Sports

Thu
17
Jan
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Middleton's Ott picks Northern Illinois

Derek Ott has been through it all at Middleton High School.

Two WIAA Division 1 boys state soccer tournaments. Countless games against top flight competition and high-end players.

It all has Ott ready for college soccer — something he’ll experience at Northern Illinois.

Ott, one of the finest players in Middleton history, committed to NIU last week.

“Many experiences at MHS will prepare me for NIU,” Ott said. “Playing at MHS has allowed me to experience what it feels like to play with a lot of pressure and how to succeed and deal with the pressure.

“I got to play very good teams and players, which will prepare me for the college game. All the great teammates that I’ve had also have taught me a lot of things.”

Ott, a senior midfielder, was a two-time all-state performer for the Cardinals.

Wed
16
Jan
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Hockey Cards are rolling

 

A Big Eight Conference championship might be a longshot.

But the way Middleton’s hockey team is playing right now, everything else remains a distinct possibility.

The Cardinals put on a clinic last week, drilling Sun Prairie, 7-1, last Tuesday and following that with an 8-0 rout of Madison Memorial on Friday.

Middleton has now won four straight games and improved to 10-3 overall. The Cardinals are in second place in the conference at 7-2, but remain two games behind league-leading Verona (7-0) in the loss column.

“Great to see us play with some moxie in the offensive zone,” Middleton co-coach Steve Liberty said. “The forwards really were in attack mode on the forecheck and in front of the net. A physical presence in front of the net is necessary for us to have success.”

Success in Sun Prairie is never easy. Sun Prairie is always one of the area’s top home teams, and early on, it appeared this would be much of the same.

Wed
16
Jan
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Middleton boys top Beloit, Craig

It would have been easy for a letdown.

Less than 48 hours after Middleton’s boys basketball team lost a heartbreaker to Madison Memorial, the Cardinals welcomed Beloit Memorial to town last Saturday afternoon.

“The Beloit coach (Jay Bryant) told me after the game he thought we were flat during warm-ups and he thought they could get us,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “He knew it would be easy to be a little emotionally drained after our Madison Memorial game.”

Turns out the Cardinals were just fine.

Junior guard Derek Rongstad scored 22 points and junior guard Luke Schafer added 10 as Middleton bested Beloit, 63-52. Purple Knights junior forward Andre Neal also scored 22 points.

The Cardinals improved to 7-7 overall and 6-5 in the Big Eight Conference. Beloit Memorial fell to 4-10, 3-7.

Wed
16
Jan
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La Follette tops MHS girls

There’s a general belief that two months into a basketball season, you simply are who you are.

Middleton’s girls basketball coach Jeff Kind disagrees.

“I don’t think that’s always true,” Kind said. “There’s still time to get things fixed.”

Kind and his Cardinals certainly hope so.

Middleton had another frustrating outing last Friday, falling to visiting Madison La Follette, 51-46.

The Cardinals dropped to 6-5 overall, 4-3 in the Big Eight Conference and now sit three games behind league-leading Janesville Parker (10-1, 8-0) in the loss column. Middleton slipped to fifth place overall in the conference, and its run of six straight league titles is almost certainly over.

“We can’t worry about that right now,” Kind said. “We just have to worry about getting better and make sure we’re playing our best basketball at the end of the year.”

Two consistent problems reared their ugly head against the Lancers (8-3, 7-1).

Wed
16
Jan
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Depth powers Middleton gymnasts

 

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team didn’t field a full team at last Saturday’s Madison East Invitational.

But the Cardinals still had enough talent and depth to place second overall.

Verona/Madison Edgewood won the event with a 132.55 team score and Middleton was second at 131.675.

Cardinals standout Aryn Skibba only competed on the bars, yet Middleton was nearly able to win the title.

“I think it really speaks to the depth on our team when we can come in second out of eight teams in our conference and sectional without our highest individual scorer on three events,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “I'm not sure many teams in the area could do that. It shows how hard each one of the girls on the team works on a daily basis, and how strong of a team we are.”

Wed
16
Jan
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MHS swimmers second at own invite

Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team took second place at the 11-team Middleton Invitational last Saturday.

Madison Memorial won the title with 448 points, while Middleton was second at 384. Verona/Mount Horeb (362), Madison West (356) and McFarland (316) rounded out the top five.
“A lot of great swims for all the guys, a lot of great times from our relays overall,” Middleton coach Luke Lengfeld said. “Our depth really helped us with our second place victory.” 

Middleton’s quartet of Zack Parkin, Jack McGovern, Nick Lund and Jackson Uselman won the 800 yard freestyle. The Cardinals’ foursome of Lars Haskins, McGovern, Lex Peterson and Uselman was also first in the 500 yard free relay.

Middleton’s quartet of Cooper Green, Matthew Kim, Jacob Aegerter and Haskins was third in the 200 yard medley. The Cardinals’ foursome of Aegerter, Peterson, James Mai and Nick Lund was also third in the 300 yard fly.

Fri
11
Jan
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Memorial stuns Middleton

The Streak was over. Finally. Or so it seemed.

Middleton’s student body stormed the floor at Madison Memorial. The Cardinals’ boys basketball team celebrated. The coaching staff was giddy.

Then, in a flash, it all went poof.

Middleton led Madison Memorial, 60-59, as the clock expired Thursday night. But referees ruled that Spartans coach Steve Collins called timeout with 2 seconds left.

Memorial’s Jester Weah inbounded from three-quarters court and hit Shareef Smith racing down the right sideline. Smith took one dribble, pulled up from 22-feet and drained a three-pointer as the horn sounded.

Madison Memorial 62, Middleton 60.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Cardinals junior guard Derek Rongstad, who led all scorers with 18 points. “We thought it was done. I still can’t believe it.”

Wed
09
Jan
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Girls basketball team looks to heat up

There’s a lot of time before the Big Eight Conference girls basketball race will be decided.

But Middleton knows it’s probably out of mulligans. If the Cardinals hope to win a seventh straight league title, it’s time to get rolling.

“We definitely need to get on a roll,” senior guard Natalie Staples said. “We need to keep working hard and get a little more consistent.”

The Cardinals took a big step in that direction last Thursday.

Middleton used a 13-0 run early, never trailed again, and toppled visiting Sun Prairie, 48-39.

Middleton improved to 6-4 overall and is tied for third place in the Big Eight at 4-2. Sun Prairie is 5-4 overall and 4-3 in the conference.

Janesville Parker (9-1, 7-0) continues to lead the league.

Wed
09
Jan
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La Follette tops Middleton

A little time off to work on his shot might have been just what Derek Rongstad needed.

The 6-foot-5 junior point guard made a triumphant return to the Middleton lineup last Friday night with a game-high 26 points. Unfortunately, Rongstad’s performance wasn’t enough as the Middleton boys basketball team dropped a hard-fought, 73-69, Big Eight Conference decision to Madison La Follette.

Rongstad was originally expected to be out at least four to six weeks after breaking a bone in his left hand in a game against Verona on Dec. 13. However, doctors told Rongstad there was little risk of re-injuring the hand if he returned early. Rongstad responded by making 7 of his 12 three-point attempts against the Lancers.

Since Rongstad injured his left hand, and not his shooting hand, he was still able to practice shooting one-handed while he was out.

Wed
09
Jan
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Boys basketball team tops Appleton East

Guile, resiliency, strength.

Middleton showed all of the above last Saturday afternoon during an impressive 45-34 win over Appleton East.

Less than 24 hours earlier, the Cardinals had dropped a disappointing game to visiting Madison La Follette. But Middleton rebounded in impressive fashion.

The Cardinals improved to 5-6 on the year and snapped a four-game losing streak.

“After a tough close loss to a quality La Follette team, to come back and beat a solid squad in Appleton East was very impressive,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “I'm really proud of how our guys responded, especially less than 24 hours later.”

Middleton, which made a school-record 13 three-point shots against La Follette, stayed red-hot and drained seven against East.

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