Sports

Wed
19
Dec
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Hockey Cards win two of three

Middleton hockey co-coach Steve Libert called the Cardinals’ past week “strange.”

That’s a perfect way to describe it.

Middleton, ranked seventh in the latest state poll, won two of its three games last week and improved to 6-1.

The Cardinals toppled Janesville, 4-2, last Tuesday and routed Madison East/La Follette, 13-0, last Thursday.

Interestingly, the Cardinals’ best performance probably came in their 1-0 loss to Ashwaubenon last Saturday.

In between, Middleton had a brush with the athletic code and will be without three players for six games.

Middleton opened the week with a solid win at Janesville. The Cardinals trailed, 2-1, heading to the third period. Middleton then rallied for three goals in the final period.

“We left some hockey on the ice,” Libert said. “We played, but did not play with any get up and go. If a Janesville player was ahead of us or challenging us we let them have the puck.”

Wed
19
Dec
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Wrestlers third at Appleton

It was another terrific week for Middleton’s wrestling team.

The Cardinals took a big step towards winning the Big Eight Conference with a 45-24 win at Janesville Craig last Tuesday.

The Cardinals then finished third at the 13-team Appleton West Invite last Saturday. Appleton North and Little Chute won the tournament with 198 points each, while Middleton was a close third (195.5).

“We did really well,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said. “But we also didn’t go all that way to lose. We knew it was pretty close.”

Middleton senior Jake Cain improved to 18-0 on the season by winning another championship at 138 pounds. Taggart Haase also finished first at 170 pounds, while Wyatt Cory was third at 195. Brett Cain (113), Grant Laurent (152) and Lon Yeary (220) all finished fourth.

Jake Cain had a memorable day, pinning all five of his opponents. Cain was also named ‘Outstanding Wrestler’ of the tournament.

Wed
19
Dec
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Swimmers fall to Madison West

It wasn’t the outcome they wanted.

But there were several encouraging performances in Middleton’s 97-77 loss to Madison West in a boys swimming meet last Thursday.

“The West meet went well,” Cardinals coach Luke Lengfeld said. “We didn't get the outcome we were looking for, but the boys swam very well and battled to the end. 

“There were a few races that we lost that we needed to win to take the meet. Even though we lost the meet I was very happy with how the guys swam and competed.”

There were several positives in the loss.

Middleton’s Jackson Uselman won the 100-yard freestyle (48.50) and the 200-yard freestyle (1:49.59). Zack Parkin won the 50 yard freestyle (22.01), Nick Lund won the 100 yard fly (54.68) and Matthew Kim was first in the 100 yard breast stroke (1:04.40).

Middleton’s 200-yard free relay team of Uselman, Jack McGovern, Lund and Parkin was also first (1:29.20).

Fri
14
Dec
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Parker rallies past Middleton girls

It was all right there for the taking.

A four-point lead. Less than a minute remaining. A chance to make an enormous early-season statement.

And then it all slipped away.

Middleton’s girls basketball team led visiting Janesville Parker, 48-44, with 53.3 seconds left last Thursday. But the Vikings answered with a stunning 8-0 run and held on for a 52-50 win.

“Our inexperience really bit us in the butt,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “I’m really proud of how we hung in there. But we just don’t have people that have been in position where they’ve had to finish games. This is new to so many of our kids.”

Middleton, which has won at least a share of six straight Big Eight Conference titles, had the preseason favorite Vikings on the ropes throughout. The Cardinals, playing without all-state forward Liz McMahon (broken finger), were the scrappier team all night.

Fri
14
Dec
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Boys basketball team bounces back

When it comes to playing games on back-to-back nights, Luke Schafer said a little depth can go a long way.

Schafer’s layup off a backcourt steal helped spark a key scoring surge in the third quarter as Middleton rolled to a convincing 68-45 victory over visiting Madison West in a Big Eight Conference boys basketball game Saturday night.

The quick turnaround couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cardinals, who dropped a hard-fought 61-53 decision at Madison East on Friday night.

“West has great personnel. They have quick kids and one prolific scorer and they’ve some size inside and we knew it would be a tough matchup,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “A couple of people after the game hit me up with that (Madison) Memorial took a lot out of (West) last night in a tough game. But I told our kids don’t let anybody tell you that we didn’t have a tough game with East.”

Fri
14
Dec
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Middleton wrestlers shine

Middleton’s wrestling team finished third at the 16-team Tomah Scramble last Saturday.

Lancaster won the event with 445 points, while Lodi (392), Middleton (362) Caledonia (360) and Neillsville (342.5) rounded out the top five.

Cardinals senior Jake Cain finished first at 138 points, pinning three foes along the way.

Cain received a bye in his first match, then pinned Lodi’s Adam Phillips in 45 seconds. Cain followed with pins of Baraboo’s William Pierce in 1:40 and Lancaster’s Joe Crosby in 1:01, then won by injury default over Caledonia’s Luke Werner.

Taggart Haase also enjoyed a big day, finishing second at 170 pounds.

Haase opened with a pin of Mosinee’s Jacob Sparby in 3:07, then captured a 6-2 decision over Viroqua’s Clay Fitzpatrick. Haase followed with an 8-3 win over Mitchell Pohlman of Neillsville, lost an 11-1 decision to Lancaster’s Ethan Soderstrom and toppled Cashton’s Brandon Schmitz, 7-3.

Fri
14
Dec
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Gymnasts win opening meet

Kari Egan-Steck always has great expectations. But Middleton’s girls gymnastics coach likes to temper them for the first meet each season.

This year, that probably wasn’t necessary.

The Cardinals opened their season last Tuesday with an impressive 134.625-132.275 win over visiting Mount Horeb.

“With the first meet you never really know what to expect,” Egan-Steck said. “But I think that the girls definitely exceeded my expectations. They had a phenomenal meet.”

These two programs know each other well from club gymnastics and traditionally open the season against each other. It leads to a meet that’s usually more friendly than fiery.

“It is a low stress, friendly meet that the girls have a lot of fun with,” Egan-Steck said.

Fri
14
Dec
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Middleton swimmers make a splash

 

It was a busy — and highly successful — week for Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team.

The Cardinals took second place at the Brookfield East Invite last Tuesday. Middleton then defeated Madison La Follette and Janesville Parker in a triangular last Friday, and finished second at the Janesville Parker Relays last Saturday.

Madison Memorial won the Brookfield East Invite with 593 points. Middleton was a distant second at 391.5, but the Cardinals finished ahead of traditional state powers Brookfield (299.5) and Hartland Arrowhead (284).

“We ended up beating Arrowhead and they took second at state last year,” Cardinals coach Luke Lengfeld said.

Middleton had several terrific performances on the day.

Fri
07
Dec
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A stellar start for MHS wrestlers

Middleton’s wrestling team entered the year flying below the radar of most.

But that might have changed last week.

Middleton toppled perennial power Hartland Arrowhead, 44-26, last Thursday. The Cardinals then finished second at the eight-team Reedsburg Scramble last Saturday.

“I think we left some matches out there that we probably should have won,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said. “But overall I’m really happy. It’s a good start for us … and we have plenty of time to improve on things.”

A year ago, Middleton was drilled by Arrowhead. But 12 months later, the Cardinals took the fight to the Warhawks.

Middleton got pins from Lon Yeary (220), Sean Benedict (heavyweight), Brett Cain (113), Nathan Dresen (182) and Wyatt Cory (195).

Middleton also got wins from Justin Swiersz (126), Jake Cain (138), Shay Haase (160) and Taggart Haase (171).

Fri
07
Dec
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Hockey Cards begin year 4-0

Steve Libert knows there’s work to be done.

Middleton’s hockey coach fully understands his team is nowhere close to where it needs to be.

But Libert also knows this.

“It is more enjoyable to work on things while winning than the other way around,” he said.

And winning is exactly what these Cardinals are doing.

Middleton continued its impressive start last week, posting two shutout wins and improving to 4-0 on the young season.

Middleton skated past Sun Prairie, 2-0, last Tuesday. Then the Cardinals blasted Madison Memorial, 6-0, last Saturday.

“There are a few issues we need to address,” Libert said. “Defensively we watch the game when we are away from the puck. Forwards drift rather than speed back into defensive coverage, which leaves too big of a gap when there is a turnover. This stifles our attack, which in turn does not stress the opposition’s defense enough. 

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