April 2014

Wed
30
Apr
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Reversal of fortune for girls softball team

Darby Raffel always saw the potential.

So did Katie Fermanich.

But in recent years, Middleton’s softball players have failed to see what really matters — production.

Until now.

Middleton softball program, mired in mediocrity the past few seasons, continued its reversal of fortune last week.

The Cardinals went a perfect 5-0, outscoring their opponents 48-5 in those games. Middleton pushed its winning streak to six games, improved to 8-3 overall and 8-2 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We had a nice week,” Middleton first-year manager Cherie Hellenbrand said.

The Cardinals stand alone in second place in the league, and will travel to conference-leading Verona (7-0, 7-0) Friday at 5 p.m.

“It feels really good to have our hard work pay off,” said Raffel, a senior outfielder. “I love seeing our team’s potential finally turn into real success.

Wed
30
Apr
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County Tries Again To Bolster Mining Oversight

County leaders aren’t giving up on their efforts to regulate local mining sites, despite towns’ tepid response to their earlier attempts.

Flanked by supporters and backed by the pristine natural landscape of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy and a dormant mine that abuts it, county executive Joe Parisi last week rolled out the latest plan to bolster oversight of mining operations that border residential and conservation areas.

Ordinance Amendment (OA) 26, the county’s stab at making mining companies follow regulatory rules similar to those already in place for other types of businesses, fizzled recently when area towns, under pressure from mining interests and the Dane County Towns Association, voted to block the increased regulations.

Wed
30
Apr
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Alder-elect Declines City Council's District 4 Seat, Prompts the Return of Jim Wexler

Perhaps April Fools day was a particularly apt day for this year’s Spring Election…

Longtime city alderman Jim Wexler has turned his horse around while riding off into the sunset and returned to his seat despite filing non-candidacy papers last year. Wexler was appointed back to the council following his successor’s surprising and cryptic announcement that he would not accept the Middleton Common Council’s District 4 seat, which he won running unopposed in the April 1 election.

Wexler, who had represented the city’s fourth district since 1988, announced late last year that he would not seek an unprecedented 14th term. While announcing his departure, he said he was pleased to see Chad Gehin, a political newcomer, lifelong City of Middleton resident, and local apartment manager, step forward to run for the seat.

Wed
30
Apr
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Girls soccer team settles for second

Middleton’s girls soccer team knows Waukesha West all too well.

The teams met in the state quarterfinals a year ago, with the Wolverines prevailing there.

And they met again last Saturday in the championship of the Middleton Invite. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, West again emerged victorious, this time by a 3-1 count.

That was the only blemish on an otherwise terrific week for the Cardinals.

Middleton also defeated Eau Claire Memorial, 2-0, and Bay Port, 5-1, at its own invite. The Cardinals also toppled Beloit Memorial, 7-0, last Tuesday.

Here’s a recap of the Cardinals’ week:

• Waukesha West 3, Middleton 1 — The Wolverines scored a pair of second half goals and rallied past the Cardinals.

“We were looking forward to this match-up and hoped it would play out,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “Waukesha West is a great team to play.  They have some quality stars to their team.”

Wed
30
Apr
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Boys golfers keep on rolling

The weather has made life tricky.

Rounds have been at a premium. And when Middleton’s boys golfers have hit the links, they’ve typically been greeted with heavy winds and storms.

But the Cardinals aren’t just surviving. They’re thriving.

Middleton won the 23-team WPGA Invitational at Maple Bluff Country Club last Monday. The Cardinals also won a Big Eight Conference triangular held at Yahara Hills Golf Course last Tuesday, then finished fourth at the 17-team Waunakee Invite held at The Meadows of Sixmile Creek last Saturday.

“I’m very happy,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said of the Cardinals’ start. “The weather has been bad for everyone, but we’re doing pretty well in it.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton posted a team score of 305 to win the WPGA Invite. That was 13 strokes better than runner-up Lodi.

Wed
30
Apr
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Boys track team wins Watertown Invite

Four years ago, Middleton’s boys track and field coach Isaac Mezera was looking to add another event to his schedule.

He decided the Watertown Invitational would be a good fit, and today, that move appears to be pure genius.

The Cardinals went to this event last Friday and won the championship for a fourth straight year.

Middleton won the title with 150 points, while Mount Horeb finished with 96. Neenah (86.5), Baraboo (63.5) and Waunakee (58) rounded out the top five.

Watertown was sixth (52.5), followed by Janesville Craig (45.5), Waukesha Catholic Memorial (43), Madison Memorial (43), Sugar River (37) and Lakeside Lutheran (27).

Tue
29
Apr
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Walby named Middleton's hockey coach

The final horn had sounded.

Middleton’s hockey season had ended with a double overtime loss to Madison West back in mid-February.

And Steffon Walby finally had clarity.

Middleton’s interim hockey coach was now sure he wanted to return and run the program he had inherited six weeks earlier.

Last Friday, Walby got his wish.

Walby had the interim tag removed and he was named the head coach of Middleton’s hockey program. Walby took over on an interim basis on Jan. 16 when Tony and Steve Libert were forced to resign following a locker room incident.

“Let the fun begin,” Walby said Monday afternoon. “This brings a little spring back in my step, a little more youth. It brings me back to my passion and that’s coaching kids.”

Walby, a Madison Edgewood graduate, played minor league hockey for 11 years and coached professionally for seven more. And after the Libert’s were forced out, Walby stepped in.

Mon
28
Apr
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Girls track team shines

Middleton’s girls track and field team enjoyed another terrific week.

The Cardinals took first place at the 11-team Watertown Invite last Friday. Middleton also defeated Janesville Craig, 119-27.

At the Watertown Invite, Middleton was first with 163.5 points, while Neenah (76.5), Lakeside Lutheran (68), Waunakee (67) and Mount Horeb (66.5) rounded out the top five.

Janesville Craig was sixth (61), followed by Madison Memorial (58), Baraboo (53), Watertown (41.5), Sugar River (31) and University Lake School (16).

Middleton won three relays at Watertown.

The 400 meter relay team of Hailee Milton, Emily Zeker, Celia Mayne and Rachel Zander was first in 51.81 seconds. The 800 meter relay team of Zeker, Hanne Andersen-Smith, Abbey Webber and Lauren Smith was first in 1:49.86.

And Middleton’s 1,600 meter relay team of Bobbi Patrick, Zeker, Hanna Docter and Anna Garren was also first (4:09.08).

Mon
28
Apr
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Boys tennis team falls in finals

Middleton’s boys tennis team has been the class of the Madison area for quite some time now.

This year, the Cardinals would like to challenge the Milwaukee-area schools for state supremacy.

But as Middleton found out last weekend, that won’t be easy.

The Cardinals performed admirably at the Madison Memorial Invite, but settled for second place. Middleton fell in the title match, 4-3, to Mequon Homestead.

“We played pretty well, but we are still make tweaks and adjustments to our lineup to find the combination that gives us the best chance to win,” Middleton coach Deke Bradley said. “We were fairly happy with the results, but we were really hoping to beat Homestead.”

Middleton freshman Jake Van Emburgh notched a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 1 singles over Homestead’s Will Kamnerait. Cardinals senior Ben Luskin also earned a 7-5, 6-4 win at No. 2 singles.

Middleton seniors Evan Stone and Joey Niesen also posted a 6-4, 7-6 (7) win at No. 1 doubles.

Wed
23
Apr
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Baseball Cards bounce back

Adversity is something every team faces throughout a long season.

How you handle it determines your eventual fate.

Middleton faced its first true difficulty of the year last week, but rebounded with aplomb.

The Cardinals began their week in frustrating fashion, dropping a 13-0 decision to host Janesville Parker last Wednesday. The game was stopped after five innings due to the 10-run mercy rule, something that had never happened during manager Tom Schmitt’s first 11 seasons.

But Middleton rebounded with an 8-1 rout of Madison East last Thursday. The Cardinals then toppled host Madison West, 6-1, last Saturday.

The Cardinals are now 4-1 in the Big Eight Conference and 5-1 overall.

“It was good to see us come back with good energy and focus,” Middleton manager Tom Schmitt said. “We had good leadership by our three captains, Alex Elliott, Jackson Keeler and Luke Schafer.”

Middleton’s trip to Janesville was extremely frustrating.

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