August 2022

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25
Aug
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Bay Port roughs up Middleton

There was no mystery.

There were no secrets.

Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn knew exactly what he was getting when he scheduled mighty Bay Port for the Cardinals’ 2022 season-opener.

“A game against those guys is big boy football,” Pertzborn said. “You’ve got to show up to play. If you don’t, they’ll make you pay.”

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that’s just what happened at Otto Breitenbach Stadium on Aug. 18.

Bay Port dominated on both sides of the ball, outgained host Middleton 487-232, and toppled the Cardinals, 38-21, in the season-opener for both teams.

“We play a game like this so that our young guys can see what it’s like to play big boy football,” Pertzborn said. “As I told the team at the end, you just saw big boy football. There’s no slow playing into this.”

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25
Aug
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Girls XC team guns for three-peat

Six of their top-10 runners are gone.

Lauren Pansegrau, one of the finest runners in school history, has taken her immense talents to the University of Michigan.

Inside Middleton’s girls cross country program, though, one in which the Cardinals have captured back-to-back WIAA Division 1 state titles, the goals and aspirations haven’t changed one bit.

“Our big picture goals are to win conference and get to state,” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson said. “We have work to do, but I don't think either of those are out of the question as long as we keep up our strength training and injury prevention.”

Middleton has had one of Wisconsin’s top programs for three decades now, qualifying for the state tournament 14 times since 1995 and winning six state titles in that time. But Richardson has helped take the Cardinals to the sport’s pinnacle in recent seasons.

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25
Aug
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MHS aims to keep ‘The Streak’ alive

A perfect 10.

A decade of dominance.

Those are the goals inside Middleton’s boys cross country program.

The Cardinals have reached the WIAA Division 1 state meet nine consecutive years, one of the longest streaks in state history. In that time, the bar has been raised remarkably high throughout the program.

And now, no one wants to be the part of the group that ends “The Streak.” Middleton will aim to continue its remarkable run of success when it begins its new season Saturday at the Hartland Arrowhead Invite.

“For us, it's really been a culture shift and understanding of how to train and embrace the team,” said Middleton coach Brian Finnel, the architect of the Cardinals’ success. “Over the years each new group of upperclassmen sets the tone of expectations and it has just continued to carry over the years. 

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25
Aug
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Girls spikers dreaming of a title

Middleton’s seniors were just beginning 4K the last time the girls volleyball team reached the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Middleton head coach Maddie Vogel was just an eighth grader herself. And some of the younger Cardinals had barely learned to walk.

Enough’s enough.

That’s how the 2022 Cardinals feel when it comes to ending Middleton’s 13-year state tournament drought.

“State is very much so a goal for us this year, but it’s far from the only goal,” Vogel said. “We are prioritizing whatever is directly in front of us. With that being said, state is in the back of our minds, and will be a driving force as we train this season.”

With good reason.

Middleton dropped a five-set heartbreaker to Holmen in the sectional finals last season, but bring back five all-conference players from that team.

Thu
25
Aug
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Boys spikers aiming for big year

When you saw them last, Middleton’s boys volleyball team was knocking on the door of a second straight state tournament appearance.

The Cardinals were in the midst of a sensational season and had reached a WIAA Division 1 sectional final. Middleton’s dreams were dashed, though, following a four-set loss to Kettle Moraine in the sectional finals.

Now, several gifted players from that team are back and hungry to reach the state tournament for the second time in three years. Middleton will begin its pursuit of a state tournament berth Thursday, when it opens its new season at the Hartland Arrowhead quadrangular.

“Any time you take a tournament series loss before you get to your goal it hurts, and I know I hurt both for myself and our guys after that one,” Middleton coach Rob Kleinschmidt said of the Cardinals loss to the Lasers. 

Thu
25
Aug
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Swimmers have lofty aspirations

Their recent run of success borders somewhere between remarkable and astonishing.

It’s a seven-year stretch that’s easily the best in school history.

And it figures to continue in 2022.

Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team has finished in the top-three at state in six of the last seven years. Along the way, the Cardinals notched WIAA Division 1 state championships from 2016-18 and have a pair of runner-up finishes.

Now, with a deep and gifted group back from last year’s third place team, Middleton appear poised for another magnificent campaign.

“I think our success over the past seasons has been due to the fact that we have a group of kids who are willing to come in and work to be their best every day,” said Middleton coach R.J. Leiferman, whose team begins its new season Friday with a home dual meet against Beloit Memorial. “Hopefully that is something that continues this season.”

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25
Aug
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Soccer Cards thinking big

They play in arguably the state’s toughest conference.

The sectional is packed with powers year after year.

So being one of the four teams to qualify for the WIAA Division 1 state tournament is a mighty tall task for Middleton’s boys soccer team.

But the Cardinals team will take aim at that — and several other lofty goals — when they begin their new season with a home game against Monona Grove Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

“I think we have a great mix of guys,” Middleton coach Kevin Pauls said. “We'll have a young team and with the senior leadership, we should have a great season. State is always one of our goals.”

Middleton has been one of Wisconsin’s top programs for decades now with 13 trips to state and a championship in 2004. These Cardinals will be looking for the school’s first appearance at state, though, since 2016.

Is it possible?

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Aug
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Aug
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Middleton rallies past Cross Plains

Given the way things were going in the bottom of the seventh inning of Sunday’s Home Talent League Northern Section semifinals, Middleton’s Andrew Zimmerman could have taken a more patient approach.

Cross Plains relief pitcher Bryce Duhr issued back-to-back walks to begin the inning and then with the bases loaded and one out, Kenny Allen — on in relief of Duhr — missed low with a slider against Zimmerman. So, Zimmerman electing to take a strike before taking his bat off his shoulder wouldn’t have been a bad idea.

It just wasn’t his plan.

“Kenny is a pretty accurate pitcher, so you’re not counting on him to walk you,” Zimmerman said. “I just wanted to drive the ball early in the count — looking for my pitch to hit.”

He got it.

Thu
18
Aug
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Tennis Cardinals aiming high

Four seniors from last year’s stellar group have graduated.

There will be huge holes to fill up and down the lineup.

But while players change inside Middleton’s girls tennis program, expectations don’t.

Middleton, which cruised to the Big Eight Conference title and reached the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals last year, will have extremely high hopes again. The Cardinals opened their new season with a home meet against Beloit Memorial Tuesday.

“We had a very successful season last year,” said Middleton coach Mat Given. “We ran into a very hot Neenah squad who went on to win the state title. This year's team is very young and I do have very high expectations of them.”

Rightfully so.

Middleton has arguably the top 1-2 singles punch in the state with junior Netra and senior Sonya Agapov.

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