Sports

Wed
01
Mar
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Papenthien captures silver at state

MADISON – When the WIAA unveiled its inaugural individual wrestling girls state tournament at the La Crosse Center a year ago, then Middleton junior Mattie Papenthien was a local trailblazer for girls wrestling.

The lone Middleton wrestler to compete in either the boys or girls state tournaments, Papenthien finished fourth at 132 pounds to become the first girls wrestling place-winner in school history.

But Papenthien had some company when she qualified for the second girls state tournament that moved to the Kohl Center to run in conjunction with the annual boys state tournament last weekend.

Her dreams of winning a state championship were dashed in the 138-pound state championship match on Saturday evening and she settled for a runner-up finish.

Joining Papenthien as a place-winner was senior Jessica Bristol, who was sixth at 132 pounds and finished with a 15-5 record, while senior Katrina Clark made her debut at 185 pounds.

Wed
01
Mar
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Hockey Cardinals ousted by Edgewood

The devil is in the details.

Especially when the postseason arrives.

And that’s why Middleton hockey coach Dan Truehl believes his Cardinals are now watching instead of skating.

Host Madison Edgewood scored three goals in a 6-minute window in the second period on Feb. 21 and toppled Middleton, 3-1, in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal.

The third-seeded Cardinals ended their terrific season with a 17-9 record. Second-seeded Edgewood improved to 16-8-2, then lost to top-seeded Verona in a sectional final on Feb. 24.

“These games are always decided in the small details,” Truehl said. “And we lost our mojo for a few minutes in the second (period), which ultimately led to another close loss.”

Middleton played an outstanding first period and grabbed a 1-0 lead just 4 minutes in when Brady Engelkes scored a power play goal. Both Ethan Lam and Charlie Jambor assisted on the play.

Wed
22
Feb
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Middleton's swimmers capture gold

WAUKESHA — Middleton’s boys swimming and diving season was two, maybe three practices old.

Nick Chirafisi, one of the Cardinals’ standout seniors, looked around the pool, saw the ridiculous level of talent and depth, and had a hunch this could be a special season.

“I knew right away we had what it takes,” Chirafisi said. “Now, you still have to go and do it. But I knew this group could be special.”

They were.

Middleton’s remarkable 2022-23 team capped its magnificent season by rolling to the WIAA Division 1 state title last Saturday at Waukesha South High School. It was the second state title in school history, both coming since 2020.

The Cardinals finished with 288 points, easily outdistancing runner-up Hartland Arrowhead (211). That was the largest margin of victory since 2016, when Madison Memorial won the meet by 112 points over runner-up Madison West.

Wed
22
Feb
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Falk punches his ticket to state

WAUNAKEE — Bryce Falk is on a mission.

It has been seven years since four-time state place-winner Kevin Meicher won a state wrestling title for Middleton High School.

Falk wants that drought to end and his coach, Joe Miller, can’t see why the 170-pound junior co-captain won’t make it happen.

“He’ll be in the state tournament and should be in contention to win a medal,” Miller said of Falk. “He hasn’t lost at 170. His last loss was at Sauk Prairie at 182. He dropped down to 170 the following week and hasn’t lost since.

“I can make the argument he is one of the best 170-pounders in the state right now. He’s undefeated there. I foresee he will be on the awards stand. The way he is wrestling right now. He’s going to be a tough out at 170.”

Strong words for a stellar multi-sport athlete, who is a hard-nosed running back for the Cardinals’ football team in the fall and a sprinter in track and field in the spring.

Tue
21
Feb
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Hockey Cardinals win regional title

Welcome back!

For the first time since 2019, Middleton’s hockey team earned a trip to the WIAA Division 1 sectionals.

The Cardinals routed visiting Waunakee, 7-1, last Saturday and claimed their first regional championship since 2019.

Middleton, the No. 3 seed in its sectional, improved to 16-8 overall and traveled to second-seeded Madison Edgewood Tuesday for a sectional semifinal. The winner of that game will face either top-seeded Verona or fifth-seeded Sauk Prairie in a sectional final Friday at 7 p.m. at Sun Prairie Ice Arena.

“Overall, I felt that this was one of our more complete hockey games that we’ve played,” Middleton coach Dan Truehl said of the Waunakee win. “We got things going with our power play and then had all three lines going.”

The Cardinals led, 2-0, after the first period. And after a scoreless second period, Middleton scored five third period goals to put the Warriors away.

Tue
21
Feb
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Gymnasts fourth at conference meet

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team is extremely young.

So when gyms are full — and stakes are high — nerves can become an issue.

Cardinals coach Alexis Lindahl felt that’s exactly what happened last Saturday when Middleton settled for fourth place at the Big Eight Conference meet.

Verona/Edgewood won the conference title with a whopping team score of 145.325. Janesville Craig was second with a 137.325, while Madison Memorial (128.575), Middleton (128.250) and Madison United (125.575) rounded out the top five.

“We've got a very young varsity team,” Lindahl said. “For a lot of them, this was only their first or second conference competition.

“They were nervous, and the nerves got the best of them in some places. This wasn't our best competition, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed because I know what they're capable of — and the girls do, too.”

Sun
19
Feb
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Middleton's angry after receiving No. 2 seed

Middleton’s boys basketball team wasn’t looking to enter the postseason ticked off.

But boy, are they ever fired up now.

The WIAA released its playoff seeds Sunday afternoon — seeds that are now done by computers and hot humans.

And the results left Middleton both angry and confused.

The Cardinals — who are 20-1 and ranked No. 2 in the latest Associated Press Division 1 poll — received the No. 2 seed in their sectional. Hartland Arrowhead (20-2), ranked No. 3 in the state, is the top seed in the sectional.

“I’ll tell you what, this just put a really big chip on our shoulder,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “When I saw Arrowhead at the top of bracket I was stunned and I was angry. Now it’s our job to go and prove the computer was wrong.”

Sun
19
Feb
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Oliver's heroics lift Cardinals past Wolves

SUN PRAIRIE — All Isaiah Oliver wanted to do was foul.

Instead, Middleton’s standout freshman fouled up Sun Prairie West’s upset hopes.

The Cardinals trailed the Wolves, 50-49, with 5.0 seconds left last Friday. West had the ball 80-feet from the basket, and inbounded to sophomore guard Tyler Haney in the deep left corner.

Middleton still had a foul to give before sending West to the free throw line, but the Cardinals didn’t need to use it.

Middleton’s Will Garlock and Kaden Fosdick immediately applied a trap. Haney was losing the ball out of bounds and tossed it back in where Oliver was waiting.

Oliver corralled the loose ball with 2.4 seconds left, attacked the rim and converted a left-handed lay-up with just 1.0 seconds left.

In the blink of an eye, a near certain defeat became a stunning 51-50 Middleton win.

Wed
15
Feb
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MHS swimmers win sectional title

VERONA — The prep work is over.

Now, Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team gets to put its training to the ultimate test at Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet.

When the Cardinals dip their toes into the pool at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium, they’ll do so as the favorites. And with top seeds in three individual events, all three relays and 20 entries overall, Middleton hopes to leave the pool as champions for the second time in program history.

It’s a target on their back that they’re embracing.

Wed
15
Feb
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Seven wrestlers advance to sectionals

DEFOREST — When Bryce Falk sets his mind on accomplishing a goal, nothing will stand in his way.

Last fall, it was navigating his way into the end zone as an all-Big Eight Conference running back. During the winter, it’s piling up points on a wrestling mat with the goal of winning a state championship.

A junior co-captain, Falk won the 170-pound championship at the WIAA Division 1 DeForest Regional last Saturday, overcoming his battle with asthma along the way.

That followed up winning the Big Eight Conference title a week earlier at Sun Prairie East High School.

“I have pretty bad asthma in the winter,” Falk said. “For me to keep it easy and take breaks throughout the match really helps a lot. That’s using the injury time out, to use my inhaler. I usually don’t have any major injuries.”

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