September 2016

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Hodson, MHS golfers steal the show

EVANSVILLE — As the snow fell last winter and temperatures hovered in the single digits, Payton Hodson trekked out to her garage most days. And Middleton’s rapidly rising golfer took swing after swing, firing ball after ball into a net.

Glamorous? Far from.

Effective? You bet.

Hodson, one of the state’s most improved golfers in 2016, has seen her stock skyrocket in the last 12 months. And the blue-chipper took it to another level last Thursday.

Hodson, a junior at MHS, won the Big Eight Conference tournament held at Evansville Golf Course. Hodson fired a 3-over-par 75 and helped Middleton — the state’s No. 1 ranked team — cruise to the team title.

The Cardinals shot a 326-team score to easily outdistance runner-up Janesville Parker (360) and Verona (366).

Mon
26
Sep
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MHS girls spikers trending upward

Week-by-week, match-by-match, Middleton’s girls volleyball team is showing dramatic improvement.

And the Cardinals took it up another notch last week.

Middleton defeated Verona, 3-0, last Tuesday and toppled Janesville Parker, 3-0, last Thursday. The Cardinals also finished second at the UW-Oshkosh Titan Tussle last Saturday.

Middleton kicked off the week with a 25-15, 27-25, 25-19 win over Verona on “Pink Out” night. Everyone in the stands wore pink to honor those battling breast cancer, and money was raised to donate to the UW Carbone Cancer Research Center. Cardinals’ assistant coach Kathleen Shaffer, a breast cancer survivor, was also Middleton’s honoree for the match.

Mon
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Sep
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Football Cardinals hammer Parker

Middleton’s football team entered last Friday’s game motivated, driven and inspired following a tough loss to Verona the previous week.

The Cardinals then played like a team on a mission.

Middleton rolled past visiting Janesville Parker, 28-0, in its Homecoming game. The Cardinals improved to 5-1 in the Big Eight Conference and overall and remained one game behind league-leading Verona (6-0).

Middleton had dominated the stat sheet against Verona the previous week, but wasn’t able to finish on multiple drives. Cardinals head coach Tim Simon knew his team needed to be better against Parker (2-4) if they wanted a win.

“Parker is a good team. They’re a big, physical team,” Simon said. “I think the difference this week (from last week vs Verona) was we made some crucial plays tonight that we didn’t make last week.”

One of those crucial plays was a kickoff to open the second half.

Fri
23
Sep
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The Good Life: Kirby Nelson on making beer, having fun and staying young at heart

“I’ve never grown up,” says Kirby Nelson, overlooking a glistening pond on which he recently blew up a fairly large dragon. “And honestly, I can’t think of anything I would hate more.”

Today the pond is more serene. Nelson is sitting on a hulking slab of limestone, sipping a powerful beer and watching a flock of geese as they float quiet laps on the water’s glasslike surface. His white hair is blowing in the late summer breeze. He is talking candidly – it’s the only way he can talk, those who know him are well aware – about his past, his present and, most importantly, his future.

Nelson is 60. He is one of the founding fathers of craft beer in the Midwest. And he believes firmly that his best years are yet to come.

Wed
21
Sep
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Verona upends Middleton

The scoreboard staring directly at Shane Bick read Verona 10, Middleton 7.

But as the Cardinals’ standout linebacker stood in the middle of Breitenbach Stadium last Friday, Bick didn’t think the score was a fair reflection of the previous 2 ½ hours.

“My personal opinion, no,” Bick said when asked if the better team had won Friday’s Big Eight Conference showdown. “Verona’s a great team. They just had a great day and we were just a little slow in the first half. But I don’t think the better team won the game.”

Middleton coach Tim Simon echoed Bick’s sentiments.

“I don’t think so,” Simon said when asked if the better team won. “And again, that’s no discredit to Verona. They're 5-0. They played very good football and their defense is obviously very good. But I think, especially the way the second half went, we felt we were the better team. But I always feel that way.”

Wed
21
Sep
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MHS golfers win dual meet title

The first box is checked.

Now, Middleton’s girls golfers hope many more are soon to follow.

The Cardinals captured the Big Eight Conference dual meet championship last Thursday, putting the final touches on a 9-0 league record with a win over Madison La Follette.

“Going 9-0 in conference regular season play was just one of our goals for this season that we can now check off our list,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “I'm so happy for these girls and how well they have come together as a team this season.”

The championship was somewhat anticlimactic, as the Lancers didn’t have any varsity golfers. So Middleton simply had to post a score to win the match.

The Cardinals shot a 339 team score, led by a 75 from all-state senior Alexis Thomas. Middleton’s team score wasn’t one of its better numbers this season, but all that mattered was the Cardinals left Yahara Hills Golf Course as league champions.

Wed
21
Sep
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Middleton swimmers make a splash

Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team has never won a WIAA Division 1 state championship.

But the 2016 Cardinals seem determined to change that.

Middleton saw some of the state’s finest swimmers and top teams at last Saturday’s Waukesha South Invite. And the Cardinals showed that they just might be the team to beat at state come November.

Middleton won the star-studded invite, finishing with 349 points. Verona-Mount Horeb was second at 285, while Arrowhead (230), Waukesha South/Mukwonago (218) and Cedarburg (196) rounded out the top five.

“This meet featured the state's top teams in Verona, Arrowhead and Cedarburg and gave us some great competition — especially for our relays,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “The girls were challenged at a level they had not felt yet and I think they handled it very well.”

Middleton had winning performances up and down the lineup, especially with the relays.

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