Sports

Wed
05
Mar
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Girls BB team psyched for postseason

 

Outright conference champions.

Sectional favorites.

Pursuers of a WIAA Division 1 state title.

Middleton’s girls basketball team wears all of those titles following another exciting week.

The Cardinals defeated Madison Memorial, 58-41, last Thursday and claimed sole possession of the Big Eight Conference title. Middleton finished the year 17-1 in the league and edged Verona (16-2) by one game for the conference crown.

It was Middleton’s seventh conference title in eight years — with the only hiccup coming last season.

“We were all thrilled to win conference outright,” Middleton senior forward Liz McMahon said. “It gives us confidence going into playoffs, and it’s something we’re all proud of.

Wed
05
Mar
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Boulevard of broken dreams

SUN PRAIRIE — Up one moment.

Down the next.

Much like its season, inconsistency plagued Middleton’s boys basketball team in a season-ending 52-44 loss to Sun Prairie in a WIAA Division 1 regional final last Saturday.

There were times during the game where Middleton looked to be on the verge of pulling away. However, Sun Prairie stayed close and then outscored Middleton 15-3 in the fourth quarter.

“There were so many instances where we were right on the edge of pushing it out of reach,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “All we needed was one of almost anything to happen our way and clearly nothing did.”

Middleton finished its season with a 13-11 overall record.

Wed
05
Mar
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Boys BB team wins playoff opener

Their season hung in the balance. And the way Middleton’s year had gone, it would have been very easy to count the Cardinals out.

Visiting Madison La Follette opened the fourth quarter of last Friday’s WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on a 7-0 burst. That gave the Lancers their first lead of the second half at 38-36.

“We had adversity all year,” Middleton senior forward Demond Hill said. “This was just the latest.”

On this night, though, Middleton navigated through the difficulty with aplomb. The Cardinals smacked the Lancers with a 14-4 run, reclaimed a 50-42 lead, and went on to an impressive 57-49 win.

Middleton fell the next night in a regional final at Sun Prairie. But in a year laced with inconsistency, the Cardinals came up big in their final home game of the season.

Wed
05
Mar
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Skibba, Cardinals aiming high at state

MADISON — It may have been the longest 10 weeks of Aryn Skibba’s young life.

The devoted, passionate, remarkably gifted Middleton gymnast went from standout to spectator.

And watching her teammates compete hurt immensely. Perhaps even more than the back injury that had sidelined Skibba.

“It was awful,” Skibba said. “Just awful.”

Today, Skibba is making up for lost time.

Skibba set a school record in the all-around competition with her score of 38.10 at last Saturday’s Madison Memorial Sectional. Not only did Skibba win the all-around title, she posted the second-highest all-around score from any sectional in the state.

Now, Skibba and the Cardinals head to the WIAA Division 1 state meet at Wisconsin Rapids High School full of confidence. The team competition begins Friday at 2 p.m. and the individual competition starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

Wed
05
Mar
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Gymnasts win sectional title

 

MADISON — The numbers had been tabulated.

The results had been conveyed to Middleton girls gymnastics coach Kari Steck.

Steck paused momentarily, then let loose an extremely enthusiastic “Woo Hoo.”

“Woo Hoo” was right.

In a memorable performance, the Cardinals rolled to the championship at last Saturday’s Madison Memorial Sectional.

Middleton posted a team score of 143.5250 and toppled runner-up Madison Memorial (142.750) for the title. That’s believed to be the second-best postseason score in school history. Middleton’s 2001 team scored a 144.2167 at the state meet.

“I’m really happy,” said Cardinals senior Aryn Skibba, who won the all-around championship. “I think we just came in today and needed to be a team and have fun. And I think that really showed.”

Wed
05
Mar
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Haase shines at state

 

Shay Haase finished on the podium at the WIAA Division 1 individual state wrestling tournament at the Kohl Center last Saturday night.

That accomplished one of the goals for Middleton’s 152-pound junior this season.

However, Haase was dealt a bitter reminder that there is still a lot of work remaining to accomplish his goal of becoming the Cardinals’ next state champion after he got off to a stellar start in his second straight state tournament appearance.

“It felt good to be on the podium, but at the same time I was disappointed because I knew I could have done better and placed higher in the tournament,” said Haase, who placed sixth this season after losing his only match a year ago. “Next year I’m planning all offseason to be on top of the stage.”

Wed
26
Feb
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NFL dream gets closer for Middleton's Groy

Ryan Groy always thought this was possible.

From the days he was the biggest kid at Sunset Ridge to his time dominating defensive linemen while at Middleton High School. Groy always believed his eventual landing spot would be in the National Football League.

Now, that day is getting closer.

Groy, who recently completed his senior season at the University of Wisconsin, took his show to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last week. There, he did all he could to show scouts he could be the latest in a long line of great UW linemen.

“I've loved (football) since I was in fourth grade,” said Groy, a 2009 graduate of MHS. “It's been my life since then and it's everything it is now. You go to bed and wake up thinking about football and it's never really changed.”

Wed
26
Feb
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Swimmers 9th at state

 

A year after coming within a split-second of qualifying for state, Hans Kunsch had a state meet to remember.

The Middleton senior not only qualified for state, but made the podium to propel Middleton’s boys swimming team to a ninth-place tie at the WIAA Division 1 state boys’ swim meet held at the University of Wisconsin Natatorium last Saturday.

“Last year I missed the cut by 1/100th of a second, so pretty much as close as you can get to going to state,” Kunsch said. “This year, I couldn’t let that happen again so I trained as hard as I can, went to every practice, didn’t miss one this year actually, and was really happy.”

Kunsch placed fifth in the 100-yard backstroke in 53.20 seconds and was also part of the near record-setting 200 medley relay team, which included senior Lars Haskins and juniors Rory Slattery and Lex Peterson. The foursome placed third in the event in 1:36.08, just .02 off the Middleton school record.

Wed
26
Feb
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Haase, Dresen headed to state

Shay Haase’s goal hasn't changed.

What is different is that’s Middleton’s standout junior wrestler is far closer to achieving his ultimate objective.

Haase finished in first place at 152 pounds during last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional. Haase now advances to the state meet, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the UW Kohl Center.

“My goal has been the same since the start of the season,” Haase said. “And that's been to be standing on the podium on Saturday.”

Middleton senior Nathan Dresen finished second at sectionals and also qualified for state. The Cardinals’ other 10 sectional qualifiers failed to earn a trip to state.

“The one thing about sectionals is it’s the will and the want,” Weiler said. “It’s a lot of emotions. Emotions are running so high all day long, and at the end of it all, you just hope to have a couple of kids still standing.”

Wed
26
Feb
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Gymnasts second at Big 8 meet

 

Their two-year run as Big Eight Conference champions ended last Saturday. But the last thing Middleton’s gymnasts felt was disappointment.

That’s because the Cardinals posted a season-best score of 141.60 and finished second overall. The fact Madison Memorial scored a 142.65 and won the league simply showed how strong the Big Eight is in 2014.

“I was thrilled with the team score, especially considering we counted three beam falls which totaled 1.5 points,” said Middleton coach Kari Steck, who will now take her team to the Madison Memorial Sectional Saturday. “I don't think the girls were really focused on scores, which makes a huge difference in performance. They seemed calm and ready to have fun.

“I think Saturday was a great ‘trial round’ for sectionals, where we hope to beat Madison Memorial. Memorial is strong this year, but the girls know that they are stronger, and more consistent.”

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