Middleton golfers dominate all-Big 8 team

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton senior Josh Haunty was named first-team all-Big Eight./File photo

They were one of the deepest teams in the state.

A sensational quintet from top to bottom. One of Middleton’s most impressive ‘Fab Fives’ in quite some time.

So it came as no surprise that each and every Cardinal was named to the all-Big Eight Conference team.

Middleton sophomores Brady Thomas and Emmet Herb, along with senior Josh Haunty were all named first-team all-conference. Senior Charlie Stankiewicz and sophomore Joey Levin were both named second-team all-conference.

The all-conference team was determined by scores from conference matches only, not all events.

“They were so close to each other, they relied on each one to pick each other up, it was just an extremely fun group to be around,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “The season seemed to fly by, every practice was meaningful to them and they all worked extremely hard at improving their game.  

“These guys became a team long before the opening day of the spring season. They started working on their game back in January — together.”

Thomas was second in the league’s Player of the Year race, behind only Beloit Memorial senior Kolton Kelley. Thomas had an average of 77.0 and helped lead the Cardinals to a Big Eight Conference championship and a fourth place finish at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

“Loads of talent,” Cabalka said of Thomas. “Every part of his game is solid, which bodes well for his future in the game.  

“Brady loves the game and has a strong desire to be better. He is not satisfied with being just good, he wants more. I'm pretty sure what his goal will be next season!”

Haunty finished as the No. 3 player in the conference. He posted a team-best average of 76.8 and had just three rounds in the 80s.

“Team leader, great captain, one of the best if not the best that have come through the program,” Cabalka said of Haunty. “Very solid game, drives the ball long, great short game.”

Herb had a growth spurt between his freshman and sophomore year, which led to challenges with his swing. But Herb still averaged 80.6 and he finished as the fifth-best player in the conference.

“Great attitude. You could never tell if he was playing really well or struggling by his demeanor on the course,” Cabalka said of Herb. “He got bigger and stronger over the offseason, which meant that Emmet had a little different swing to work with.  

“Great short game, chipping and putting. It is amazing how well he putts at times. With his short game he can never be counted out. Emmet's average actually went up just a bit this year, which he is not pleased with. I'm certain he will work extremely hard to change that over the offseason.”

Stankiewicz lowered his average by more than four strokes to 78.2. Stankiewicz also was the medalist at both regionals and sectionals.
“Very solid ball striker,” Cabalka said. “He worked extremely hard over the offseason to make this team. Charlie never gave our No. 6 and 7 players, Jared Baltes and Jack Mayers, both seniors, much of a chance to crack the lineup. Both players would have been very solid players on almost any team in the state, as they both averaged in the low 80's.”

Levin averaged 79.50 for the year, down four strokes from his freshman campaign. Levin was one of the Cardinals’ longest hitters, and improved his short game throughout the year.

“Joey had a never give up attitude,” Cabalka said. “One of the best grinders ever on the course. Joey hated to not play up to his potential.”

With Thomas, Herb and Levin back in 2015, the Cardinals should be poised for another big year.

“No idea who will step up and replace our two seniors,” Cabalka said. “We will have some choices. Whoever it turns out to be, a senior, junior, sophomore or freshman, it will be won by someone that chooses to work extremely hard at getting better, because they all know many others are working hard to compete for the same opportunity.  

“The new players to make varsity will join three teammates that know how to play, to win, and to be a great teammate.”

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