Sports

Thu
25
Feb
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MHS swimmers excited to compete

They are starting six months later than a normal year.

Most competitions will be dual meets spread across two days. And there won’t be any invitationals this season.

Despite the changes, though, Middleton’s girls swimming team is simply thrilled to be competing. The Cardinals will be at Oshkosh West Saturday for their first meet of the new season and believe they have the makings for another strong year.

“The girls were so excited to have an opportunity to swim this spring,” Cardinals coach Lauren Cabalka said. “Naturally there is some apprehension and feelings of uncertainty since we are not used to swimming in the middle of winter or under these unique circumstances, but the general mood is one of gratitude and excitement. 

“When the newest PHMDC guidelines were released, we were able to create a training environment that is very similar to what we would typically put together, giving us that feeling of normalcy.”

Thu
25
Feb
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Middleton's snowboard teams put on a show

Middleton's girls and boys snowboard teams made the most of a shortened season and celebrated tremendous successes at the WIARA State competition recently.

The girls earned their fifth consecutive state championship and the boys finished third overall.

The girls started strong in the Boardercross event featuring banks, turns, and rolling jumps. After taking first as a team in BX, the girls never looked back, building on their leads as a team and finishing strong in Slalom with all six girls placing in the top 14 slots.

Team captain and senior Ella D'Orazio helped lead the Cardinals to a title by finishing second individually.

The boys demonstrated the team nature of the competition by keeping consistent finishes in all disciplines as a group and finished strong in the Slalom. The combined points from the races helped the Cardinals finish third as a team.

Thu
25
Feb
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Middleton skiers shine at state

Middleton’s boys skiing team finished ninth out of 20 teams at the WIARA state championships held at Mount La Crosse on Feb. 14. Hartland Arrowhead won the team title.

The top three finishers in the three disciplines for the Cardinals were Zach Ostreng, who took 10th in the giant slalom; Griffin Ward, who finished 23rd in the slalom; and Nathan Shaw, who was 62nd in the Super G.

Middleton also won a conference championship, as Ward placed third, Ostreng was sixth and Jude Kunkel was 10th.

Thu
18
Feb
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Girls basketball team falls in playoffs

The past month didn't lead to victories like they’d hoped.

It didn't produce a deep postseason run like they’re accustomed to.

But Middleton’s girls basketball team was thankful for the opportunity to compete — even if things didn’t go according to plan.

The Cardinals fell to Oregon, 53-37, in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal played at Baraboo High School on Feb. 9. Middleton finished its truncated season 0-6, while the Panthers (7-3) lost three nights later to Waunakee.

“We hung in there for a while and had a few little surges, but we weren’t able to stop their guards from penetrating,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said of the Oregon loss. “We also had trouble finishing around the basket. Add that to a few breakout baskets off turnovers and we found ourselves in a hole.”

The ending capped a wild and wacky season for the Cardinals.

Thu
18
Feb
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Boys basketball team knocks off New Berlin West

NEW BERLIN — Logan Raffel was dog tired.

“I’m definitely tired,” Middleton’s junior guard said. “But I can’t complain. This is a lot of fun.”

Kaden Fosdick was equally fatigued.

“It’s hard getting up the next day, that’s for sure,” said Fosdick, a sophomore forward. “But we’re getting to play basketball and that’s awesome.”

This merry band of travelers — known as Middleton’s boys basketball team — rolled into New Berlin West on Feb. 11 and toppled the host Vikings, 62-52. The Cardinals improved to 4-4 with the win, while West fell to 10-14.

Fosdick led an extremely balanced Middleton attack with 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had four steals. Raffel added all 10 of his points in the first half when Middleton raced to a 34-18 lead.

Sophomore guard Will Comerford had all nine of his points in the first half, while sophomore forward Collin Schremp added nine points and junior guard Nick Meinholz had eight.

Thu
18
Feb
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Boys basketball team survives wild week

Middleton’s boys basketball team has played just 10 regular season games this year.

It’s hard to imagine a team more battle tested, though, heading into the postseason.

The Cardinals capped a wild, wacky week last weekend with narrow losses to state powers Monroe and DePere.

The host Cheesemakers — ranked No. 4 in Division 2 — toppled the Cardinals, 75-67, last Friday. DePere, ranked No. 7 in Division 1, then edged Middleton, 67-62, last Saturday.

The losses capped a crazy week in which the Cardinals traveled approximately 1,020 miles round trip and played five games in six days. During a typical season, the Cardinals travel roughly 450 miles round trip to play their nine Big Eight Conference foes.

Thu
18
Feb
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Boys basketball team drops a pair

Long trips.

Little sleep.

And a whirlwind stretch that includes as much basketball as they can possibly find.

Middleton’s boys basketball team was back at it at the start of last week, with trips to Mosinee and Muskego that totaled more than 400 miles round trip in two nights. The Cardinals fell at Mosinee, 55-41, on Feb. 8 and lost at Muskego, 73-68, the following night.

While the Cardinals suffered setbacks in both cities, both games were extremely competitive and provided terrific learning opportunities.

“It's been a great learning experience with a lot I think we can take forward into a full season,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Playing at Muskego felt like the first time we were actually coaching and the players were actually just playing.

Thu
18
Feb
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Gymnasts set for sectionals

Kari Steck knows the challenge is immense.

But Steck — Middleton’s girls gymnastics coach — believes her Cardinals are ready.

Middleton heads to the 10-team Mukwonago Sectional Thursday where the opponents and the format will be different from past years.

Due to COVID-19 safety protocols, five teams will compete in the first session, then Middleton and four other teams will compete at night. In the past, all 10 teams competed at the same time.

After the two sessions end, the top two teams will qualify for state, as well as the top five individuals on vault, bars, beam, floor and all-around competition.

“It's challenging going into the Milwaukee-area sectional this year with so few meets, but we're hopeful the girls just keep positive attitudes,” Steck said. “We are all just so grateful that we've been able to practice and compete at all, and do so safely.”

Thu
11
Feb
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Chirafisi captures gold

WAUKESHA — Nick Chirafisi touched the finish line.

Chirafisi looked up at the scoreboard, then a moment later pumped his fist.

Yes, there was plenty to be excited about.

Chirafisi, a sophomore at Middleton High School, had just finished first in the 200-yard freestyle at the WIAA Division 1 state meet held at Waukesha South High School on Feb. 6.

Chirafisi’s big performance helped the Cardinals finish in 10th place overall. Sun Prairie won the meet with 232.5 points, while Middleton had 92.0.

“Nick continues to impress us year after year,” Middleton coach Danny Lynam said. “Oftentimes after a breakout freshman year some guys will struggle to recreate that their sophomore year. It happens enough that we have a term for it — ‘the sophomore slump.’ Nick blew right through his sophomore year and continued to produce.”

Thu
11
Feb
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Boys basketball team heating up

The postseason road won’t be easy.

But Middleton’s boys basketball team showed last week it’s more than capable of making plenty of noise throughout the playoffs.

The Cardinals notched a thrilling 58-57, double overtime win over Fort Atkinson last Saturday. Middleton also defeated Kingdom Prep Lutheran, 64-44, last Friday and improved to 3-2 on the year.

Those victories helped Middleton earn the No. 4 seed in its six-team postseason pod. Waunakee is the top seed, followed by DeForest, Sun Prairie, Middleton, Verona and Oregon.

Middleton and Verona will meet in a WIAA Division 1 regional quarterfinal at Baraboo High School on Tuesday at 5:30. The winner of that game meets top-seeded Waunakee in a regional semifinal at Baraboo on Feb. 19 at 5:30.

The regional final will be Feb. 20 at a time and location yet to be determined.

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