September 2015

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Swimmers win Brookfield East Invite

There’s been a buzz around Middleton’s girls swimming and diving program all fall.

There’s a gifted group of freshman. A terrific batch of sophomores. And a number of upperclassmen with decorated résumés.

The Cardinals proved last Saturday just why there’s been so much hype.

Middleton went to the star-studded Brookfield East Invite and won the 14-team event.

The Cardinals finished with 486 points and easily outdistanced runner-up Madison West (321). Verona-Mount Horeb was third at 315, while Madison Edgewood (293) and Brookfield East (225) rounded out the top five.

“I was very proud of the overall effort of the team,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We were able to win some close races, score a lot of events and prove that our depth of talent is the real deal. We certainly walked away with a new sense of accomplishment and pride, and I think the girls were able to see their hard work begin to pay off.”

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Cross country teams shine at River Valley

One was second.

The other was third.

Eventually, both believe they can be No. 1.

Middleton’s cross country teams gave impressive performances at last Saturday’s River Valley Invite. The girls finished second among 19 teams in the Large Schools division, while the boys were third out of 20 teams.

It was an imposing performance by two teams that are undoubtedly trending upward.

“Our girls have a lot to celebrate and should take pride in their performances,” Middleton co-coach Cindy Bremser said.

Isaac Mezera, Middleton’s second co-coach, agreed.

“We just need to keep everyone focused and working hard, and those times will drop,” Mezera said.

Mighty Sun Prairie won the girls race with just 48 points, while the Cardinals were second at 65. Freedom (114), Holmen (156) and McFarland (159) rounded out the top five.

Middleton senior Sam Valentine was third overall, finishing in 18 minutes, 50 seconds.

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Tennis Cards lead Big Eight

Middleton’s girls tennis team improved to 7-0 and remained atop the Big Eight Conference after a pair of wins last week.

The Cardinals defeated Madison West, 5-2, last Thursday. Middleton also upended Madison Memorial, 5-2, last Tuesday.

In Middleton’s win over West, all three of its doubles teams won their matches.

“Our doubles teams all played well,” Cardinals senior Kaisey Skibba said.

Skibba teamed with fellow senior Abbey Webber for a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 1 doubles. Middleton senior Lauren Coons and freshman Maddie Clark notched a 6-3, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles. And at No. 3 doubles, junior Jessica Wang and senior Amanda Huff posted a 6-3, 6-1 win.

Middleton’s Kai Heineman earned a hard fought 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win at No. 2 singles. And Ally Hujanen rallied for a 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 4 singles.

Middleton also notched wins at all three doubles flights against Madison Memorial.

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Girls spikers split a pair

Middleton’s girls volleyball team split a pair of matches last week.

The Cardinals fell to visiting Verona, 3-1, last Tuesday. Middleton then rebounded with a 3-0 win over Madison East last Thursday.

Verona, one of the favorites in the Big Eight Conference, notched an impressive 25-18, 24-26, 25-18, 25-18 win over the host Cardinals.

“The atmosphere in the gym was like a playoff match,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “Both crowds were energetic and both teams put on a show.”

Logan Welti finished with 21 kills and 17 digs for Middleton and had a .348 hitting percentage. Lily Welti had 11 kills and  digs, while Mimi McMurray had 25 assists. 

“Verona has an awesome setter in Victoria Brisack, who is able to confuse the defense and put the ball where she wants it,” Marcos said. “Our blocking definitely needs to improve in order to beat the great teams.  

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Boys spikers struggle at Racine Invite

Ben White likes to remind people that no one reaches a state tournament in September.

But White, Middleton’s boys volleyball coach, also knows his team has miles to travel if it hopes to qualify for state in November.

The Cardinals traveled to the Racine Park Invite last Saturday and had an up and down day. Middleton went 2-1 in pool play, but then fell in the first round of the playoffs to Milwaukee Pius.

Admittedly, White was hoping Middleton’s day would last a little longer.

“Well if you are going to make mistakes, better to make them early in the year rather than late in the year,” White said. “And we made plenty. 

“Not to take anything away from the teams that beat us, but we did a great job of helping them out along the way. All the mistakes we made are correctable, but we know we are still looking for one more hitter or someone to take more control of the team.”

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Coming to America

A Ukrainian family is forging a new life in America’s heartland, working the land together and embracing a vibrant, organic farming philosophy.

Roksolana Viter enjoyed life in her native Ukraine. Living in Kyiv, the fifth largest city in Europe, she worked as an architect, creating modern designs and assuming that was what she would do for the rest of her life.

Then, in 2014 Russia made several incursions into Ukrainian territory, breaking the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and throwing the region into a state of unrest, political turmoil and in some places, violence.

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Middleton's 'D' dominates La Follette

A normal coach might have worried.

An ordinary coach would have lost hour after hour of sleep.

But there isn’t a whole lot that’s commonplace about Middleton defensive coordinator Tom Cabalka. And there’s very little that’s routine about the defenses he fields.

In a Big Eight Conference showdown Friday night, Cabalka and Middleton’s defense came up huge again. The Cardinals sacked Madison La Follette quarterbacks Julian Patton and Frankie Arriola 10 times, held the Lancers to 193 total yards and rolled to a 24-13 win.

Middleton improved to 4-0 and now has sole possession of first place in the Big Eight Conference, while the Lancers fell to 3-1.

“We’ve played three really good games in a row defensively,” Cabalka said. “The kids were very prepared. They were very focused all week long.

“They’re still young and they’re still green. But I’m very happy. Very happy. Very excited about the fact they’re coming together.”

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Before I Go

I used to have a Darwinian view on parenting. Like all uninformed opinions, it was elegant in its simplicity.

“Kids have survived for thousands of generations without car seats, helmets, vaccines or organic, lavender-scented diaper cream,” I said. “I’m pretty sure the survival of our species proves we don’t need to go out of our way to keep them alive.”

What I immediately realized the first time I looked at my daughter was the fundamental difference between the species as a whole - which includes billions of people, many of whom are murdering, stealing and singing karaoke at this very moment – and my little girl, who is currently gnawing on my leg and saying “meow” while pointing at a picture of a pig.

It’s not that I don’t care about the whole of humanity. It’s that I care about it far less than I care about the little girl whose health, safety and ultimate happiness are my responsibility.

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Football Cards hammer East

Efficient. Systematic. Methodical.

And in the end, remarkably successful.

This was the story of Middleton’s offense during an extremely impressive 42-21 victory over host Madison East Friday night. The Cardinals’ No. 1 offense scored touchdowns on all six of their drives in a workmanlike manner.

Middleton had just three plays of more than 20 yards all night. Instead, the Cardinals were meticulous in both the details and in their execution and slowly dismantled an overmatched East squad.

Middleton improved to 3-0 overall and in the Big Eight Conference, while East fell to 2-1. The Cardinals now travel to Madison La Follette (3-0) Friday at 7 p.m. in a matchup of the last two undefeated teams in the Big Eight.

“We’ll take that,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said when told his No. 1 offense was 6-for-6 finding the endzone. “It was out best effort of the year.”