Sports

Thu
03
Oct
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Golfers win Big Eight title

The boxes keep getting checked.

And the way Middleton’s girls golf team is headed, it won’t be long until they have all of them marked.

Middleton won the Big Eight Conference tournament last Thursday at Evansville Golf Course.

The Cardinals shot a 336, well ahead of runner-up Madison Memorial (380).

Kate Meier won medalist honors with a 79, while Ellie Frisch was second with an 83. Milanne Dahmen was fourth with an 85, while Amanda Beckman was seventh with an 89.

“Winning the Big 8 was one of our goals at the beginning of the year, placing a check mark by that box is always exciting for the program,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “With Glenna (Sanderson) out of the line-up, we were able to play both Amanda and Milanne in the top five, providing valuable experience for both. All five girls finished in the top 10, which is a great individual achievement for each of them.”

Thu
03
Oct
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Swimmers perfect against Parker

Lauren Cabalka did her best to make last week a fun one for Middleton’s girls swimming team.

Cabalka, the Cardinals’ head coach, knows her team has had some intense weeks this year — and has several more coming.

So on a week where the schedule was lighter, Cabalka let her team set the lineup against Janesville Parker last Friday.

“This was a fun meet for us,” Cabalka said. “It was Homecoming, teacher appreciation night and a chance for the girls to swim a lineup that they put together. 

“We started the season with some intense back-to-back-to-back weeks and are gearing up for our hardest block of training next week, so it’s a great time in the season to have some fun.”

Middleton did just that, rolling past the visiting Vikings, 140-30. The most points a team can score in a dual meet is 140, and the Cardinals did just that.

Thu
26
Sep
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Ben White, Middleton's beloved boys volleyball coach, diagnosed with lymphoma

MILWAUKEE — Parker Van Buren was mad.

Sure, Middleton’s sensational senior outside hitter was upset the Cardinals fell to mighty Milwaukee Marquette in a five-set thriller last Thursday. The host Hilltoppers held off the scrappy Cardinals, 25-17, 25-16, 25-27, 21-25, 15-7 in matchup of top-5 powers.

But what had Van Buren even more angry is that he and his teammates wanted to produce a win for head coach Ben White.

White was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and broke the news to his team three days before the Marquette match. White wasn’t at Marquette High School last week — and will scale back his coaching duties for the time being — so the Cardinals wanted to bring a win home for their popular head coach.

“I took the news really hard,” Van Buren said. “So, I’m really mad we didn't get a win for Coach. But we’re going to keep playing for him. We’ll be playing for him all year long.”

Thu
26
Sep
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MHS girls golfers ready for title push

They’re known as much for their quirky nicknames, pre-round rituals and cuddly animal headcovers as they are for their smooth golf swings and head-turning scores.

They’re 9-0 in dual meets this season, but that’s old news because they’re 36-0 the past four seasons in that category.

And they’re poised to win a WIAA Division 1 state girls golf championship after falling just short a season ago.

Meet Middleton’s girls golf team, the top-ranked team in the state.

Individually, the Cardinals, led by seniors Kate Meier and Makenzie Hodson, are all capable of shooting in the 30s for nine holes and likely the 70s for 18 at any given time. Collectively, they’re capable of hitting the low 300s, having already posted 303 at one event this season.

Thu
26
Sep
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Football Cardinals hammer Beloit

A game like this was necessary.

Middleton’s football team, which had lost two of its previous three games — including a setback to Madison Memorial seven days earlier — needed a dose of confidence. The Cardinals needed a convincing win.

Bring on Beloit Memorial.

The Cardinals traveled to Beloit last Friday and drilled the host Purple Knights, 46-8. Middleton led 21-0 after the first quarter, 30-0 by halftime and 46-0 through three quarters.

The Cardinals improved to 3-2 in both the Big Eight Conference and overall, while the Purple Knights fell to 1-4, 1-4.

“We definitely did,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said when asked if his team needed a game like that. “Guys were frustrated and needed to get back on the field. It was nice to get after it, and in the end, get pretty much everyone on the field.

Thu
26
Sep
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Girls spikers getting better all the time

Improvement.

That’s been the key word this season for Middleton’s girls volleyball team.

The young and inexperienced Cardinals continued to trend upwards last week, winning a pair of Big Eight Conference matches, then reaching the quarterfinals of the 17-team Middleton Invitational.

“Overall it was a great week,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “We have seen lots of improvement in the team.”

That was certainly evident at the Middleton Invite, where the Cardinals went 3-1 in pool play, then lost in the quarterfinals to Germantown — the No. 5 ranked team in Division 1.

Middleton opened pool play with a 25-14, 25-17 win over Oregon. Jordan LaScala had four kills, Erica Collin had 3.5 blocks and Jada Cerniglia had two aces and six digs. 

The Cardinals then defeated Mount Horeb, 25-22, 25-19.

Fri
20
Sep
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Boys spikers win 'Tosa East Invite

Middleton boys volleyball coach Ben White has seen a lot of volleyball.

That’s what two decades of coaching — and more than 400 wins — will get you.

Last Saturday, though, White experienced a level of dominance he’s rarely seen from one of his own players.

Middleton senior outside hitter Parker Van Buren put on the show of all shows and led the Cardinals to the championship at the Wauwatosa East Invite. In Middleton’s 29-27, 25-23 win over Waukesha West in the title match, Van Buren had a whopping 25 kills, three blocks and one ace.

Van Buren’s heroics helped Middleton emerge from a star-studded field and win the tournament for a third straight year.

“Only once before have I seen a performance like that and that was with James Caldwell about five years ago,” White said. “The thing with this performance by Parker though was the efficiency.

Fri
20
Sep
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Boys XC team wins Arrowhead Invite

The Arrowhead Invite traditionally features many of the state’s top cross country teams.

This year was no different, as six of the state’s top-13 teams were in attendance.

So it bodes extremely well for Middleton that it cruised to the championship of the star-studded event last Thursday.

The Cardinals finished with 50 points, well ahead of runner-up Arrowhead (85). Oconomowoc (129), Brookfield East (142) and Germantown (146) rounded out the top-five at the 16-team invite.

“I was pleased with the effort the boys gave,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “We all were excited to win such a big invite, especially with so many ranked teams there.

“Out of the four years we have gone to this invite, I think this was our lowest score and perhaps against the best depth this meet has offered. I’m excited for their next race.”

Senior Roman Ystenes led Middleton with a sixth place finish, completing the 5,000-meter course in 16 minutes, 10 seconds.

Fri
20
Sep
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Pansegrau sets new school record

In the long and storied history of Middleton’s girls cross country program, no one had ever broken the 18-minute barrier in a 5,000-meter race.

That all changed, though, last Thursday.

Cardinals sophomore standout Lauren Pansegrau set a new school record with a time of 17:57 and won the Hartland Arrowhead Invite. Pansegrau’s big day helped Middleton finish second at the 20-team invite.

“Lauren simply took charge from the start and never looked back,” said Middleton coach Brian Finnel, who is filling in while Alexa Richardson is on maternity leave.

Samantha Valentine set the school record of 18:03 back in 2015. Pansegrau topped that and rolled over one of the top fields she’ll face all season.

Pansegrau won by 1 minute, 8 seconds over runner-up Bridget Flannery of Whitefish Bay.

“She won by well over a minute, a rarity given the size of this meet,” Finnel said.

Pansegrau wasn’t the only one to have a big day.

Fri
20
Sep
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Football Cardinals fall to Memorial

Middleton senior captain Sam Engler sensed the importance of the moment and put his leadership skills on full display Friday night.

With 6 minutes, 57 seconds remaining in his team’s Big Eight Conference football game against Madison Memorial, Engler and the Cardinals offense took the field, trailing 14-11, and eyeing a drive that could have completed a comeback that just earlier seemed as unlikely as the Friday the 13th Full Harvest Moon looming over Mansfield Stadium.  

Engler, a 6-foot-3 tight end, entered the huddle, tapping his teammates on their helmets, offering encouragement and doing everything in his power to unite them.

“Just trying to keep those guys heads’ up,” Engler said. “They all knew what they could do — drive down the field. It was just frustrating when it all fell apart.”

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