August 2016

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Wed
31
Aug
Tue
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Aug
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Middleton outlasts Sun Prairie in 4 OTs

The Middleton and Sun Prairie football programs have a long and storied history of memorable games.

Ryan Oliversen made the play of the 1990s inside Middleton football when he hauled in a fourth down, game-winning touchdown catch against Sun Prairie in the 1999 playoffs.

Sun Prairie came to Middleton in the postseason a year ago as a substantial underdog, then proceeded to post a stunning upset.

And these two programs, which have largely dominated the Big Eight Conference over the past two decades, had gone 12-12 against each other in their last 24 meetings.

But nothing in this battle of titans compared to what took place at Middleton High School’s Brietenbach Stadium last Friday.

Middleton rallied from three different deficits, got heroic efforts from a handful of players, and upended Sun Prairie, 37-31, in a four-overtime, 3 1/2 –hour marathon.

Tue
30
Aug
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Middleton's boys spikers simply reload

They don’t rebuild inside Middleton’s boys volleyball program.

They reload.

It’s led to nine Big Eight Conference championships in the last 10 years and seven trips to state since 2006.

A few months back, though, Cardinals head coach Ben White wasn’t sure he’d be reloading in 2016.

“I'll be honest there was a point during the summer when I thought of this as a rebuilding year, but it's not,” White said. “It's a reloading. We have a great core of players.”

Middleton lost eight players from a team that won the Big Eight and qualified for the state tournament. But the Cardinals should be loaded for bear again.

Middleton brings back a handful of players that were vital cogs a year ago. And the Cardinals have a solid group of newcomers ready to make their mark.

Tue
30
Aug
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Miles, MHS golfers shine

The Crusade Fore a Cure has always been an important meet for Middleton’s girls golf team.

This year, there’s a greater significance than ever.

Middleton senior Morgan Miles found out shortly before the year that her mother, Rae, had been diagnosed with cancer for a second time.

The Crusade Fore A Cure, hosted by Madison Edgewood at Maple Bluff, raises money for cancer research. So Monday’s event was an extremely emotional one for Miles, her family, and all of the Cardinals.

The fact Middleton — the No. 1 ranked team in the state — won the 19-team event made the day even sweeter.

“I told the girls that if they had a bad shot out there, not to get discouraged, but to think about what they were out there for,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “It wasn't about winning a tournament, it was about coming together as a team and as a community to raise awareness for breast cancer research. I’m so proud of our entire team.”

Wed
24
Aug
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Middleton golfers make a statement

The first Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin poll was released Sunday.

The poll had Hartland Arrowhead as the No. 1 team in Wisconsin and Middleton No. 2. On Monday, the Cardinals made a statement saying perhaps those spots should be reversed.

Middleton shot a 325 and won the 18-team Waunakee Invite held at The Meadows of Sixmile Creek. Arrowhead was second at 333, while Oregon was a distant third at 377.

Middleton edged Arrowhead by one shot for the state championship last fall. This year, the Warhawks nipped the Cardinals in two early-season events.

“It's always a confidence boost for us to play against Arrowhead and win,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson.  

Middleton senior Alexis Thomas captured medalist honors with a 72, three shots ahead of runner-up Alexa Holland of Arrowhead (75). Thomas struggled off the tees, but her short game was sublime.

Wed
24
Aug
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Girls spikers thinking big

Franco Marcos knows the history, the success stories and the failures of Middleton’s girls volleyball program better than anyone.

And if the Cardinals’ veteran coach tried summing it all up in a few short words, it would go like this.

“We have been good forever,” Marcos said. “Now we want to be great.”

Marcos is exactly right.

Middleton has been extremely good, making four trips to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament since 2001. The Cardinals have been a fixture at — or near — the top of the Big Eight Conference.

But Middleton hasn’t reached the state tournament since 2009 as area programs such as Sun Prairie and Verona have caught — and passed — the Cardinals.

Middleton will continue its pursuit of greatness when it begins its season Saturday at the Wisconsin Rapids Invite.

“This group of returnees together with the newcomers will be very good,” Marcos said. “The overall skill level and chemistry is better. We are a young team.”

Wed
24
Aug
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Middleton rolls past Memorial

On Middleton’s first offensive play from scrimmage in 2016, running back Dion Huff darted through a huge hole for a 25-yard gain. On the Cardinals’ next play, fellow running back James Pabst ran for another 13.

It was that kind of night for the Cardinals’ junior running backs as each took turns breaking big runs to lead Middleton’s football team to a resounding 31-3 season-opening victory over Madison Memorial in a Big Eight Conference game at Mansfield Stadium Friday night.

Of course it didn’t hurt to run behind an offensive line anchored by 6-foot-3, 320-pound right guard Kayden Lyles.

“Thanks to the O-line,” Huff said. “They just did their job and we got it done.”

Joining Lyles, a University of Wisconsin recruit, on the Cardinals sizable offensive line were left tackle Jarrett Horst (6-4, 270), left guard Daydrian Spears (5-10, 232), center Justin Sarbacker (5-9, 228) and right tackle Seth Craker (6-4, 243).

Wed
24
Aug
Wed
17
Aug
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MHS hopes to get over the hump

Middleton’s football program has largely been a pillar of excellence — both on and off the field — under Tim Simon for the past 12 years.

For the first time this offseason, though, Simon put together a handbook for his players that includes a mission statement, football specific goals and an overall philosophy.

There were six football goals, and most years, Middleton has aced the first five. They include competing for a Big Eight championship and ranking among the premier football programs in Wisconsin.
It’s the sixth and final goal that has given Simon and the Cardinals fits.

That reads: “Compete year in and year out to win the state championship.”

“We have a goal every year of winning a gold ball and playing in Camp Randall,” Simon said. “But we need to be more consistent in the playoffs than we have been.”

The Cardinals have done several great things under Simon.

Wed
17
Aug
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MHS' offense should shine

Speed kills.

It doesn’t hurt to have some size, too.

Middleton’s offense seems to have both this fall, which could make the Cardinals extremely dangerous on that side of the ball.

Middleton has a bevy of skill players that run extremely well. Combine that with an offensive line that will average 6-foot-1 and 258 pounds per man and the Cardinals could have an offense that gives their foes fits.

“We’re going to have a lot of team speed,” said Middleton coach Tim Simon, whose team opens the season at Madison Memorial Friday. “Then we should have some pretty good size up front, too. We’re hoping that’s a nice combination.”

After waiting his turn the last two seasons, senior C.J. Fermanich will take over at quarterback. Fermanich is a sensational athlete who was a first-team all-Big Eight Conference return man and an honorable-mention all-conference selection at cornerback in 2015.

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