Sports

Thu
30
May
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Boys track team 'fills the bus'

VERONA — Fill the bus.

That was message Middleton boys track and field coach Joe Line delivered to his Cardinals all season long.

Line’s Cardinals then went and did just what their coach had asked.

Middleton won the WIAA Division 1 Verona Sectional with 86 points last Thursday, edging host Verona. More importantly, though, the Cardinals advanced six individuals and two relay teams to the state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium in La Crosse.

“Our motto this year was try to fill the bus,” Line said. “Fill the bus to state with as many people as we can. We were trying to get as many guys to state as we could.”

The Cardinals did an awfully good job of that.

Thu
30
May
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Girls track team excited for state

VERONA — Cory Christnovich knows first-hand just how stressful sectionals can be.

Christnovich — a standout track and field athlete himself at Neenah High School and UW-Stevens Point — understands the make or break, no-tomorrow nature of the meet.

“It’s a tough day. Without a doubt, it’s more stressful than state itself,” said Christnovich, Middleton’s girls’ head coach. “And as a head coach, it’s so hard because it’s so emotional one way or another for an event. At the end of this meet, I’m always exhausted.”

Christnovich’s Cardinals felt the same way when the WIAA Division 1 Verona Sectional ended last Thursday. For the most part, though, Middleton’s happiness level nearly matched its fatigue.

The Cardinals finished fifth as a team at sectionals with 64 points. Madison Memorial was the sectional champion with 111.3 points.

Thu
30
May
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Tennis Cardinas earn trip to team state

All season long, their doubles teams have been exemplary.

So, it was no surprise that Middleton’s trio of dynamic duos once again shined when the lights were the brightest.

The Cardinals won the WIAA Division 1 Madison Memorial Sectional on May 22 in large part due to stellar play from their doubles teams. Middleton won all three doubles flights, and earned a championship at No. 4 singles, to win the sectional title.

Middleton finished with 42 points and outdistanced runner-up Verona (32) for the sectional crown.

The Cardinals also qualified for the state team tournament for the first time since 2016. Middleton (19-2) received the No. 5 seed at the eight-team tournament and will open against fourth-seeded Arrowhead (22-6) in a quarterfinal match on June 7 at 5:30 p.m. at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

The semifinals and finals are June 8.

Wed
29
May
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Dettman, Bodak are double trouble for foes

Before they ever knew who their head coach would be, before they ever knew they’d be partners, Sam Dettman and Brandon Bodak were hopeful.

Middleton’s two senior tennis standouts were optimistic they’d be paired together in 2019. So, as soon as the 2018 campaign ended, Dettman and Bodak began playing together whenever possible.

“Brandon and I both hoped we’d be playing together this season,” Dettman said. “We practiced together a lot in the offseason and did a couple tournaments to be ready to start this season strong.”

Their plan worked to perfection.

Middleton first-year coach Tony Mirasola immediately discovered that Dettman and Bodak were a natural fit. And the duo — who have played No. 1 doubles all season — took it from there.

Tue
28
May
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Middleton golfers headed back to state

They’ve waited for this moment for nearly a year.

Now, Middleton’s boys golf team is giddy about what’s on deck.

The Cardinals won the WIAA Division 1 Wisconsin Rapids Sectional held at The Ridges Tuesday. Middleton won the sectional with a 306 team score, while Holmen also earned a trip to state with a 311. Waunakee was third at 320, followed by Mount Horeb (321), Reedsburg (329), Tomah (332), Verona (333) and Onalaska (358).

The Cardinals qualified for the state tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge. A year ago, Middleton finished in a tie for sixth at state, a showing that left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.

“They expect more this year,” said Cardinals head coach Tom Cabalka. “They were young last year and now they have a lot more confidence.

“I think looking at it, we should be really happy with how we’re headed to state. If we play the way we’re capable of playing, we should be right there.”

Thu
23
May
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Tennis Cardinals win Big Eight title

Talk about stepping up.

Faced with a winner-take-all doubles match, Middleton’s Alton Yan and Gene Kim came through when it mattered most.

The Cardinals’ No. 2 doubles team prevailed 6-1, 6-3 over Sun Prairie’s Erik Spence and Kyle Helmenstine and clinched the team title for Middleton at last Thursday’s Big Eight Conference boys’ tennis tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. Middleton finished with 44 points while Sun Prairie had 41.

“It was really close. It was up in the air,” Middleton coach Tony Mirasola said. “Our (No.) 4 singles ends up taking third so that gave us one more point and it really came down to this last doubles match with Sun Prairie there because it was either we got eight and they got six or we got six and they got eight so that flipped it for us. That (No.) 2 doubles match was the clincher for us.”

The victory completed a sweep of all three doubles titles for Middleton.

Thu
23
May
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MHS golfers advance through regionals

Survive and advance.

Really, that’s all that matters at this time of the year. Just ask Middleton’s boys golf team.

The Cardinals shot a 319 at the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Regional held at Cherokee Country Club on Tuesday — a number that’s much higher than Middleton’s season average.

Still, that was good enough to tie for the team title with Verona. The Wildcats later captured first place by defeating the Cardinals on the first playoff hole.

Badger Conference champion Waunakee was third at 326 and Mount Horeb earned the final spot at sectionals with a 336.

The top four teams at regionals advanced to the Wisconsin Rapids Sectional, which will be held May 28 at The Ridges Golf Course beginning at 9 a.m.

Madison Memorial was fifth at 338, while Baraboo (349), Madison West (361) and Sauk Prairie (383) rounded out the eight-team regional.

Thu
23
May
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Golfers win Big 8 title

Middleton’s terrific boys golf team understands history.

The current Cardinals grew up watching players like Mitch Johnson, Eric Hagstrom, Emmet Herb, Joey Levin and Brady Thomas lead Middleton to great heights. Now, this group is trying to do the same.

The Cardinals took one more step towards greatness last Thursday, winning the Big Eight Conference Tournament held at the Evansville Golf Club. Middleton shot a 307 to easily outdistance runner-up Verona (323) and third place Sun Prairie (325).

Middleton, which also went 9-0 in the conference dual meet season, wrapped up an undefeated run through the league by rolling to the conference crown.

“It means everything for the team to win down in Evansville,” said Middleton sophomore standout Jacob Beckman. “We went there with one goal — to win conference — and we accomplished that goal.”

Cardinals coach Tom Cabalka was just as thrilled with Middleton’s performance.

Thu
23
May
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Soccer Cards earn No. 2 seed

The postseason seeding meeting went just as Middleton girls’ soccer coach Mary Duffy had hoped.

Now, Duffy and her Cardinals hope things go just as swimmingly over the next few weeks.

Middleton received the No. 2 seed in its sectional and begins the playoffs on May 28 when they host 15th-seeded Beloit Memorial/Turner in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. If the Cardinals win there, they would host either seventh-seeded Janesville Craig or 10th-seeded Madison West in a regional final on June 1.

The sectional semifinals are June 6 and the sectional finals are June 8.

Waunakee received the No. 1 seed in the sectional, followed by Middleton, Sun Prairie, Mukwonago, Kettle Moraine, Oconomowoc, Janesville Craig, Watertown, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Verona, Madison East, Badger, Madison La Follette, Beloit and Janesville Parker.

Thu
23
May
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Girls softball team rolls in playoff opener

Middleton senior Ashley Bindl had herself a day at the plate.

In fact, the entire Middleton softball team had themselves quite an afternoon in their WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game on Tuesday.

Bindl hit a grand slam and had five RBI, Ellie Buza pitched a complete game, and sixth-seeded Middleton breezed past 14th-seeded Monona Grove, 14-3, at Firefighters Memorial Park in Middleton. The game was stopped after five innings due to the mercy rule.

Middleton improved to 13-11 on the season and will travel to Onalaska Thursday at 5 p.m. for a regional final. Monona Grove finished the year 4-13.

“We knew we could hit Monona, but you still have to attack good pitches, and we did that from the start,” said Middleton manager Perry Hibner. “We have not hit the ball well the last couple of weeks, so it was really nice for us to hit the ball well tonight.”

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