May 2014

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Stankiewicz, MHS golfers roll at regionals


It would have been easy for Charlie Stankiewicz to throw in the towel. To say enough is enough.

Fortunately for Middleton’s golf program, that never happened.

Stankiewicz battled and battled, but failed to earn a spot with the Cardinals’ varsity until this — his senior season. Now, he’s making it a year to remember.

Stankiewicz shot a 3-over-par 74 and captured medalist honors at the Middleton Regional Tuesday at Pleasant View Golf Course. Stankiewicz’s big day helped the Cardinals win the regional title and advance to Tuesday’s Baraboo Sectional.

“Good for Charlie,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “I’ve said it before, Charlie is our best ball striker, and when he hits it like he was (Tuesday) and puts it in the center of the green, he’s going to score well.”

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Girls softball team needs to rally

Middleton’s girls softball team has overcome many obstacles during its impressive season.

Now, the Cardinals will have to do it one more time.

Middleton trailed Holmen, 3-1, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Tuesday when the skies opened. After a one-hour rain delay, the game was postponed until Wednesday.

The winner advances to face either third-seeded DeForest or 14th-seeded Madison West Thursday.

Middleton, the No. 6 seed in the regional, scored a first inning run after getting three straight two-out hits. Second baseman Ashley Brooks started the rally with a  single to left, then catcher Amber Karn and right fielder Abby Henke followed with singles to left.

But Holmen struck for three unearned runs off of Middleton starter Ashley Stormer in the second inning. The key blow came with two outs when Henke dropped a fly ball in right, allowing one run to score.

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Sweet repeat for boys track team


Ernest Winters clearly remembers the state of Middleton’s boys track and field program when he arrived in 2011.

Andy Keeler hasn’t forgotten either.

“It wasn’t very good,” said Winters, a senior sprinter.

That’s for sure.

But what a difference a few years makes.

Middleton, mired in the middle or bottom of the Big Eight Conference for years, cruised to the Big Eight Conference championship last Tuesday at Mansfield Stadium. Amazingly, it marked the second straight season the Cardinals won the Big Eight title.

Middleton finished with a whopping 169.3 points to easily outdistance runner-up Verona (110) and the rest of the conference.

Over the last few seasons, Middleton’s rise has been one of the state’s feel-good stories in the track and field world.

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Girls track team wins Big 8

Bobbi Patrick isn't ashamed to admit it.

She was nervous. Big-time.

Middleton’s junior track and field standout was preparing for the 400-meter run last Tuesday at the Big Eight Conference meet at Mansfield Stadium. And Patrick had a case of the jitters.

“I haven’t run many open 400s,” Patrick said. “And I was shaking. I was pretty nervous.”

There was no need for uneasiness.

Patrick had a memorable night, winning the 400 and scoring points in three events. And Middleton had an even better evening, rolling to the conference title and snapping Sun Prairie’s five-year stranglehold as league champions.

Middleton finished with 181 points and won its first Big Eight title since 2008. Sun Prairie was a distant second with 113 points, while Madison Memorial (76), Verona (68) and Janesville Parker (58) rounded out the top five.

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Boys golfers win Big 8 crown

Middleton boys golf coach Tom Cabalka has called his current group of sophomores the most talented in school history.

That’s saying something, when you consider the Cardinals have been state champions four times and runners-up once since 1997.

But this spring, the sophomore trio of Brady Thomas, Emmet Herb and Joey Levin have come into their own. And now, the Cardinals appear ready for a memorable postseason.

Middleton kicked the second season off in style last Thursday, as its super sophs powered them to the Big Eight Conference title at Evansville Golf Club.

Middleton shot a 314 to easily outdistance runner-up Beloit Memorial (331) and the rest of the conference. Herb finished second individually with a 76, while Levin was third with a 78 and Thomas tied for fourth at 79.

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Sun Prairie squashes Middleton's title dreams

When Matt Ash’s foot touched home plate, it seemed as if all the stars had aligned on the Middleton baseball team’s road to redemption.

Ash had scored on an opposite-field line drive by fellow senior Zach Kasdorf in the bottom of the sixth inning Thursday, scoring the go-ahead run to put the Cardinals three outs from a victory that would put them in the thick of the Big Eight Conference title hunt heading into the final week of the regular season.

A victory that would earn a measure of revenge against the same Sun Prairie team that had beaten them by 12 runs a month earlier, just as Middleton had avenged a lopsided setback to Janesville Parker, the other team atop the league standings.

But Middleton failed to land the knockout punch necessary to floor a battle-hardened team like Sun Prairie, which has won the last two WIAA Division 1 state titles and the last four Big Eight crowns.

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Girls softball team seeded 6th

Middleton’s girls softball team received the No. 6 seed in its regional.

The Cardinals will open postseason play Tuesday by hosting 11th-seeded Holmen in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal at 5 p.m.

“I was really happy with the seed,” Middleton manager Cherie Hellenbrand said. “I like how it lines up for us.”

If the Cardinals win Tuesday, they’ll face the winner of third-seeded DeForest and 14th seeded Madison West in a regional final Thursday at 5 p.m.

If the seeds hold, Middleton would face second-seeded Madison La Follette in the sectional semifinals on June 3. The Cardinals wouldn’t meet top-seeded Verona until the sectional finals on June 5.

“Being on the opposite side of the bracket from Verona is a good thing for us,” Hellenbrand said. “We still have to play well, but I like our draw.”


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Boys golfers jump to No. 1

The second season is just about here.

The Big Eight Conference boys golf tournament is Thursday at Evansville Golf Club. The WIAA Middleton Regional is Tuesday at Pleasant View, and sectionals are May 27.

And Middleton appears ready to make a memorable run.

The Cardinals had another terrific week and jumped to No. 1 in the latest Wisconsin Golf Coaches Association poll.

Middleton rolled to an easy win at the Janesville Craig Triangular last Tuesday.

The Cardinals finished third at the Madison La Follette Invite last Thursday with their JV team.

And Middleton struggled a bit Monday at the Spartan Invite, but still finished second.

“It’s always fun stuff … and now, you just hope your kids play well,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “It’s fun to see your kids get excited and play well. It’s just an exciting time.”

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Baseball Cards still in title hunt

Their bats are heating up.

They’re getting the necessary help from other teams in the conference.
And if Middleton’s baseball team can continue its recent surge, anything seems possible.

The Cardinals notched a pair of huge Big Eight Conference wins last week. Middleton routed Madison West 14-1, last Thursday and cruised past Madison East, 19-1, last Friday in a game played at Sun Prairie.

Middleton also was swept by Watertown in a doubleheader Saturday. But the Cardinals’ two league wins — and Janesville Parker’s victory over Sun Prairie — have left the Big Eight up for grabs.

Parker and Sun Prairie share the conference lead with 12-2 records, while Middleton is 11-3 in the league. Middleton, which is also 14-6 overall, hosts Sun Prairie in a conference showdown Thursday.

Sun Prairie also travels to Janesville Parker on May 27.