MHS golfers have great expectations

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Sammy Forslund and Middleton's boys golf team have high hopes this spring./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Middleton boys golf coach Tom Cabalka has the same routine every winter.

Cabalka and his wife, Carol, head south for a few months. Then they return to Middleton just in time for the start of the boys golf season.

This year, no one would have blamed Tom Cabalka for driving a bit faster than usual.

That’s because waiting back in Wisconsin is a Middleton team that appears poised for a banner season.

Middleton returns four of its top five players from a year ago. The Cardinals have a deep pool of talent to choose from to fill out their lineup.

And Middleton will be extremely motivated after losing a playoff at sectionals last year and narrowly missing out on a trip to the state tournament.

So when the Cardinals open their new season Monday by hosting three schools at Bishop’s Bay, expectations will be sky high.

“I expect good things from the top-4 from last year,” said Cabalka, whose team began the year ranked No. 4 in the first Division 1 Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin poll. “They were quite disappointed in their sectional play last year. I hope that is a huge motivator for them.”

Senior Dain Johnson, a four-year varsity player who will compete at UW-Stevens Point next season, will lead the Cardinals. Johnson helped Middleton finish third at team state in 2021 and sixth in 2022 before qualifying as an individual last season.

Johnson averaged 75.4 last season, highlighted by four rounds of 72, or better. Johnson received honorable-mention all-state honors last year and could be poised for a big senior season.

Senior Charlie Jambor is another four-year varsity member who seems ready for a memorable senior season. Jambor averaged 79.20 last year and had five rounds of 75, or better.

“Dain and Charlie both have been in our top-5 since their freshman year,” Cabalka said. “So they have the experience and I expect them to have a good year.”

Middleton will also lean heavily on arguably the state’s top sophomore class.

Sophomore Sammy Forslund is ranked the No. 2 player in the Class of 2026 by Forslund averaged 78.4 last year, had five rounds of 76, or better, then had a highly productive summer season playing junior tournaments.

Sophomore Reis Von Ruden, the No. 6 rated player in the Class of 2026 by, also shined during his freshman season. Von Ruden won a spot in the lineup early on, averaged 77.8, and shot 74, or better four times.

“Sammy and Reis both had great freshman seasons and I believe that they will only get better,” Cabalka said.

Middleton sophomore Luke Weiss is the 14th rated player in the Class of 2026, while sophomore Berrin Reiter is ranked No. 19. Those two, along with returnees Spencer Lyons and Danny Richards, will all battle for the final spot in the lineup.

“All had some varsity experience last year and could compete for that (No.) 5 spot along with anyone who worked over the past months to improve their chances,” Cabalka said. “At this time we have 67 players, plus — most likely — more yet to come. So I hope we have some pleasant surprises.”

Cabalka believes Janesville Craig is the team to beat in the Big Eight Conference. The Madison Memorial Sectional will also be strong again with No. 3 ranked Waunakee and traditional powers Onalaska, Holmen and Madison Memorial.

The Cardinals have a gifted and experienced roster, though, and plenty of motivation after their disappointing end to the 2023 season. And if things fall into place, Middleton could have a memorable spring.

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