September 2016

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Middleton, Verona set for showdown

They started thinking about Friday night the minute their last game ended. Maybe even earlier.

Middleton’s football team has developed an intense, passionate rivalry with Verona in the short time they’ve been in the Big Eight Conference together. The Cardinals don’t care for the Wildcats — and vice versa.

When the two meet at Middleton’s Breitenbach Stadium Friday at 7 p.m., emotions will be as high as ever. That’s because both teams are 4-0 overall and in the league, and the winner will exit with sole possession of the Big Eight lead.

“Everyone is raving about Verona this week,” Middleton quarterback/cornerback C.J. Fermanich said. “People know how big this rivalry is and that adds to the hype around the game. We have to let that excitement motivate us to work hard and get a lot better in practice this week.”

Cardinals senior linebacker Joe Ludwig agreed.

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A conversation with Author Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini’s new novel starts with a bang. Literally.

John Wilkes Booth has just shot history’s most beloved U.S. president in the back of the head. Booth, convinced he has rid the world of a brutal tyrant, is on the run, hiding in a tobacco barn while the authorities doggedly pursue him. It’s a rip-roaring scene, full of action and almost biblical undertones. As the posse closes in on him, Booth is still convinced he is working as “an instrument of [God’s] perfect wrath.”

It is violent and tragic, but perhaps the most surprising thing about the beginning to this story is the fact that, through some kind of literary alchemy, Chiaverini has managed to humanize Booth. He’s a villain, obviously. But he is also a human being.

It’s an impressive feat, and it’s one only possible for a novelist who, after 25 prior books, is at the height of her powers as a writer.

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MHS runners shine at Verona Invite

It’s a season of great expectations inside Middleton’s boys cross country program.

And the Cardinals showed last Saturday they’re ready to live up to the hype.

Middleton won the 25-team, star-studded Verona Invitational. The Cardinals finished with 54 points, while Madison West (60), Monona Grove (131), Madison La Follette (134) and Sun Prairie (138) rounded out the top five.

Middleton put four runners in the top-13, led by senior Gus Newcomb. The Cardinals’ standout finished second overall with a personal-best time of 15:18.89 on the 5,000-meter course and was narrowly edged for the title by Lancers senior Finn Gessner (15:17.93).

“It was pretty awesome to win a big meet,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “I think the juniors and seniors were waiting for this for a while. They have certainly earned it with all the miles they have put in.

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Golfers close in on Big 8 crown

Middleton’s girls golfers remain the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

Now, the Cardinals are closing in on another Big Eight Conference meet.

Middleton won a pair of triangulars last week and improved to 8-0 in conference dual meets.

Middleton won the Sun Prairie Triangular held at Sun Prairie Country Club last Tuesday. The Cardinals then captured the Madison West Triangular last Wednesday at Odana Hills Golf Course.

Middleton shot a 323 in its win at Sun Prairie. Verona was a distant second with a 371, while Sun Prairie was third at 377.

Middleton senior Alexis Thomas captured medalist honors with a 1-under-par, 72. Senior Morgan Miles carded a 79, junior Peyton Hodson shot an 80 and junior Allison Richards notched a 91.

“I was really pleased with our scores at Sun Prairie,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said.

Middleton shot a 332 at the Madison West Triangular, while Janesville Parker carded a 380 and Madison West shot a 404.

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Middleton holds off Madison West

The scoreboard at Mansfield Stadium read Middleton 30, Madison West 22.

If you listened to Cardinals coach Tim Simon, though, you’d have thought his team had just lost by five touchdowns to the Regents.

For roughly 20 minutes Friday, Simon lambasted his squad for nearly letting a 23-0 lead slip away. Simon was extremely agitated by what he perceived as a lack of focus and a loss of intensity.

Yes, Middleton improved to 3-0 and shares the Big Eight Conference lead with Madison La Follette and Verona. But Simon didn’t think his team made the type of progress he wanted.

“We told our guys all week that West is a good football team, but I’m not sure all of our guys believed that,” Simon said. “And when we got up on them, our guys relaxed.

“We can’t play that way and be the kind of football team we want to be. Some of the things happening were unacceptable.”

In some ways, it was a win-win for Simon.