Sports

Tue
29
Oct
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Girls XC team racing to state

 

This certainly wasn’t a surprise.

But that didn’t make it any less exhilarating.

Middleton’s girls cross country team was the consensus favorite at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 DeForest Sectional. And the Cardinals lived up to their billing by winning the sectional.

Middleton finished with 51 points to edge runner-up Sun Prairie (54). Madison Memorial was third with 87 points, while Madison West (92) and Beaver Dam (124) rounded out the top-five at the 12-team sectional.

Middleton qualified for Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet, which will be held at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids beginning at 12:40 p.m.

“We knew it wasn't going to be easy to make it to state as a team,” Middleton sophomore Sam Valentine said. “But our goal was to go into the race with confidence, knowing we've beaten Sun Prairie and Madison West this season, and maybe that would shake off some of our nerves.”

Tue
29
Oct
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Boys XC team headed to state

 

Isaac Mezera heard the chatter.

But even Middleton’s boys cross country coach had a hard believing the noise.

From the start of the season, the Cardinals’ young group talked about making it to the WIAA Division 1 state meet. But Mezera, who’s been around the block a time or two, knew that could be a pipe dream.

“They were saying they were going to make it to state from early on in the season, but I kind of figured it would be a rebuilding year,” Mezera said. “But they worked really hard all season long.”

And last Saturday, it paid off in spades.

Middleton finished in a tie for second place with Baraboo at the DeForest Sectional. But the Cardinals won the tiebreaker because their sixth runner bested the Thunderbirds’ No. 6 runner.

That sent Middleton to state for the first time since 2010. It also marked the first time since 2002 that the Cardinals will send their boys and girls teams to state in the same year.

Tue
29
Oct
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Girls spikers set for sectionals

 

Last year is just that.

Revenge isn’t a factor.

Instead, Middleton’s girls volleyball team is focusing on the here and now.

At least that’s what Cardinals head coach Franco Marcos is saying publicly.

Middleton stormed through regional play last week, with impressive wins over Holmen and La Crosse Central.

Now, the third-seeded Cardinals travel to second-seeded Waunakee Thursday for a sectional semifinal at 8 p.m. A year ago, the Warriors defeated Middleton in this same gym and at the same point in the postseason.

Marcos insists, though, that the past is the past.

“We have a different team this year and so do they,” Marcos said. “We will be at their place and we need to not beat ourselves. We just need to be the best team on Thursday night.”

Middleton certainly was the best team in its regional victories.

The Cardinals toppled 14th-seeded Holmen, 25-18, 25-10, 21-12 last Thursday.

Tue
29
Oct
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Swimmers win fourth straight Big 8 title

 

Ashley Aegerter. Sam Andryk. Emily Douglas. Elizabeth Ihrig. Olivia Kossel. Karley Licking. Maddy Mack.

These seven seniors on Middleton’s girls swimming team did something last week that has never been done in the history of the program.

They finished their careers undefeated in Big Eight Conference dual meets.

Middleton rolled past Madison Memorial, 104-66, last Tuesday and finished a perfect 9-0 in league dual meets. That marked the fourth straight year the Cardinals have won the conference with a perfect record.

That also means Middleton’s sensational senior class went 36-0 in league dual meets during their four-year careers.

“At the end of the meet, my initial reaction was ‘Great, 9-0. We really earned that,’ ” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “After thinking more about it, I realized that this senior class never lost a dual meet.  

Tue
29
Oct
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Boys spikers win Big Eight

 

It’s become old hat for Middleton’s boys volleyball team to win the Big Eight Conference championship.

But that doesn’t make it any less rewarding.

The Cardinals continued their domination of the league last week, rolling past Fort Atkinson and Madison La Follette.

Middleton finished the conference season a perfect 10-0 and won the league for the seventh time in eight years. The Cardinals are also 20-0 in conference matches the past two years and 82-4 in the league over the past eight years.

“Those are big numbers,” Middleton coach Ben White said.

That’s for sure. And the Cardinals added to those glowing totals with two more wins last week.

First, the Cardinals bested Fort Atkinson, 25-16, 25-15, 25-19, last Tuesday.

Andy Keeler led Middleton with 13 kills and 10 digs, while Connor Zimmick had seven kills,17 assists and three blocks. Robbie Drachenberg had 18 assists and James Caldwell added 11 digs.

Sun
27
Oct
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Tennis Cards win state title

After defeating its nemesis, Mequon Homestead, in the state semifinals Saturday, there was only one remaining goal for Middleton’s girls’ tennis team – a state title.

The Cardinals made it a reality by beating Eau Claire Memorial, 5-2, for the WIAA Division 1 team title at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

“It feels awesome to win state,” said sophomore Kaisey Skibba, Middleton’s No. 2 singles player. “Our team has worked so hard all year there’s nothing that feels better than to win state.”

“It’s just amazing,” added Baylie Gold, who plays No. 2 doubles. “We’ve all put so much work into it and we’ve all worked so hard and I’m just really proud of everyone because I just think we really deserve it this year. This is our year to win and we got it.”

The Cardinals got off to a slow start after their emotional win over the Highlanders, but managed to shake it off.

Sun
27
Oct
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Skibba powers tennis Cards past Homestead

 

Facing her biggest moment on by far the biggest stage of her young tennis career, Kaisey Skibba confirmed what those who know her best already knew – she has nerves of steel.

With Middleton and Mequon Homestead locked in a 3-3 tie during the state semifinals Saturday, everything was riding on the outcome of Skibba’s match. And Skibba, who was playing No. 2 singles, was in deep trouble.

Trailing 4-1 in the third set, the sophomore somehow turned it around and pulled out a thrilling 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3) victory over Anna Kreynin. That gave the Cardinals an exhilarating 4-3 win over Homestead in the semifinals of the WIAA Division 1 girls state team tennis tournament at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

Middleton then rolled past Eau Claire Memorial, 5-2, later in the day to capture the program’s first state title.

“We were all but out,” Middleton coach Deke Bradley said. “She put our team on her back and saved us.”

Tue
22
Oct
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Middleton, Memorial will meet again

 

The original film was a horror flick for Middleton’s football team.

Now, the Cardinals hope the sequel has a much different ending.

Middleton will host Madison Memorial in a WIAA Division 1 first round playoff game Friday at 7 p.m. The Cardinals (7-2) are the No. 3 seed, while the Spartans (6-3) are seeded sixth.

The game will be a rematch of the regular season opener, a game in which visiting Memorial cruised past Middleton, 31-14.

“We’re a lot better than we were back in August in Week 1,” Middleton senior quarterback Kasey Miller said. “We have been improving every week, and continuing to grow and succeed as a team.

“It was early in the year and receiving that first loss hurt. But it showed us how much we needed to pick up our play and I believe that's exactly what we have done since that game.”

Senior offensive tackle Hayden Acker agreed.

Tue
22
Oct
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Middleton rallies past La Follette

 

It’s been almost 14 years now since Jeremy Ziegler and Ryan Oliversen stamped their names into Middleton football lore. On Oct. 30, 1999, that duo hooked up for a game-winning touchdown pass with 3 seconds left and Middleton stunned Sun Prairie, 14-10, in a WIAA Level 2 playoff game.

Last Friday, Middleton’s Kasey Miller and Demond Hill combined to give the Cardinals arguably their most dramatic win since that 1999 thriller.

Miller threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Hill with 38 seconds left to give Middleton a stunning 34-33 win over host Madison La Follette.

“I think there were 40 seconds left and La Follette had a (linebacker) out of place,” Miller said. “We saw it, quick snapped the ball early and had the right pass called.

“I just got the ball out in Demond’s hands and he did the rest of it to get in. It was huge for our team.”

Tue
22
Oct
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Girls spikers win Big Eight

This is what any team desires, what any coach craves.

When the postseason arrives, everyone hopes to be peaking. And clearly, Middleton’s girls volleyball team is doing exactly that.

The Cardinals captured the Big Eight Conference tournament last Saturday held at Beloit Memorial. Middleton pushed its winning streak to 10 straight matches and seems ready to make some noise this postseason.

“It was sweet to win the Big Eight Tournament and keep the momentum going before the playoffs start,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “Great time to peak.”

Indeed.

Middleton, which is the No. 3 seed in its sectional, opens the postseason Thursday against No. 14 Holmen at 6:30 p.m. in a regional semifinal. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll meet either Madison Memorial or La Crosse Central Saturday at 7 p.m. in a regional final.

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