Sports

Sun
26
Nov
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Boys basketball team has high hopes

Tyree Eady, Middleton’s all-time leading scorer, has taken his immense skills to North Dakota State.

Storm Murphy, the Cardinals’ all-time leader in assists and a 1,000-point scorer himself, is now playing collegiately at Wofford.

Most programs take a dramatic nosedive after losing two Division 1 athletes. But Middleton is expecting to be one of the area’s surprise teams this winter.

The Cardinals have a handful of solid returnees and a group of talented newcomers ready to make their mark. And when Middleton opens its season Nov. 30 against Madison Memorial, it’s optimistic big things await.

“Our depth, physical strength and skill development from the end of last season until now has been very good,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “We have a good inside-outside mix and overall team size and length. This also has the potential to be one of the best shooting teams we’ve had.”

Sun
26
Nov
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Hockey Cards thinking big

It’s been almost four full years now since the ultra-successful Libert brothers — Steve and Tony — resigned as Middleton’s hockey coaches.

In their 21 years together, the Liberts took a program from ground zero to great heights, including three trips to the state tournament.

Today, the Cardinals are still looking to recapture some of that magic.

Steffon Walby, who took over as Middleton’s coach in Jan., 2014, has compiled a stellar 65-21-3 record in his three-plus years as the Cardinals’ boss (.747 winning percentage). But despite some stellar regular seasons, Middleton has failed to reach the state tournament under Walby.

Middleton began its new season last Saturday with a 2-1 over Oregon. And Walby and the Cardinals are hopeful this is the year they can make it to the state tournament.

Sun
19
Nov
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Girls basketball team hopes to reload

Jeff Kind has never shied away from a challenge.

It’s one of the big reasons Middleton’s girls basketball coach ranks eighth in state history in career victories with a 563-249 record (.693).

It’s also a big reason the Cardinals have become one of the state’s elite programs, reaching the WIAA Division 1 state tournament seven times since 2008 and nine times this century.

But Kind and his Cardinals have an awfully big challenge this year.

Middleton must replace four starters — triplets Bria, Alyssa and Carlee Lemirande, along with Alexis Thomas — that accounted for more than 60.0% of the Cardinals’ points last season. That quartet also helped Middleton go 86-17 and win three Big Eight Conference titles over the last four years.

When Middleton begins its season Friday with a home game against Madison Memorial, it will have several new — albeit gifted — players in its lineup.

Sun
19
Nov
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Girls swimmers cruise to state title

After completing a thoroughly dominant season, Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team found itself in the unfamiliar role of underdog heading into Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state swimming and diving championship.

According to a pre-race “mock meet” based on seedings from sectionals, Middleton was tabbed to finish second at the state meet, something that didn’t sit well with the Cardinals.

“Going into this year we did read articles about how we weren’t supposed to win and how we were seeded second by eight points,” sophomore Gabriela Pierobon Mays said. “I think that’s when we turned around and we were like, ‘All right, we’re the underdogs now and we love being underdogs.’ ”

Motivated by that slight, the Cardinals dominated the state meet from start to finish as they rolled to their second consecutive state championship at the UW Natatorium.

Middleton won the meet’s opening swim event, the 200-yard medley relay, and never looked back.

Sun
19
Nov
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Boys spikers fall in state quarters

MILWAUKEE — Middleton’s boys volleyball team set a goal of "Play on Saturday" for the 2017 season. 

And though the Cardinals came up a match short of reaching that plateau last Friday at the WIAA boys state volleyball tournament, the crop of departing seniors vow to do what they can to help next year's team attain that elusive level.

“What coach said after the match is our seniors from last year, there were four of them in the crowd (Friday),” said senior libero and captain Thomas Robson, a four-year varsity player. “The seniors will be on the underclassmen. We've built that kind of program and we're always going to help each other get to the next level. That's what these seniors will do.”

Fri
10
Nov
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Boys spikers earn state berth

Middleton’s boys volleyball team has done it again.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Cardinals are headed to the state tournament.

Top-seeded Middleton was able to survive a first-set scare against third-seeded Burlington and roll to a 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 in a sectional final held in Middleton last Thursday.

Middleton (33-6) recently won its sixth consecutive Big Eight Conference regular season title before locking up its 10th state appearance in school history. Burlington finished the year 26-10.

“This year is a lot of excitement because ... they've seen everything,” Middleton head coach Ben White said. “They don’t get rattled, they don't get nervous. To take a team like this, with the confidence that they're playing with, to state is pretty exciting.”

Thu
09
Nov
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MHS swimmers gunning for state title

It was supposed to be the greatest day in the history of Middleton’s girls swimming and diving program.

The Cardinals were in the midst of winning the WIAA Division 1 state championship last November. Middleton’s dynamic group became the first in school history to leave the UW-Natatorium with a state title.

But as the state meet unfolded, Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka and the rest of the Cardinals didn’t feel like most teams that capture gold.

“Honestly, it felt kind of yucky,” Cabalka said.

Yucky? Really?

To hear Cabalka and her team tell it, the championship was remarkable. They’ll cherish it forever.

But the meet itself was anything but perfect.

There was squabbling. Girls were struggling with the pressure of the moment. And while the Cardinals left with a championship, the meet itself was far from enjoyable.

Compare that to 2015 when Middleton came out of nowhere, surprised the field and finished second at state.

Sun
05
Nov
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Hodson earns all-state honors

Payton Hodson worked, grinded and improved.

The result is Middleton’s girls golf standout had an unforgettable senior season.

Hodson averaged 77.30 and was recently named the Player of the Year in the Big Eight Conference. In addition, Hodson earned first-team all-state honors.

Middleton sophomore Kate Meier also earned first-team all-conference and honorable-mention all-state honors. Senior Grace Peterson was named second-team all-Big Eight and honorable-mention all-state, while senior Allison Richards earned honorable-mention all-conference honors.

Hodson, a three-year varsity player and a Valparaiso recruit, improved her average by 7.43 shots over the last three years. Hodson finished in the top-five of all but two tournaments this year and tied for fifth at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Fri
03
Nov
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Boys cross country team wins state title

Caleb Easton crunched the numbers in his head.

As Middleton’s boys cross country standout totaled the results from last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet, Easton figured the Cardinals would be exiting Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with a championship trophy.

It wasn’t until those results were officially posted, though, that Easton and his teammates could breath a giant sigh of relief.

“I think really the highlight was when we saw the scores and saw that we won,” Easton said. “It was just a great time.”

And a great performance.

Middleton finished with just 76 points to easily outdistance runner-up Stevens Point (177). South Milwaukee (191), Monona Grove (197) and Sun Prairie (203) rounded out the top-five.

Middleton won its first state title since 1992. And the Cardinals’ 101-point margin of victory was the largest in state history at any level.

Fri
03
Nov
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Lepage brothers shine for MHS

Mattie Lepage doesn’t have a single kill or assist for Middleton’s boys volleyball team this season.

He hasn’t recorded an ace, block or a dig.

But Lepage has become a vital part of Middleton’s sensational squad, which clinched a fifth straight trip to state Thursday night. And the Cardinals’ junior manager is the energetic, vivacious and spirited leader Middleton simply can’t do without.

Lepage, the younger brother of Cardinals’ standout setter Andrew Lepage, was born with Down’s syndrome. While that has slowed Mattie in some areas, his love of volleyball isn’t one of them.

Mattie has an unparalleled zest and gusto for volleyball — as well his managerial duties. And his enthusiasm has been an important ingredient in Middleton’s outstanding season.

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