Eight Conference this season, which is no easy feat.”

Middleton’s quartet of Gabriela Pierobon Mays, Alex Anagnostopoulos, Ally Silvestri and Berkley Smith won the 200-yard medley relay. Smith, Makenna Licking, Abby Utter and Anagnostopoulos won the 200-yard freestyle relay.

And the foursome of Licking, Anna Thomley, Grace Madigan and Madelyn Lawn won the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Sat
13
Oct
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Middleton opens playoffs at Sun Prairie

Jason Pertzborn stood in front of his Middleton football team Monday afternoon.

Pertzborn, the Cardinals’ co-head coach, had watched in agony as Middleton was hammered by Sun Prairie, 35-7, just 72 hours earlier.

And before Middleton started a new practice week, Pertzborn had one request from his Cardinals.

“I said to them, ‘Don’t you quit on me,’ ” Pertzborn said. “I said whatever you do, let’s be sure we get another chance at (Sun Prairie).”

That chance will come Friday night.

Middleton received the No. 6 seed in its postseason grouping and will open the WIAA Division 1 playoffs at third-seeded Sun Prairie Friday at 7 p.m.

Wed
10
Oct
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Middleton golfers storm to second at state

VERONA — Let’s get one thing straight.

Until further notice, the word “rebuilding” should not be used when talking about Middleton’s girls golf program.

“Maybe readjusting,” said junior standout Kate Meier.

How about reloading, restocking or replenishing?

Middleton lost three players from its 2017 team that finished eighth at state. With little experience and several questions, expectations were certainly tempered for the 2018 Cardinals.

Late Tuesday afternoon, though, Meier walked around University Ridge Golf Course clutching the WIAA Division 1 runner-up trophy like a mother holding a newborn. The Cardinals took more pictures than some weddings photographers do. And Middleton’s golfers made a human pyramid, then were welcomed back to town with a firetruck escort.

The Cardinals capped one of their most surprising and rewarding seasons in recent memory with a second-place finish at the state tournament.

Wed
10
Oct
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Sun Prairie hammers Middleton

So much for those dreams of sharing a Big Eight Conference title.

So much for a home playoff game.

Middleton’s football team picked the worst time of the year to play its poorest game of the season.

Visiting Sun Prairie came to Otto Breitenbach Field last Friday, dominated from start to finish and hammered Middleton, 35-7.

Sun Prairie remained in a first place tie in the league by improving to 7-1 both overall and in the Big Eight. Middleton fell to 5-3, 5-3 and dropped to fifth place in the conference.

“I think they were more physical than us, but we also have to get more energy out there,” said Middleton senior quarterback Bryce Carey, who was brilliant in defeat. “We just have to get back to what we’re good at. We’ve got to work hard and bounce back.”

Wed
10
Oct
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White notches 400th career win

Ben White deflected the credit to others.

That’s what great leaders do.

But when word spread that White notched his 400th career win last week, several Middleton alumni quickly turned the acclaim back on the Cardinals’ ultra-successful boys’ volleyball coach.

“He was a joy to play for and be around and has impacted everyone that has come through the program in a positive way,” former Middleton standout Connor Zimmick said.

Thomas Robson, a first-team all-state libero in 2017, felt the same.

“He has a passion and a drive to make each and every kid that goes through that program better,” Robson said of White. “It is never a rebuilding year for him he always finds a way to light a fire under each grade to create this fight that allows the program to be one of the best in the state.”

White has certainly made the Cardinals one of the state’s elite programs.

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