Sports

Thu
12
Oct
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Golfers finish eighth at state

They would have liked to play better.

They would have loved to challenge for a top-five finish for a fifth straight year and end their memorable year on a high.

That didn't happen for Middleton’s girls golf team at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament held Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge. The Cardinals posted a two-day total of 700 and finished in eighth place, 70 shots behind Arrowhead, which repeated as champions.

But as Cardinals’ senior standout Payton Hodson reflected on the tournament just moments after it ended, her reaction might have surprised some.

“I’m so proud of my teammates, no matter what place we ended up in,” Hodson said. “We all just wanted to have fun and kill it in our last rounds together. No matter how it ended up, it’s a great finish to our season.”

Macro — not micro.

That’s how Hodson and many of the Cardinals chose to look at their season. While the ending wasn’t perfect, in many ways, the year was.

Thu
12
Oct
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Football Cards gun for high seed

If it’s style points you were looking for, Otto Breitenbach Stadium was not where you wanted to be last Friday.

Middleton’s football game with Beloit Memorial was played in heavy rains. The wet and sloppy conditions made it virtually impossible for the Cardinals’ offense to get untracked and turnovers were Middleton’s kryptonite.

In the end, though, Middleton did enough to topple the Purple Knights, 21-7. The Cardinals improved to 7-1 overall and in the Big Eight Conference and won their sixth straight game, while Beloit fell to 2-6.

Middleton closes out the regular season Friday at Madison East (0-8) at Breese Stevens Field at 7 p.m.

The WIAA will determine its seven-division, 224-team playoff field late Friday night and early Saturday morning. Each 32-team division is then split into four, eight-team sections.

Thu
12
Oct
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Girls spikers share Big 8 title

Middleton’s girls volleyball team had a bevy of goals this season.

One of those was “Knocking Out The Big Eight.”

The Cardinals achieved that goal, earning a share of the Big Eight Conference dual meet title last week. Middleton won a pair of matches and finished the year 8-1 in league dual meets.

Previously unbeaten Sun Prairie also lost to Verona, meaning Middleton, Sun Prairie and the Wildcats all finished 8-1 and tied for the conference title.

It marked the first time since 2012 Middleton won the dual meet title.

“It has been four years since we won the Big Eight tournament and five years since we won the Big Eight Conference duals,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “I am happy for this group of players for accomplishing one of their goals of ‘Knocking Out The Big Eight.’ ”

Middleton opened the week with a 17-25, 22-25, 25-19, 25-16, 15-4 over Beloit Memorial last Tuesday.

Thu
05
Oct
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Boys spikers second at Middleton Invite

The boys state volleyball tournament remains a month away.

But a mini-state tournament took place at Middleton High School last Saturday. And the host Cardinals showed they could be ready for a memorable postseason.

Middleton welcomed 10 of the state’s top 12 teams for the Cardinal Invite. The host Cardinals then reached the championship match before falling to defending state champion and No. 1 Milwaukee Marquette, 25-17, 25-21.

“Very proud of what we accomplished,” Middleton coach Ben White said.

With good reason.

A year ago, Middleton struggled at its own tournament and finished 14th out of 16 teams. Not this year, though.

“We had the bad taste in our mouth from last year,” White said, “We didn't want to repeat history.”

They didn’t.

Thu
05
Oct
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Soccer Cards win Iowa tournament

Many elite boys soccer programs from throughout the Midwest gathered in Burlington, Iowa, last weekend for the “Go For The Goal Classic” tournament.

And what did Middleton find out about itself?

That it has a chance to turn 2017 into an extremely memorable season.

Middleton won the high-level tournament, highlighted by a 5-3 win over Rock Island (Ill.) in the championship game.

“To win a championship against quality opponents is really big in that it gives us a glimpse of what this team is really capable of when they all get on the same page for the whole game,” Middleton coach Ben Kollasch said. “If we can continue to do that, even in the more strenuous conditions of conference games for the next two weeks, we can really aim high in the postseason.”

Tue
03
Oct
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Football Cardinals drill La Follette

There was every reason for excitement.

Middleton’s football team had just defeated Madison La Follette, 24-6, last Thursday. The Cardinals notched their fifth straight win, a victory that puts Middleton in the driver’s seat to finish second in the Big Eight Conference.

But afterwards, few of the powers-that-be in Middleton’s camp seemed happy.

Cardinals defensive coordinator Tom Cabalka stewed by the bench. Middleton head coach Tim Simon was visibly upset.

That’s what happens when the bar is set as high as it is at MHS.

“We just made too many mental mistakes,” Simon said. “Physically, we played fine. But I think some of our mental mistakes in the first half kept us from having a little bit more of a comfortable lead in the second half. Some of the things that happened shouldn’t be happening in Week 7.”

Tue
03
Oct
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Golfers hope for big postseason

Becky Halverson is an extremely positive person by nature.

Halverson is an optimist, she’s upbeat and typically carries a cheery disposition.

But even Halverson, Middleton’s girls golf coach, was hesitant when it came to forecasting the Cardinals’ current season.

“Going into the year, I thought it was a stretch goal to get to state,” Halverson said. “I thought we’d be decent, but I wasn’t sure how good we could be.”

Try sensational.

Middleton won the Big Eight Conference dual meet championship, posting a perfect 9-0 record. The Cardinals are now 44-0-1 in league dual meets since Halverson took over in 2013.

Middleton won the Big Eight Conference postseason title last month. And the Cardinals rolled to the team title at last week’s WIAA Division 1 Middleton regional.

Tue
26
Sep
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Football Cards keep streak alive

‘The Streak’ is one of the most impressive in Wisconsin.

Middleton’s football team entered the year having reached the postseason 21 consecutive seasons — the longest Division 1 streak in the state. And the Cardinals added to that remarkable run last Friday.

Middleton rolled past host Janesville Parker, 42-0, and wrapped up a 22nd straight playoff berth. Hartland Arrowhead entered the year tied with Middleton with 21 straight playoff seasons, but the Warhawks still need one more win this year to qualify.

“We’re really proud of that as a staff,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “You don’t want to take it for granted. It doesn't happen without a lot of hard work, because it says something when you can go back year after year. It’s definitely a badge of honor we all feel proud of.”

Tue
26
Sep
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Boys XC team jumps to No. 1

Brian Finnel was watching Middleton’s long distance runners during track season last spring. And Finnel had a thought.

“We had so many guys run well in the 3200,” said Finnel, the Cardinals’ boys cross country coach. “I thought this cross country season could be a very special year.”

So Finnel decided to enter the Cardinals in the Roy Griak Invitational, one of the most competitive events anywhere. The 46-team invitational was held last Saturday on the University of Minnesota campus.

“Part of the appeal of going to Griak was seeing more challenging competition,” Finnel said. “But it's always nice to see different competition and learn how to race on a big stage.”

It appears the big stage suits the Cardinals just fine, as they finished sixth overall at the star-studded event.

Wed
20
Sep
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Middleton races past Verona

VERONA – Sometimes it pays to go against the grain.

After gathering a punt off the turf, Kevin Meicher saw his first option up the sideline blocked, so he took it the other way. The result was an impressive 72-yard touchdown return that lifted Middleton’s football team to a 31-10 victory over Verona in a Big Eight Conference game last Friday night.

Meicher, who initially dropped the punt at the Middleton 28, eluded a tackler, then darted to his left and ran upfield breaking an attempted arm tackle by Verona’s Tim Soko at the Verona 20-yard line. Meicher then used blocks from teammates Collin Serra and Colin Liegel to get to the end zone.

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