Sports

Wed
29
May
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Good and bad for tennis Cards

On one hand, Evan Stone was ecstatic. Same goes for Griff Pyle.

The two Middleton tennis standouts have merged to become one of the best doubles tandems in the state. And when that deadly duo took first place at No. 1 doubles during last Thursday’s Middleton Sectional, they earned a trip to this weekend’s WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

“It’s awesome,” said Stone, a junior. “This was our goal from the start of the offseason.”

On the flip side, though, Stone, Pyle and the rest of the Cardinals left Nielsen Tennis Stadium somewhat despondent. That’s because Middleton finished second in its own sectional and failed to qualify for the state team tournament for the first time since 2008.

“We’re really happy to make it,” Pyle said of him and Stone. “But we’re all still pretty disappointed. We thought we could get there as a team.”

Middleton was hurt by two things at sectionals.

First, the Cardinals didn’t play their best. Not even close.

Wed
29
May
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Soccer Cards ready for the push

The road won't be easy.

Then again, it never is when you’re part of arguably the state’s toughest sectional.

But Middleton’s girls soccer team seems ready for a postseason push.

The Cardinals rolled past Madison La Follette, 5-0, last Monday and stretched their unbeaten streak to five games. Middleton finished the regular season 10-4-3 and tied for third place in the Big Eight Conference with a 5-1-2 record.

Middleton, which is seeded fifth in its sectional, now hosts La Crosse Logan Thursday at 7 p.m. in a regional semifinal. The winner of that game advances to a regional final Saturday, where the likely foe will be fourth-seeded Madison West, last year’s state champs.

Wed
29
May
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Softball Cards hope for better days

 

The complete turnaround didn’t happen, as hoped.

Oh, Middleton’s girls softball team made some strides this spring. But Cardinals coach Arin Oppermann and her team know there’s a lot of work to be done to become a Big Eight Conference power again.

“This season we had a lot of ups and downs,” Oppermann said. “We are a very capable team and played very well against some of the better teams in the conferences

“I think that if we play like we did against those teams consistently next year, we're going to come out ahead more often than not.”

Middleton finished the year 9-10 overall and lost a regional semifinal to DeForest, 6-5. The Cardinals were also 9-9 in the Big Eight Conference and finished in fifth place.

The Cardinals did heat up down the stretch and carried a four-game winning streak into the postseason. But the Cardinals lost their playoff opener for a second straight year.

Wed
22
May
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Boys track team wins Big Eight

The Big Eight Conference track and field meet was still 24 hours away. And Middleton coach Isaac Mezera was in the mood for a little visualization.
Mezera gathered his team at the small gym inside Middleton High School and had them picture what lied ahead.

“I shut the lights off and walked them through the meet, including Middleton being announced as conference champions,” Mezera said.

Perhaps seeing is achieving.

Middleton went to the conference tournament and put on a show. The Cardinals scored 148 points to easily outdistance runner-up Madison La Follette (113) and the rest of the field to win the Big Eight title.

It was Middleton’s first conference championship since 2004 and just the second league title in school history.

The event began last Tuesday, but was postponed until Wednesday due to lightning.

Wed
22
May
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Girls track team 2nd at Big 8 meet

The wait was long, painful and annoying.

In the end, though, Middleton’s girls track and field team overcame the excruciating delay.

The Big Eight Conference track and field meet — which was supposed to take place last Tuesday — was delayed halfway through due to lightning. But Middleton never missed a beat.

When the meet resumed Wednesday, the Cardinals made a statement and finished second in the league.

Sun Prairie won the title with 144.50 points, while Middleton was a close second at 134.50. Madison West and Janesville Craig tied for third with 80 points.

“Besides the obvious frustration of waiting to complete the conference meet, we were thrilled with the outcome,” Middleton coach Tara Franklin said. “I was hesitant to say early in the season where we may end up — and was being optimistic when we were aiming for top-three finish at conference.”

Franklin’s optimism came to fruition, though.

Wed
22
May
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Softball Cardinals ousted

The end of the road came sooner than anyone hoped.

Middleton’s girls softball team, which appeared to be getting hot at just the right time, saw its season end Tuesday afternoon.

The Cardinals fell to DeForest, 6-5, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal.

Middleton entered as the 12th seed in the sectional, while DeForest was seeded fifth. And while the Cardinals put a scare into the Norskies, they couldn't seal the deal.

Middleton took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning. But the Norskies scored two in the bottom of the frame and three more in the fourth to surge to a 5-3 lead.

DeForest led, 6-3, in the top of the seventh when Middleton struck for two runs. But the Cardinals couldn’t produce the tying run.

Middleton finished the year 9-10 and 9-9 in the Big Eight Conference.

Wed
22
May
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Soccer Cardinals heating up

The postseason is just around the corner.

And Middleton’s girls soccer team has picked the perfect time to get red hot.

The Cardinals went 3-0-1 in the past week and haven’t lost in their last six outings. Here’s a recap of Middleton’s past week.

• Middleton 5, Madison  La Follette 0 — The Cardinals got goals from five different players and routed the Lancers Monday night.

Brenna Shea struck first in the ninth minute and Middleton’s lead remained 1-0 until the second half. Then the Cardinals exploded.

In a 15-minute span, Shannon McCauley, Megan Sullivan and Macey Kalscheur all scored. Kaitlyn Wolfinger then added a late goal as the Cardinals cruised.

• Middleton 1, DSHA 0 — Shea scored on a gorgeous feed from Leia Peterman and the Cardinals beat the powerful Dashers Saturday afternoon.

Wed
22
May
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Tennis Cardinals win Big 8

Ben Luskin plopped on a chair in the lower level of Nielsen Tennis Stadium last Thursday afternoon.

Middleton’s junior standout grabbed a bag of ice, applied it to his painful right elbow, and took a moment to enjoy the temporary relief.

“The icing numbs it,” Luskin said. “It really helps.”

Luskin needed every last cube on an afternoon where his mental toughness and perseverance were impressive.

Despite painful tendinitis in his elbow, Luskin rallied and reached the finals of the Big Eight Conference tournament at No. 1 singles. And while Luskin lost in the title match to Verona’s Andrew Argall, his path there was inspirational.

Luskin’s performance — and a solid showing from the rest of the Cardinals — helped Middleton win the league title for the fourth time in five years. Middleton finished with 46 points, while Madison West (41) and Verona (36) were second and third, respectively.

Wed
22
May
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Golfers third at regionals

It’s been a year filled with turbulence for Middleton’s boys golf team.

But as the Cardinals’ plane nears its touchdown, perhaps they’ve found a level of serenity.

The Cardinals finished third at the Middleton Regional Tuesday held at Pleasant View. Middleton advanced to the Sparta Sectional, which will be held Tuesday at River Run Golf Course beginning at 9 a.m.

Madison Memorial won the regional with a 312 team score, while Verona (319), Middleton (320) and Stoughton (325) also advanced to sectionals.

The top two teams at the eight-team Sparta Sectional will advance to the state tournament June 3-4.

“Anything can happen in one 18-hole tournament,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “Our goal was to get to the Sparta sectional and play well.

“We know the course and played well at the Sparta Invite earlier this spring. We don't have to win it. We have to be better than six other teams.”

Wed
22
May
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Felton, Cardinals get their groove on

Middleton manager Tom Schmitt has had a stable of pitching arms to choose from this spring.

But settling on a second starter to pair with Brian Lochner hasn’t been easy.

Last Thursday, that search came to a close.

Middleton senior Reese Felton had his second straight sensational performance and led the Cardinals to a 4-1 win over Janesville Craig.

Felton threw a complete game, three-hitter, struck out seven and walked five. In Felton’s previous outing, he threw a no-hitter against Verona in which he struck out nine and walked nine.

So in Felton’s last two stints, he’s worked 14 innings, allowed one earned run and has an 0.50 earned run average. Felton has also given up just three hits and struck out 16 in that time.

“Yep, I think he’s the guy,” Schmitt said of Felton. “We always knew he was capable, but the issue was consistency. But right now he’s really got it going.”

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