Sports

Fri
24
Aug
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Football Cards cruise past Madison East

After a shaky start last Friday, Middleton’s offense could seemingly do no wrong.

Big plays were plentiful and even broken plays went for big gains.

It all added up to an impressive 50-0 season-opening Big Eight Conference victory for the Cardinals over Madison East on the new turf field at Otto Breitenbach Stadium.

“You always worry going into the first game, ‘Is there something we didn’t cover? Is there something we didn’t work on enough?’ ” Middleton co-coach Tim Simon said. “But I think all three facets of the game came together really well.”

Fri
24
Aug
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Boys soccer team expects to reload

Ben Kollasch hopes people sleep on Middleton’s boys soccer team this fall.

Many will look at a program that graduated a gifted eight-person senior class and view them as susceptible. They’ll see a team that lost five all-conference players, including all-state selections in forward Derek Waleffe and midfielder Drake Vandermause, and see vulnerability.

Oh well.

“If people look at last year and who we graduated, we will blow right past them because they didn't get to see the talent the younger guys had,” said Kollasch, whose beginning his sixth season as Middleton’s head coach. “These guys will surprise people.”

There’s no question, the group Middleton said goodbye to was unique.

Waleffe had an area-best 45 goals, which was the seventh-most in the state, and eight game-winning goals. Waleffe added 13 assists, ranked seventh in the state with 103 points and was named first-team all-state.

Fri
24
Aug
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Girls spikers hoping to end drought

Nearly a decade ago, it all seemed so easy.

Middleton’s girls volleyball team went to consecutive state tournaments in 2008-’09. And that marked the fourth time since 2001 the Cardinals qualified for state.

In the nine years since, though, Middleton hasn’t been back. The Cardinals have remained a high-level program, but a trip to state has eluded them.

Middleton is hoping to change all of that in 2018, though.

The Cardinals welcome back nine seniors, including first-team all-conference outside hitter Lily Welti, from a team that shared the Big Eight Conference title a year ago.

“With nine seniors and the experience level that we have, we definitely are looking at not only winning the Big Eight, but taking that trip to state,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said.

Fri
24
Aug
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Cross Plains' HTL team ousts Middleton

It has been a long wait for Kenny Allen and the Cross Plains Businessmen.

Since winning the 2011 Home Talent League Sunday championship, there have been some close calls, but no more trips to the league’s final round of four teams.

Until now.

Allen tossed a complete game and had two hits, Will Doherty hit a solo home run and sixth-seeded Cross Plains played outstanding defense to hold off second-seeded Middleton, 2-1, in the HTL Northern Section championship game at Sorenson-Bakken Field on Sunday.

“Kenny pitched all but four innings and we played the top three teams,” said Cross Plains manager Randy Meinholz, who was fighting back the tears after the Businessmen won their third straight playoff game on the road.

“But it’s not only pitching. The defense was unbelievable. I’m so damn proud of these guys.”

Wed
15
Aug
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Middleton's offense figures to be potent

Every November, Middleton co-head football coach Tim Simon heads to Camp Randall to watch the state football championship games. And every time, Simon has the same thought.

“I always think this could be and it should be us,” Simon said.

Jason Pertzborn, who will also serve as Middleton’s co-head coach this year, has a similar feeling.

“We should be there,” Pertzborn said. “Absolutely.”

Maybe, just maybe Middleton can make a run at its first state title since 1987 this season.

The Cardinals, who finished second in the Big Eight last year at 8-1 and went 9-2 overall, were picked to win the conference in a preseason vote of league coaches.

Middleton’s defense is always in good hands with veteran coordinator Tom Cabalka. And an offense that averaged 31.8 points per game could be even better.

Wed
15
Aug
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Middleton's defense should be stout

Tom Cabalka still hasn’t watched the tape.

He can’t. He won’t.

“It’s too tough,” Middleton’s defensive coordinator said.

And how.

Middleton led Madison West, 27-23, in the closing seconds of a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 playoff game last October. But on a fourth and goal with 15 seconds left, West’s Keishawn Shanklin scored from 1-yard out to give West a 30-27 win.

In the 10 months since, Cabalka hasn’t watched the film. And he’s certain he won’t until later this month, when Middleton and West meet in Week 3 of the regular season.

“The tough part is we had so many opportunities to make stops and we didn’t,” Cabalka said. “Their athletic ability was better than ours … and we just didn’t make the plays.”

Wed
15
Aug
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MHS swimmers poised for another great year

They will do everything possible not to look ahead. Not to focus on tomorrow before they’ve conquered today.

That’s because Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team knows that staying in the here and now will take them exactly where they want to go come November.

The Cardinals have won back-to-back WIAA Division 1 state championships — the first titles in school history. With the overwhelming majority of state contributors returning in 2018, Middleton will be the favorite to make it a three-peat this season.

But Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka and her Cardinals fully intend to enjoy every stroke of the journey. So while everyone else may already be putting a third gold ball in Middleton’s trophy case, Cabalka isn’t one of them.

Wed
08
Aug
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Girls golfers thinking big again

The unknown is far greater than in recent seasons.

The end result, though, is expected to be the same.

Middleton’s girls golf team, a state power for more than two decades, has reached the WIAA Division 1 state tournament six consecutive years and eight of the last nine. But the Cardinals have some major holes to fill this fall.

Middleton lost three of its top five players from last year’s team that finished eighth at state, including Big Eight Conference Player of the Year and all-state performer Payton Hodson. But the cupboard is never bare at Middleton, and coach Becky Halverson believes her newest group of varsity players can keep the Cardinals’ tradition of greatness alive.

“Long term, our goals will remain the same as previous years,” said Halverson, whose team opens the year Thursday at the Verona Invite at Edelweiss. “We would like to win our conference and get through regionals and sectionals to the state tournament.”  

Tue
07
Aug
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Jorgensen named Middleton's new baseball coach

Brent Jorgensen, Middleton’s coaching equivalent to the three-sport athlete, was doing what he’s always doing last week.

Coaching.

Jorgensen, the 27-year-old with the energy to coach three different sports at MHS, was taking a break from the freshman football team he runs. That’s when Middleton athletic director Bob Joers made Jorgensen’s day — and really, his summer.

Joers offered Jorgensen Middleton’s varsity baseball job, which he accepted in roughly 1.5 seconds. Jorgensen replaces Tom Schmitt, who resigned in June after a memorable 16-year run that included a state championship in 2003.

Jorgensen beat out 12 other candidates for the job, including four with head coaching experience.

“It’s a great opportunity and I gratefully accepted in a hurry,” Jorgensen said. “For some people, a job like this would be a little daunting. But for me, it’s all I’ve ever known.”

That’s for sure.

Wed
01
Aug
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Simon makes a first class move

The coaching profession is a dog eat dog world.

Grown men everywhere fight their way up the ladder, then they try to pummel each other on the gridiron.

So what happened at Middleton High School recently isn’t just rare. It’s almost unprecedented.

Cardinals head coach Tim Simon — in the prime of his coaching life at 51 years old — decided to turn the coaching reigns over to offensive coordinator Jason Pertzborn as early as 2019.

Pertzborn, a 1990 Middleton graduate, had always aspired to be the head coach at his alma mater. But with Simon still a young man and Pertzborn exploring other coaching opportunities, Simon called one of the most selfless audibles you’ll ever see.

Now, Simon and Pertzborn will operate as co-head coaches this season. Then, if everything goes well, the 47-year-old Pertzborn will become the head coach in 2019 and Simon will become the assistant head coach.

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