August 2017

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Boys spikers seeking greatness

Middleton’s boys volleyball team produced a bevy of sensational teams over the last 15 years.

The Cardinals have qualified for the WIAA state tournament four consecutive years and nine times since 2002. Middleton reached the state semifinals in both 2007 and ’08.

And the Cardinals have won 10 of the last 11 Big Eight Conference championships.

That’s a remarkable run that almost any program in the state would love to call its own.

Don't look now, but when Middleton begins its new season Tuesday at Beloit Memorial, it could field the best team in school history.

“I think based on experience and depth, this team has the chance to be one of the top teams we’ve had at Middleton,” Cardinals coach Ben White said. “We’ve had an unreal run over the last 11 years and this team could compete with some of the best.

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Boys soccer team has high hopes

Middleton’s boys soccer program had a 2016 season to remember.

The Cardinals reached the WIAA Division 1 state tournament for the first time since 2011. Middleton knocked off Big Eight Conference co-champs Madison East and Sun Prairie on its way to state.

And the Cardinals finished the year with an impressive 16-3-2 record.

Now comes the hard part.

Sustaining what was achieved.

“This year we need to prove our staying power as a soccer program,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “Our effort will need to be team driven and not based on any one player's individual talent.

“Our tactics have to change to a more aggressive style to produce the same results. We have a tactical plan to get back to the (state) tourney given this year's set of players. We need all 11 players executing that plan to make it work.”

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Boys XC team thinking big

Middleton’s boys cross country team has been on a remarkably impressive upward trend in recent seasons.

And the Cardinals’ ascent could very well continue in 2017.

Middleton finished 15th at the WIAA Division 1 state meet in 2013, then has been sixth, fourth and third in the three years since.

Now, with a gifted group of returnees and a number of talented newcomers, this could be the year Middleton breaks through and pushes for a state championship.

“I think we can replicate third place or better this year,” said Middleton coach Brian Finnel, whose team opens its season Saturday at the Verona Invite. “Placing third last year made the returners very hungry and they really want to get on that podium.

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HTL team two wins from a title

The Chicago Cubs had Jake Arietta.

The San Francisco Giants had Madison Bumgarner.

And on a smaller scale, Middleton’s Home Talent League team has Drew Farrell.

Look out below.

In the first round of the HTL playoffs Sunday, Farrell threw 8 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against host Montello. Pinch hitter Craig Madson broke up the no-hitter, but Farrell went the distance and led Middleton to a 7-0 win.

Farrell finished with seven strikeouts, allowed two hits and walked two.

“Farrell was a force on the mound today,” Middleton manager Brandon Hellenbrand said. “He dominated right from the start and never gave in.”

Middleton (18-2) now travels to Stoughton Sunday at 1 p.m., and the winner of that game will be in the driver’s seat for the HTL championship. Stoughton cruised to a 9-3 win over Dodgeville in the other first round game.

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Sun Prairie rolls past Middleton

SUN PRAIRIE — Middleton's football team found out the hard way it has a lot to learn.

Loaded with talent, but sorely lacking in varsity experience, the Cardinals came up on the short end of a 34-6 Big Eight Conference game to Sun Prairie at Ashley Field last Friday night.

Middleton, which entered the season with nine new starters on defense and an entirely new starting offensive line, faced one of the league's more experienced teams in Sun Prairie with 12 returning starters.

“It was just one of those nights where it's tough and I think our inexperience showed tonight,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “That's not an excuse, but over half their team are returning starters, and for us, I think we had four or five returning starters and that showed. One team had a little bit more savvy out there than the other team.”

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City of Middleton wants your feedback!

2017 Middleton Citizen Satisfaction Survey is Available Until September 4 here: https://polco.us/surveys/d9727cdd-efaa-440

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Girls swimmers gunning for repeat

Nearly 10 months after the most memorable girls swimming season in Middleton history came to a close, Lauren Cabalka still gets goose bumps.

Cabalka, the Cardinals’ head coach and a former standout in the program, guided Middleton to its first-ever WIAA Division 1 state title last November.

Now, even as Middleton prepares to begin its new season Friday at Sun Prairie at 5 p.m., the memories of 2016 aren't far away. They provide joy, laughter and a model for how to become a champion.

“I don't think you can put a season like that into words,” Cabalka said. “When I look back, I think about how special it really was and how incredibly difficult it is to remain unbeaten in a conference like ours as well as throughout the state. 

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