Sports

Thu
15
Mar
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Brunker, Roden named all-Big 8

They were Middleton’s dynamic duo this winter.

Both did a little bit of everything — and helped the Cardinals enjoy a solid season.

And senior forwards Brogan Brunker and Alan Roden were recently honored for their terrific years.

Brunker was named first-team all-Big Eight Conference, while Roden was named honorable-mention all-league.

“I'm happy for and proud of both of these young men,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said.

Brunker led the Cardinals in scoring at 18.1 points per game. He also scored in double figures in 20 of the 21 games he played.

Brunker was second on the team in rebounding (4.6), shot 55% from the field, 41% from three-point range, 74% from the free throw line and averaged 2.2 assists per game.

Brunker was joined on the first team by Sun Prairie’s Marlon Ruffin and Jalen Johnson, Madison East’s Keshawn Justice and Madison La Follette’s Donnell Gray.

Thu
15
Mar
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Dunn, Tanin named all-conference

Middleton’s girls basketball team had a pair of players earn all-Big Eight Conference honors.

Senior guard Haley Dunn received third-team all-conference honors. Sophomore forward Sitori Tanin was named honorable-mention all-Big Eight.

Dunn was third on the team in scoring (6.2) and fourth in rebounding (4.1). Dunn led the Cardinals in assists (1.8), was second in steals (1.9) and shot 74.4% from the free throw line.

“Haley was probably our most consistent defender and just played steady and dependable on offense,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “She hit some big shots for us throughout the year and was always ready to compete.”

Tanin led the Cardinals in scoring at 9.0 points per game and tied for the team rebounding lead (5.3). Tanin also led Middleton in blocks (1.2) and steals (2.5).

Sat
10
Mar
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Waunakee ends Middleton's year

WAUNAKEE — Everything seemed to line up perfectly for Middleton’s boys basketball team last Saturday.

There were just 3 ½ minutes left in the Cardinals’ WIAA Division 1 regional final at Waunakee. And seventh-seeded Middleton — in the midst of its finest performance of the season — held a 58-54 lead and appeared poised to stun the second-seeded Warriors and the rest of the basketball world.

Then it all came crashing down.

As they say, reality bites.

Waunakee went on a game-changing 8-0 run and never trailed again. The Warriors — who made a remarkable 22-of-22 free throws in the contest — knocked down eight in the final 54.7 seconds and rallied for a thrilling 68-63 win.

“We had them right where we wanted,” said Middleton standout senior forward Brogan Brunker. “You win some and you lose some. But we fought, left it all out there. Nobody was expecting us to come in and beat them except probably us.”

Sat
10
Mar
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At last, baseball combines two seasons

For more than 50 years now, the WIAA would crown state baseball champions every spring.

Roughly six weeks later, the WIAA would hold a second state tournament and identify a summer champion.

This odd practice began in 1965, when the WIAA felt it was necessary to have both spring and summer baseball seasons. For the last several years, Wisconsin was the only state in the union to have some of its teams play in the spring and the rest play in the summer.

Thankfully, this antiquated, outdated set-up will soon come to an end.

The WIAA Board of Control unanimously voted to end summer baseball last week. Its final season and last state tournament will be this summer, then a move to only spring ball begins in 2019.

“It’s time,” said Middleton coach Tom Schmitt said, who has led the Cardinals to seven state tournaments and the 2003 spring state title in 15 seasons. “It’s definitely overdue.

Sat
10
Mar
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Sabol wins state title

Karina Sabol has been one of the state’s newest and brightest gymnastics stars this winter.

Sabol, a lifetime club gymnast, joined the program at Middleton High School for the first time. And Sabol, a junior, had a year to remember.

Last Saturday, Sabol capped her first season with the Cardinals in style.

At the WIAA Division 1 individual state meet held at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse, Sabol tied for the state championship on the vault with a score of 9.60. Sabol also finished third on the floor (9.383) and 12th on the balance beam (9.033).

This marked the second consecutive year that Middleton had an individual state champion. Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn won the uneven bars last season.

Sat
03
Mar
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'No regrets' as Middleton tops Oconomowoc

Kevin Bavery had a simple message for his Middleton boys basketball team Friday night.

“I told them at this time of the year, when it’s over it’s over,” Bavery said. “Make sure there are no regrets.”

They didn’t.

Middleton used a 15-0 run late in the first half and cruised to a 72-41 win over visiting Oconomowoc in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. The seventh-seeded Cardinals improved to 13-10 and advanced to a regional final at second-seeded Waunakee Saturday at 7 p.m., while the Raccoons ended their year 11-12.

Senior forward Alan Roden led a balanced Middleton attack with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and added seven rebounds, two steals and three assists. Senior forward Brogan Brunker added 12 points, senior guard Nick Michaels made three three-pointers and had 11 points and senior post Brian Vergenz didn’t miss a field goal or a free throw and had eight points.

Wed
28
Feb
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Meicher settles for 4th at state

MADISON — This was not how Kevin Meicher envisioned his weekend going.

But sometimes, reality gets in the way of fantasy.

Now, Meicher’s challenge will be coming back better than ever.

Meicher, a junior wrestler at Middleton, was chasing his second WIAA Division 1 state title in three years at the Kohl Center last weekend.

But Meicher lost in the semifinals at 152 pounds Friday night and eventually settled for fourth place.

Afterwards, Meicher — who entered the tournament 43-0 and ranked first in his weight class — was extremely disappointed, but already motivated for the 2019 season.

“I’ll talk it over with the coaches and learn from my mistakes,” Meicher said after the tournament. “Next year I’ll be coming back more motivated as ever.”

Middleton senior Dion Huff also qualified at 195 pounds. But Huff dropped his first round match to Kettle Moraine’s Josh Nowak, 5-2.

Wed
28
Feb
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MHS gymnasts set for state

They are peaking at the perfect time.

And if the rest of the state hasn’t noticed, they’ll most likely see for themselves this weekend.

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team gave a memorable performance and won the Madison Memorial Sectional last Saturday. The Cardinals posted a season-high score of 140.7250 and edged runner-up Sun Prairie (139.9250) for the title.

Middleton also earned seven of the 25 possible placements for individual state.

The top two teams and top five individuals in each event at sectionals advanced to the state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln Fieldhouse.

The state team competition begins Friday at 2 p.m., while the individual state competition starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

“This group has been so much fun to be around,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “They’re making it a special season.”

Middleton’s performance at sectionals was awfully special.

Wed
28
Feb
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Sabol giving MHS gymnasts a lift

Karina Sabol leapt onto the balance beam, and all eyes immediately gravitated towards Middleton’s dynamic junior gymnast.

Sure, it was a random practice on a random Thursday evening. And many of Sabol’s teammates had undoubtedly seen this routine before.

But every time Sabol does something in a gym, it’s a “Must See” event.

On this night, as the music was cranked and eyeballs turned to Sabol, she made sure not to disappoint. Sabol put on a show, and when she finished, the Cardinals voiced their approval with a loud cheer.

This has been the norm wherever Sabol has gone this year.

Sabol, strictly a club gymnast her entire life, joined Middleton’s program for the first time this winter. And what an addition she’s been.

Wed
28
Feb
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Girls basketball team drops playoff opener

When a season typically ends, Middleton girls basketball coach Jeff Kind doesn’t look at the final game tape for weeks. Sometimes, Kind never watches the film all.

This year, Kind put the tape in just hours after Middleton’s 56-52 loss to Janesville Parker in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal last Friday.

He simply couldn’t wait.

“I felt like we were the better team,” Kind said. “And the tape kind of confirmed that. The only thing is we couldn’t make shots.”

Ah yes. Making shots.

Middleton, the No. 4 seed in the sectional, did the overwhelming majority of things right against the 13th-seeded Vikings. But the Cardinals’ year came to an end for one overriding reason: they simply didn’t shoot well enough.

Middleton shot just 19-of-60 from the field (31.7%), and with the game on the line, missed its final 13 shots from the floor. That allowed Parker to rally in the second half and pull out a shocking win.

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