Sports

Thu
21
Dec
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Middleton girls edge Parker

Four weeks into the season, Jeff Kind knew a change was necessary.

Middleton’s girls basketball coach said good-bye to the run-and-gun style that has defined the Cardinals for years. Instead, Kind and the Cardinals downshifted a few gears from fifth.

The result? Middleton has begun playing far better basketball.

The Cardinals went to Janesville Parker and upended the Vikings, 57-53, last Friday. Middleton also dropped a 66-62 double overtime decision to Division 2 power Monroe last Tuesday.

The Cardinals are now 3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Eight Conference.

“We had to get the fundamentals down before we crank things back up again,” Kind said. “This gives us our best chance. It does. It gets a little crazy for these youngsters with kids flying all over the place.”

Things got a little crazy for the Cardinals in their win over Parker. The good news for Middleton is it didn't blink.

Thu
21
Dec
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Roden powers Cards past Verona

VERONA — At first glance, Alan Roden might not look the part of a basketball standout.

Middleton’s senior swingman is 6-foot nothing. Roden has the body of a baseball catcher, which just so happens to be the position he’ll play at Creighton University a year from now.

But there’s no question, looks can be deceiving.

Roden is a surprising scorer, a rebounding force and an active defender. And all of those skills were on full display during Middleton’s impressive 71-42 shellacking of Verona last Thursday.

Roden grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds to go along with his seven points. Roden’s defense was also key as the Cardinals cruised to arguably their most impressive win of the young season.

Fri
15
Dec
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Boys basketball team rolls past Craig

Contributions came from up and down the lineup.

Three players scored in double figures. Three more had at least eight points.

And Middleton’s depth and balance eventually took a toll in its 67-53 win over Janesville Craig last Friday.

The Cardinals improved to 2-2 both overall and in the Big Eight Conference.

“No doubt our best game,” Middleton head coach Kevin Bavery said. “We shared the ball extremely well, created some turnovers, and overall did a pretty nice job defending their two prolific scorers.”

Senior forward Brogan Brunker led the Cardinals with 16 points, but he had plenty of help. Senior swingman Alan Roden added 12 points, nine rebounds and three steals, while senior guard Nick Michaels had 11.

Senior guard Joel Ticknor and junior guard Sam Close both scored nine points, while senior guard Chann Bowman added eight. Junior guard Jack Boyle had a game-high six assists, while Close, Michaels and Roden all added three assists.

Thu
14
Dec
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Brunker erupts for 36 in win over West

The records inside Middleton’s boys basketball program are sketchy.

They don’t go back as far as some other sports do. They lack detail and depth.

But it’s safe to say Cardinals’ senior Brogan Brunker had one of the finest nights in school history last Tuesday.

Brunker had 36 points — the most by an MHS player in at least 20 years — and powered Middleton to a 72-60 win over Madison West. Brunker shot 13-of-17 from the field, 5-of-7 from three-point range, grabbed nine rebounds, had three blocks and two steals.

Middleton improved to 1-2 in both the Big Eight Conference and overall.

“He took the ball to the rim on the drive, hit threes, plus rebounded on both ends of the floor,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Brogan's the type of kid who would be happy with no points and a team win, but tonight was his night to flourish on the offensive end.”

Fri
08
Dec
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Wrestlers hoping for big year

Every day before wrestling begins, Middleton coach Kent Weiler and his Cardinals read a few pages from the book titled, “Chop Wood , Carry Water.”

The story is about a boy’s quest to become a samurai warrior, and how the pursuit of becoming great is a process that takes time.

In many ways, that’s how Weiler views his Cardinals this season.

Middleton may have one of its most talented teams in several years. But for the Cardinals to eventually achieve greatness, Weiler knows they must chop wood and carry water every time they hit the mat.

“We’re just trying to do the basic things every day that you must do to eventually be great,” Weiler said. “There are no shortcuts. And if we do what we’re supposed to do and put in the work, we should be pretty good.”

Tue
05
Dec
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Football Cards land 17 on all-Big 8 team

Middleton’s football team enjoyed a terrific season in which it went 8-1 in the Big Eight Conference, finished second in the league and reached the second round of the postseason.

The Cardinals were then justly rewarded as 17 Middleton players received some form of all-conference honors.

Eight Middleton players received first-team all-conference honors. That list included senior defensive linemen Ryan Lewis and Colin Liegel, senior linebackers Shane Bick and Jimmy Frusciante, senior cornerback Cole Ragsdale, senior running backs Dion Huff and James Pabst, and senior offensive linemen Grant Manser.

The Cardinals’ second team selections included senior offensive lineman Corey Parkinson, junior offensive lineman Gavin Adler, senior quarterback Davis Roquet and junior wideout Bryce Carey.

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.

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