Sports

Wed
17
Apr
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Middleton races past Sun Prairie

Manager Tom Schmitt takes a lot of pride in his Middleton baseball team executing the basic fundamentals.

So Schmitt couldn’t have been more pleased with the results of the Cardinals’ long-awaited season-opener on Tuesday afternoon.

Senior right-hander Brian Lochner scattered five hits as Middleton executed its “small ball” strategy on offense to perfection. That plan of attack helped Middleton topple Sun Prairie, the defending WIAA Division 1 state champs, in a Big Eight Conference prep baseball game.

Junior right fielder Matt Ash and senior center fielder Kenji Passini executed sacrifice bunts on back-to-back at-bats in the fourth inning to help Middleton rally from an early deficit.

“We had the right situation with the right kids up,” Schmitt said. “It was the right time and in that situation it’s easier to get a run.”

Mon
15
Apr
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Health Care Reform Will Have Sweeping Impact On Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District

The way the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District currently provides health insurance to its employees will grow increasingly unsustainable as key provisions of the Affordable Care Act fall into place in the coming years.

According to a report by Milliman, Inc., an independent actuarial and consulting firm, the district’s annual health care costs are projected to be $1.8 million higher by the year 2018 than they would have been in the absence of federal health care reform. (Their estimates show costs would be more than $3.2 million higher using a more grim set of fiscal assumptions.)

The figures, which were presented to the Middleton-Cross Plains Area Board of Education Monday night, reflect total plan costs, including what employers and employees pay.

The prospect of higher prices should prompt district leadership to consider major changes to employee contribution levels, insurance eligibility, plan designs and wellness incentives, advised Milliman.

Thu
11
Apr
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Staples' amazing journey takes her to Platteville

When her remarkable journey finally ends, Natalie Staples wants to become a motivational speaker. Staples would like to write a book, as well.

But there will be time for all of that down the road. For now, Staples added the latest chapter on her incredible voyage.

Staples, a senior girls basketball player at Middleton High School, committed to play at UW-Platteville beginning next season.

Staples, who nearly lost her arm and life after an ATV accident in Aug. 2010, didn’t appear to have much of a basketball future before this season. But Staples had a breakout senior year, caught the eyes of the Platteville staff, and has become a poster child for courage, strength and perseverance.

“After my injury I had a feeling that my basketball career was going to be cut shorter than I had hoped for,” Staples said. “But after making a lot of positives strides in my game this past season I thought I would have a chance. I got just that.”

Rightfully so.

Thu
11
Apr
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Girls track team struggles

Middleton’s girls track and field team finished 29th overall at last Saturday’s WTFA State Indoor Championships held at UW-Whitewater.

Milwaukee King won the event with 65 points, while Milwaukee Riverside (35), Neenah (34), Wisconsin Lutheran (29) and East Troy (22) rounded out the top five.

Middleton finished with four points.

“The weather this year has put a crimp in things, as it has for everyone else as well,” Middleton coach Tara Franklin said. “Middleton has no indoor practice facility that is specific for track.

“We are fortunate to have the use of the gyms, but not able to do much more than conditioning, some basics of relays, etc. Field events have had little or no practice before they competed. This is a definite disadvantage for us — especially this year.” 

Middleton also competed without standouts Hanna Docter and Delaney Foster, who are both out with injuries.

Thu
11
Apr
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Slow going for boys track team

Middleton’s boys track and field team finished 42nd overall at last Saturday’s WTFA State Indoor Championships held at UW-Whitewater.

Green Bay Preble won the event with 63 points, while Mequon Homestead (29), Madison Memorial (26), Kettle Moraine (25) and Arrowhead (22) rounded out the top five.

Middleton finished with two points.

“In the end, it wasn't the day we were hoping for to end our indoor season,” Middleton coach Isaac Mezera said. “The bright side is there's a lot of track left and we're hungry for the outdoor season to start.”

Middleton’s points came from Steven Harris, who was seventh in the 800 meter run (1:59.84). Monroe’s Ethan Moehn won the race in 1:56.81.

“Steven Harris was in one wild 800,” Mezera said. “He had a tough time establishing position and ended up running more than 800 meters in all of his attempts to get around and through the pack.  

Wed
10
Apr
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Spring sports stuck in the mud

 

First the snow came — and refused to leave.

When there was finally a break on that front, the rains followed.

As far as springs go, this one has been a nightmare for coaches, athletes and the schedule makers.

And with most sports already a few games behind, the next six weeks will be a scramble. That’s because by mid- to late-May, all sports are into their postseasons.

“The problem is there’s an end date that we have to be done with everything with by,” Middleton athletic director Bob Joers said. “We’re trying to be creative … and we might have to eliminate some non-conference stuff. But it’s been a great challenge.”

Indeed it has.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the girls softball team had already postponed its first five games. The boys baseball team had postponed its first four contests.

Wed
03
Apr
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MHS golfers hope to reload

 

Tom Cabalka was flying across the Midwest Sunday afternoon.

And as Middleton’s boys golf coach saw snow from his airplane window, he had one thought.

“What is that stuff?” said Cabalka, who had spent the previous three months in Arizona. “I knew what I was coming back to, but I was also hoping I didn’t see that down there.”

Fat chance.

Golfers everywhere are getting a painfully late start this spring. And for Middleton, that’s doubly bothersome.

Not only are the Cardinals extremely anxious to get rolling. Middleton also has 60% of its lineup to replace and was hoping for a proper amount of time to figure things out.

The Cardinals’ first match of the year is scheduled for Monday. But the odds of that happening are similar to cashing in that Powerball ticket you’re holding.

“It’s not great timing,” Cabalka said of the rotten spring. “We’ve got more questions than we ever had.”

Wed
03
Apr
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Soccer Cards thinking big

 

The No. 1 goal is pretty simple.

And if it happens, the rest will likely take care of themselves.

“Score, score and score some more,” Middleton’s girls soccer coach Mary Duffy said.

The Cardinals begin their season April 11 at Beloit Memorial. And Middleton’s top focus will be developing a more consistent offense than it had a year ago.

Middleton went 11-9-4 last season and reached the sectional finals before falling to Madison West. Just think what those Cardinals could have done with a dependable offense.

Middleton averaged 2.0 goals per game. But the Cardinals were shutout on eight occasions and had one goal in eight more games.

So in 16 of the Cardinals’ 24 games (66.7%) they had one goal or fewer.

Middleton, which finished second to Verona in the Big Eight Conference last year, took some hits in graduation. But the Cardinals return a solid nucleus and should contend again for the league’s top spot.

Wed
03
Apr
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Tennis Cardinals aiming high

 

There are still some question marks.

A few balls in the air (pardon the pun).

But when things settle, this much is certain: Middleton should have one of the state’s top boys tennis teams again.

The Cardinals are scheduled to open the season Tuesday at Beloit Memorial. And Middleton will have its third coach in as many years, as Deke Bradley takes over the program.

But despite the repeated turnover, the Cardinals should again be a force.

“I've yet to discuss our teams goals with the kids,” said Bradley, who also coaches Middleton’s girls team. “But if it were only up to me, I would say win our conference and qualify for team state would definitely be goals on the list.”

Those certainly seem realistic.

Middleton has won its sectional and reached the state tournament four straight years and five of the last six. The Cardinals have also won the Big Eight Conference four consecutive seasons and seven of the last eight.

Thu
28
Mar
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Baseball Cardinals have high hopes

 

Tom Schmitt looks at the forecast. It’s bleak, as it’s been all spring.

Schmitt sees snow all around his baseball diamond.

And Middleton’s baseball manager is sure of one thing.

“We’re not going to start on time this year,” Schmitt said of the Cardinals’ scheduled opener with Beloit Memorial on April 2.

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that when Middleton finally gets started, the Cardinals should be a formidable outfit again.

Middleton went 20-8 last year and finished in third place in the Big Eight Conference. Those Cardinals also reached the WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinals, where they lost to Hartford.

Middleton has a solid nucleus back from that group and should be in the hunt for conference and postseason success again.

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