Sports

Thu
18
Mar
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Boys cross country team is ready to roll

The wait was excruciating.

Which is why the return was so much sweeter.

Middleton’s boys cross country team began its new season Monday. And after a 16-month gap between competitions, the Cardinals were thrilled to get their new year started.

“Relief. It was a long grind,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “It was tough for the boys to keep training or find a reason to train, especially in the winter. I think that really sparked the team to get in gear. We used all 15 contact days to get ready and I know from those that they are extremely excited to begin the season.”

For the better part of a year now, Finnel wondered if this moment would ever come.

It was mid-March, 2020, when the WIAA canceled the remaining games in the girls and boys state basketball tournaments due to COVID-19 concerns. Shortly thereafter, spring sports were canceled, as well.

Thu
18
Mar
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Girls cross country team has high hopes

When you saw them last, Middleton’s girls cross country was completing a magical, marvelous season in which they finished fourth at the WIAA Division 1 state meet.

It’s been a long, grueling path for the Cardinals to make it back to the cross country trails. But that’s exactly where Middleton found itself Monday afternoon when it kicked off its alternate-fall season.

“This season will obviously be different considering not all schools will be competing,” Middleton coach Alexa Richardson said. “However, I expect great things to come. I know the girls do too. This group of girls is very resilient and are good at looking at what the future holds and at the whole picture rather than letting the present obstacles overcome them.”

Getting to this point certainly wasn’t easy and took both patience and perseverance.

Thu
18
Mar
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Boys spikers survive brutal week

Two weeks into his tenure as Middleton’s boys volleyball coach, it’s become apparent Rob Kleinschmidt will schedule the best competition he can find.

Kleinschmidt did just that last week, and Middleton enjoyed a thrilling few days — splitting four matches against a bevy of state powers.

On March 8, Fond du Lac defeated Middleton, 25-19, 18-25, 26-24. The Cardinals bounced back, though, later that night and toppled Kaukauna, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21.

The Cardinals also downed Madison Edgewood, 25-15, 25-14, 25-20, on March 11. Kimberly, the defending state champion, then edged Middleton, 20-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13, on March 13.

In Middleton’s loss to Fond du Lac, Cole Sweitzer had 10 kills and DJ McCall added nine kills and three blocks. Nick Stott had 37 assists and Jackson Pertzborn added four digs.

Middleton led Fond du Lac, 24-21, in the third and deciding set. Fond du Lac closed the match with five straight points, though, to prevail.

Thu
18
Mar
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Girls spikers split a pair

Middleton girls volleyball coach Maddie Vogel was a high school standout at Verona.

During Vogel’s first coaching appearance against her alma mater, she would have loved nothing more than to topple the Wildcats. That didn't happen, though, as Verona edged Middleton, 18-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21, on March 10.

“While the final result wasn’t what we had hoped for, I’m happy with how we performed as a first showing and am confident in our ability to compete with them next time,” Vogel said. “We play them again in a couple of weeks. We’ll be working hard to get ready for that.”

Middleton rebounded nicely when it downed Beloit Memorial, 25-11, 26-24, 25-21, on March 11.

Jordan LaScala led the Cardinals with eight kills and six aces, while Evin Jordee led Middleton with 11 assists. Sierra Pertzborn had four blocks and Jada Cerniglia had a team-high 15 digs.

Thu
18
Mar
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Murphy picks Virginia Tech

Storm Murphy, a 2017 Middleton High School graduate, has decided to join the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team as a graduate transfer.

Murphy, a point guard, spent the last four seasons at Wofford and earned All-Southern Conference first-team honors as a senior this year.

The NCAA Division I Council has given all winter-sports athletes in this school year an additional year of eligibility because of the coronavirus pandemic. Murphy elected to play his final season for Virginia Tech and coach Mike Young, who was his coach for two years at Wofford.

“I’m really pumped about it,” Murphy told the Roanoke Times (Va.). “Watching a lot of VT games, I think I’ll be able to fit right in.”

Murphy said Wisconsin, Baylor, Colorado and Missouri all reached out to him last week. But playing for Young a second time appealed to Murphy.

“I know what I’m getting with him,” Murphy said. “I know the offense.

Thu
18
Mar
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Tanin named to all-freshman team

Sitori Tanin, a former Middleton High School standout and a freshman at Loyola University Chicago, was named to the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-freshman team.

Tanin averaged 6.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. She led the team in blocked shots (24) and shot 50.5% from the field.

Loyola is 11-12 this season and went 8-10 in the MVC. Loyola earned a bid to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) and will open play Friday at 1:30 p.m. when it battles Longwood in a quarterfinal-round game.

Tanin led the Cardinals to the WIAA Division 1 state basketball tournament in both her junior and senior seasons. In track and field, Tanin qualified for state from 2017-2019.

Tanin was also named the Times-Tribune’s top female athlete of the 21st century by a 16-person panel in the semmer of 2020.

 

Thu
18
Mar
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Krenke headed to Indiana

Brett Krenke of Middleton, who is a senior at Edgewood High School in Madison, recently committed to play men's rugby for Indiana University in the fall. He is pictured here with Matt Bremser (left) and Paul Stroede (right), who are coaches with the Middleton Area Rugby Club.

Krenke has played rugby for four years with the Middleton Area Rugby Club (MARC). The team captured first place in the Division 2 state championships in 2018 and third place in the Division 1 state championships in 2019.

Krenke also was named to the Badger Selects in 2018 and 2019 and the Midwest Thunderbirds in 2019. Krenke, a defensive lineman for Edgewood, was named to the 2020 Associated Press All-State football team and the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-Region team in the fall.

 

Thu
11
Mar
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Boys spikers off and rolling

It’s often been said that first impressions are the most telling.

If that’s the case, it could be a banner spring for Middleton’s boys volleyball team.

The Cardinals kicked off their season last week with a pair of wins.

Middleton defeated host Beloit Memorial, 25-11, 27-25, 25-14 on March 4. The Cardinals then downed visiting Racine Case, 25-17, 25-21, 25-22, on March 6.

In Middleton’s win over the Purple Knights, Ruben Emmerich had seven kills, while Nick Stott had 19 assists. Jacob Andler had three aces, John Kruchten had two blocks and Jackson Pertzborn added five digs.

“We had a solid first match against Beloit and got the win,” Cardinals first-year coach Rob Kleinschmidt said. “We were able to use a number of lineup combinations and start to get comfortable with each other in competitive situations. Nick ran a good offense and we saw some positive things we can build on for the season.”

Thu
11
Mar
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Girls tennis team hopes for a big spring

Matt Given was planning for the worst.

Instead, Middleton’s girls tennis coach got the absolute best weather possible when his Cardinals began their alternate-fall season Monday.

Middleton was greeted with sunny skies and temperatures in the low-60s when it took the courts. And with temperatures expected to stay surprisingly warm all week, the Cardinals were given the gift of beautiful weather — something that rarely happens in early-March.

“This is a tough group of ladies, and I think they will wear an extra layer if it means we get to be outside,” said Given, who’s in his first year as Middleton’s coach. “We are just very happy to have this chance to play alternate-fall and we will make the most of every chance.”

The Cardinals’ season typically runs in the fall. Due to COVID-19, though, the WIAA gave teams the option of postponing fall sports to the spring, and Middleton elected to do just that.

Tue
09
Mar
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Middleton's lengthy wait comes to an end

Nov. 1, 2019.

That was the last time Middleton’s football team took the field together — until Monday night.

Finally, after a topsy-turvy 16 months — one in which COVID-19 hit, the Cardinals postponed their fall season, and their spring season hung in the balance — Middleton was back at Otto Breitenbach Stadium. And there was nowhere else coach Jason Pertzborn and his team would have rather been.

“It was just great,” Pertzborn said after Middleton’s first practice of the alternate-fall season ended. “The energy of the kids was unbelievable. They were just jacked to be out there, running around.

“From freshmen to seniors, it just felt different. I felt like our camaraderie was better than it’s ever been. Everyone was happy and really enjoying the moment.”

For the better part of a year now, Pertzborn wondered if this moment would ever come.

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