Sports

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton faces No. 1 Mukwonago at state

Overlooked? Been there.

Disrespected? Done that.

Underdogs? Oh well.

Middleton’s girls basketball team has traveled each of these paths this season and the Cardinals will do it again this weekend.

Middleton received the No. 4 seed at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament at the Resch Center in Green Bay and will meet No. 1 seed Mukwonago in a semifinal game Friday at 6:35 p.m.

The winner of that game meets either second-seeded Kimberly or third-seeded Bay Port in the state finals Saturday at approximately 8:15 p.m.

For Middleton, being discounted and snubbed has been par for the course this season.

“I love being the underdog,” said senior point guard Charlotte Dunn. “We’ve kind of been that all season.

“We’re young, no expectations there. Coming off of last year, losing in the first round, it was kind of like ‘let’s see what they can do.’ We wanted to prove them wrong, and here we are. Now we’re going (to state).”

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton's girls headed back to state

JANESVILLE — With 5.7 seconds remaining, Middleton senior point guard Charlotte Dunn stepped to the free throw line and broke into a huge grin.

No pressure.

Just finish off an impressive victory over a conference rival and let the party begin.

But first, Dunn made eye contact with fellow senior and co-captain Hannah Flottmeyer, who began to tear up as they shared a moment they will treasure the rest of their lives.

Dunn sank one of two free throws to put an exclamation point on an impressive 60-45 victory over Sun Prairie in a WIAA Division 1 sectional final held at Janesville Craig High School on Saturday afternoon.

Wed
06
Mar
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Middleton's girls rally past Memorial

VERONA — The tension was palpable, the gym deafening. Nearly everybody inside Verona High School was on their feet. 

During the final five minutes of last Thursday’s WIAA Division1 girls basketball sectional final between Middleton and Madison Memorial, the Big Eight Conference rivals traded blow after blow.

Thanks to smothering defense, though, and some clutch baskets down the stretch, the Cardinals rallied back from an eight-point deficit and downed the Spartans, 41-39.

The win was the 12th in a row for Middleton and improved its record to 20-5. The win also placed the Cardinals in their second sectional final in three years.

Memorial finished the year 19-6 and had its seven-game winning streak snapped.

Wed
06
Mar
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Craig ends Middleton's year

In many ways, they overachieved from Day 1.

Middleton’s boys basketball team was dealt a crushing blow last October when Max Schlicht — arguably its most talented player — was lost for the season due to an ACL injury.

In rather impressive fashion, though, the Cardinals still went 13-9 in the regular season, snapped an ugly losing streak against Madison Memorial and received the No. 6 seed in an 18-team sectional.

Last Friday night, though, those accomplishments meant little.

Visiting Janesville Craig toppled the Cardinals, 61-52, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. And as the Middleton’s coaches and players exchanged season-ending hugs and high-fives, there were tears coming from every corner of the Cardinals’ locker room.

“It hurts a lot,” senior point guard Jack Boyle said. “The end is hard.”

Middleton coach Kevin Bavery agreed.

Wed
06
Mar
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MHS gymnasts finish up big year

In some ways, the results were almost secondary.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team, a surprise participant at the WIAA Division 1 state meet held at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School, was truthfully fine with whatever happened.

“We were just happy to be at state,” Middleton coach Kari Steck.

And that made the outcome easy to digest.

Middleton finished 10th among 10 teams at the state team meet last Friday. Franklin captured the team title with a score of 148.2833, while Middleton was 10th at 130.7667.

Then during the individual meet Saturday, Middleton senior Jordan Baggot was 22nd in the all-around competition, while sophomore Taylor Engelkes was 23rd.

“I don't think the girls were nervous,” Steck said. “It was a great experience for a young team.”

Middleton certainly wasn’t at its best at the team meet. Then again, no one was complaining.

Thu
28
Feb
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Middleton girls win regional title

Josie Lemirande doesn’t always look for her shot.

But, when she does, look out.

The junior guard unleashed a sharp-shooting clinic as she drilled five 3-pointers, including a halftime buzzer-beater from just beyond half court, to lead Middleton’s girls basketball team to a 60-38 WIAA Division 1 regional final victory over Waunakee last Saturday night.

The long distance shot gave the Cardinals a 28-16 halftime lead and some much needed momentum going into the second half.

“Josie had a nice game for us,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “That was a nice momentum booster hitting that buzzer beater at the end of the first half. That was a big turnaround because they had a layup that could very easily have gone in. It was nice to get that lead going in.”

Thu
28
Feb
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MHS girls set for Madison Memorial

There’s an axiom in sports about how hard it is to beat a team three straight times.

Truth is, that’s a total myth.

In the National Football League, for example, 20 teams have had to face a divisional opponent in the playoffs after beating them twice in the regular season since the 1970 merger. Thirteen of those teams won the third matchup (65.0%).

A study in women’s college volleyball showed that the team winning the first two matches also won the third match 75% of the time.

Middleton’s girls basketball team certainly hopes this long-standing adage proves to be a fable.

The second-seeded Cardinals meet third-seeded Madison Memorial in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Verona High School. The winner advances to the sectional final Saturday at 1 p.m. at Janesville Craig against either top-seeded Sun Prairie or fifth-seeded Madison East.

Thu
28
Feb
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Meicher ends career second at state

Kevin Meicher didn’t get his storybook ending.

In general, though, the four-year novel he crafted couldn't have read much better.

Meicher, a senior at Middleton High School, reached the WIAA Division 1 state wrestling championship at 152 pounds inside the UW Kohl Center Saturday night. Meicher, who won a state title as a freshman, was trying to cap his career with bookend titles.

Instead, Nathan Fuller of River Falls defeated Meicher in the finals, 8-3.

“It would have been a great story, a bookend (championship),” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said of Meicher. “But I’m guessing there are bigger stories for him. He’s a great kid. He’s a great wrestler.”

Meicher finished his brilliant career with a state title at 126 pounds in 2016, second place finishes both this year and at 138 in 2017, and a fourth place showing at 152 in 2018.

Thu
28
Feb
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Boys basketball team hopes for big second season

Casey Hellenbrand surveyed the damage.

He looked at what’s coming next.

And Middleton’s senior guard gave a fitting description of where Middleton’s boys basketball team currently sits.

“We get to start over, and that’s a good thing,” Hellenbrand said. “We’ve had a six-game winning streak this season and now we’re in a little bit of a rough patch. So I think we’re all excited to start over.”

The Cardinals ended the regular season losing three of their final four games, including their last two. Middleton dropped a 69-51 decision to visiting Madison La Follette on Senior Night last Thursday to wrap up the regular season.

Middleton fell to 13-9 overall, finished in sole possession of fifth place in the Big Eight Conference (10-8), and now gets a chance at new life. The Cardinals, the No. 6 seed in their sectional, host 11th-seeded Janesville Craig (10-12) in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday at 7 p.m.

Tue
26
Feb
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Gymnasts pull off stunner, qualify for state

The Middleton faithful that traveled to La Crosse were crunching the numbers.

And as the WIAA Division 1 La Crosse Logan Sectional unfolded last Friday, the Cardinals’ fans began to buzz.

Down on the floor, though, things were different.

Middleton’s upstart gymnastics team knew they had just finished one of their top meets of the season. But the Cardinals weren’t sure how that shaped up against the rest of the field.

“A lot of the adults knew what was going on,” Middleton’s Taylor Engelkes said. “But we didn’t know until they started reading off the scores.”

The Cardinals were pleasantly surprised.

Middleton gave one of its finest performances of the year and qualified for the WIAA Division 1 state team competition for the eighth straight year. Madison Memorial won the Logan Sectional with a 136.6250 team score, while the Cardinals were second at 135.50.

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