Middleton swimmers set for state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Gabriela Pierobon Mays helped Middleton’s girls swimmers finish second at the Beloit Memorial Sectional last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The 2019 season has thrown virtually everything possible at Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team.

Illness. Injury. Defection.

The Cardinals have experienced it all.

But Middleton had a terrific day at the Beloit Memorial Sectional last Saturday and heads to the state meet anxious to make some noise once again.

Sun Prairie won the sectional with 377.5 points, while Middleton was second with 308.0. Madison Memorial (307), Madison West (300.5) and V-MH (256.5) rounded out the top five.

The Cardinals, who have won three straight WIAA Division 1 state championships, are not the favorites this year. But Middleton will be represented in 15 of 18 events when the state meet begins Saturday at 3 p.m. at the UW Natatorium and hopes to surprise.

“For this week, our focus will remain the same. Remain clam. Stay focused. Remember who we are,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “There are some really strong teams in the state right now and we're one of them. 

“This season has thrown just about everything it can at us and we have come out unscathed and ahead. These girls are full of grit and determination, but also full of poise and class. If they carry themselves into the state meet the same way they have carried themselves through the highs and lows of this season, we are going to turn some heads.”

Middleton certainly turned some heads at sectionals — and hopes to carry that momentum into the state meet.

The Cardinals opened the meet with a second place finish in the 200-yard medley relay. The quartet senior Berkley Smith, freshman Natalie Charles senior Gabriela Pierobon Mays and junior Madelyn Lawn had never swam together in that race. But the foursome had a sensational race and is now seeded sixth at state.

“The medley relay in my opinion is the most important race of the meet,” Cabalka said. “It sets our tone and energy for the rest of the meet so our goal is always to execute it extremely well.

“We put together a foursome that has never swam together before and they knocked it out of the park, swam like a relay that has been together for four years. From there, we swam some really solid races, full of season and lifetime bests.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton’s top finishes included:

• The Cardinals’ quartet of sophomore Ella Needham, sophomore Abby Utter, junior Kaitlyn Peters and Smith won the 200-yard freestyle relay. That foursome is now the No. 1 seed at state.

• Middleton’s 400-yard freestyle relay of Peters, Utter, Needham and Pierobon Mays was third at sectionals and is seeded fifth at state.

• Pierobon Mays was second in the 50-yard freestyle and Smith was third. Pierobon Mays is seeded fourth at state and Smith is seeded ninth.

• Pierobon Mays was also fourth in the 100-yard backstroke and is seeded 10th at state.

• Sophomore Amanda George was sixth in the 500 freestyle, while sophomore Molly Haag was seventh and freshman Sophie Benson was 10th. George is seeded 15th at state, while Haag is 17th and Benson is 22nd.

• Senior Alex Anagnostopoulos was fourth in the 100-yard breaststroke and is seeded 17th at state.

• Smith was sixth in the 100-yard freestyle, while Needham was seventh and Utter was eighth. Smith is now seeded 15th at state, while Needham is seeded 19th and Utter 23rd.

• Peters was eighth in the 100-yard butterfly and is seeded 18th at state. Peters was also sixth in the 200-yard freestyle and Needham was eighth. Peters is now seeded 17th at state and Needham is seeded 23rd.

• Freshman Natalie Charles was 10th in the 200 IM and junior Madelyn Lawn was 11th. Charles is seeded 22nd at state and Lawn is seeded 23rd.

“This was pretty flawless, from top to bottom,” Cabalka said of Middleton’s performance at the conference meet. “We talked about conference and what we wanted to improve on and the girls were incredibly focused and determined to execute that plan.

“Our energy was contagious and was the X-factor in edging out Memorial for second place. For the first time, maybe ever, we qualified every single girl through to state in at least one event. Fifteen of 18 events is incredible and we definitely set ourselves up for an awesome week ahead.”

Cabalka knows the state meet can be unpredictable. But she’s optimistic her Cardinals can finish the season in style.

“You just never know what will happen at state, which teams can hold on to a taper and which ones can't,” Cabalka said. “It's all about confidence and focus, which these girls are full of right now. 

“If we can hold or improve our times and swim our relays the way we did at sectionals, I really do think a top-5 finish is within reach for us. We would be incredibly proud with that.”


Nov. 9

Beloit Memorial Sectional

Team scores: Sun Prairie 377.5, Middleton 308, Madison Memorial 307, Madison West 300.5, Verona/Mount Horeb 256.5, Milton 144, Waunakee 115, Beloit Memorial 81, Oregon 75, Monona Grove 66, Madison East 51.5, Madison La Follette 51, Janesville Craig 48, Janesville Parker/Evansville 39.

State qualifiers

Diving — 1, Wells, MW, 400.75 points; 2, Yehle, MM, 376.70; 3, Riggins, MM, 374.05.

200 medley relay — 1, Sun Prairie (Sala, Schulz, Carey, Rundahl), 1:46.19; 2, Middleton, 1:47.14; 3, Madison West, 1:47.91; 4, Verona/Mount Horeb, 1:47.97; 5, Madison Memorial, 1:49.30; 6, Milton, 1:50.29; 7, Waunakee, 1:50.38.

200 freestyle — 1, DeFever, MM, 1:54.08; 2, Granetzke, MW, 1:54.39; 3, McKeon, MM, 1:55.00; 4, Marshall, SP, 1:55.24; 5, Drexler, VMH, 1:55.85; 6, Peters, Mid, 1:56.28; 7, Anderson, MM, 1:56.73; 8 (tie), Needham, Mid, and Reid, MW, 1:57.03..

200 individual medley — 1, Schulz, SP, 2:06.17; 2, Ratzburg, Mil, 2:06.45; 3, Sala, SP, 2:08.37; 4, Weygandt, MW, 2:09.48; 5, Schmitz, MM, 2:09.50; 6, Laursen, MW, 2:09.53; 7, Gunnink, SP, 2:10.72; 8, Malecki, VMH, 2:10.86; 9, Schmieser, Wau, 2:11.27; 10, Charles, Mid, 2:11.51; 11, Lawn, Mid, 2:11.87.

50 freestyle — 1, Fiske, SP, :23.42; 2, Pierobon Mays, Mid, :23.80; 3, Smith, Mid, :24.07; 4, Sullivan, MW, :24.18; 5, Terry, ML, :24.34; 6 (tie), Rundahl, SP, and House, MM, :24.37; 8, Moericke, SP, :24.42.

100 butterfly — 1, Carey, SP, :56.76; 2, Sala, SP, :56.87; 3, Cramer, Mil, :56.97; 4, Carson, MM, :57.22; 4, Carson, MM, :57.22; 5, Schick, MW, :57.33; 6, McCartney, VMH, :57.58; 7, Schmieser, Wau, :57.67; 8, Peters, Mid, :58.48; 9, Felsheim, VMH, :58.67; 10, Landon, Bel, :59.48; 11, Golden, MM, :59.48; 12, Bloomer, MM, :59.53; 12, Marz, ME, :59.53.

100 freestyle — 1, Fiske, SP, :50.85; 2, DeFever, MM, :52.40; 3, Stewart, VMH, :52.68; 4, Sullivan, MW, :52.72; 5, Moericke, SP, :52.76; 6, Smith, Mid, :53.15; 6, Smith, Mid, :53.15; 7, Needham, Mid, :53.50; 8, Utter, Mid, :53.71; 9, Marshall, SP, :53.77.

500 freestyle — 1, House, MM, 5:05.20; 2, Drexler, VMH, 5:07.12; 3, Weygandt, MW, 5:07.12; 4, Sala, SP, 5:07.25; 5, Granetzke, MW, 5:09.77; 6, George, Mid, 5:09.83; 7, Haag, Mid, 5:10.96; 8, Schmitz, MM, 5:11.12; 8, Schmitz, MM, 5:11.12; 9, McKeon, MM, 5:12.49; 10, Benson, Mid, 5:13.08.

200 freestyle relay — 1, Middleton (Needham, Utter, Peters, Smith), 1:36.20; 2, Sun Prairie, 1:36.77; 3, Madison Memorial, 1:37.82; 4, Madison West, 1:39.15; 5, Verona/Mount Horeb, 1:39.55; 6, Oregon, 1:41.86; 7, Monona Grove, 1:41.93.

100 backstroke — 1, Schick, MW, :55.99; 2, Stewart, VMH, :56.51; 3, Cramer, Mil, :56.60; 4, Pierobon Mays, Mid, :56.71; 5, Carey, Sun, :57.22; 6, Reid, MW, :57.68; 7, Sala, SP, :58.40.

100 breaststroke — 1, Schulz, SP, 1:05.37; 2, Ratzburg, Mil, 1:06.07; 3, Laursen, MW, 1:07.17; 4, Anagnostopoulos, Mid, 1:07.28.

400 freestyle relay — 1, Sun Prairie (Moericke, Sala, Schulz, Fiske), 3:27.73; 2, Madison Memorial, 3:30.16; 3, Middleton, 3:30.50; 4, Milton, 3:34.20; 5, Madison West, 3:35.33; 6, Verona/Mount Horeb, 3:35.53.

At Beloit Memorial.




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