Sports

Tue
22
Oct
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Tennis Cards gun for state title

 

This date, this moment, this event has been in the back of their collective minds for months.

And Middleton’s girls tennis team can’t wait to make the most of it.

The Cardinals are back at the WIAA Division 1 state team championships for the fourth straight year and the sixth time in school history.

But this is undoubtedly Middleton’s best team ever. So the Cardinals fully believe they have a legitimate chance to bring the gold ball back to Middleton.

“Everyone is so excited for this weekend,” Middleton senior doubles standout Darcy Hogendorn said. “Since the first day of season, the one thing that has been on everyone’s mind has been Team State.

“I know every single girl on this team wants it so bad, and we are all going to work hard this week to get ready. We know it’s not going to be easy, but if we want to win it all, all we have to do is play our best tennis and give it our all.”

Tue
22
Oct
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Hogendorn, Ragsdale shine at state

 

MADISON — They began discussing their dreams last winter.

At the time, they seemed extremely lofty. But Darcy Hogendorn and Allison Ragsdale never lost sight of those aspirations — and last weekend Middleton’s tennis duo made them a reality.

Hogendorn and Ragsdale played some of the most inspired tennis of their young lives. And the pair earned an impressive fifth place finish at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium.

“I am so happy about getting fifth place,” Hogendorn said. “Last year during the winter, Allison and I had a talk with our offseason coaches, and they asked us what we wanted to accomplish this season.

“We told them we wanted to get on the podium at individual state. The fact that we not only got on the podium, but got fifth place, feels pretty amazing.”

Sun
20
Oct
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Girls cross country team wins Big 8

 

Madison West was the perennial power to dethrone.

Sun Prairie was the hard charger, looking to crash the party.

But Middleton’s girls never blinked. And because of it, the Cardinals won the Big Eight Conference meet Saturday at Rockport Park in Janesville.

Middleton finished with 40 points, while Sun Prairie was second at 49 and West was third with 57.

“I think the conference meet was a testament to our girls’ experience,” Middleton co-coach Isaac Mezera said. “They went into the meet confident, knowing that if they ran their “pack attack” race strategy they would have the opportunity to win the meet. Then, when the race came and they needed to pass one or two more runners, they made it happen.”

Middleton sophomore Sam Valentine had a terrific race and finished second overall in 14 minutes, 59 seconds. Sun Prairie’s Katie Hietpas won the 4,000-meter run in 14:41.

Sun
20
Oct
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Boys cross country team 4th at Big 8 meet

 

Timing is everything.

Middleton’s boys cross country team can certainly attest to that.

The Cardinals’ top finishers at the Big Eight Conference meet all had their season-best performances. And that helped Middleton place fourth overall in a meet held at Janesville’s Rockport Park last Saturday.

Madison West won the race with 47 points, while Madison La Follette (49), Verona (92), Middleton (139) and Sun Prairie (147) rounded out the top five.

“There are many competitive and quality teams on the boys’ side of this conference,” Middleton co-coach Cindy Bremser said. “The season goal was for everyone to be improving and for the team to finish in the top half of the conference.”

Middleton freshman Gus Newcomb finished sixth overall, completing the 5,000-meter race in 16:11. Sophomore David Marrone was 26th (16:49) and junior Andrew Plumb was 30th (16:59).

Sat
19
Oct
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Soccer Cards ousted from playoffs

 

This one will sting — perhaps until the soccer balls are pulled out for the 2014 season.

Middleton’s boys soccer team met Madison West in a WIAA Division 1 regional final last Thursday. And the upstart Regents toppled the Cardinals, 2-1.

Middleton finished the year 11-8-1 in Ben Kollasch’s first season as head coach.

“This was a really tough loss,” Kollasch said. “We have struggled in big games throughout the season and we knew that we would have to win big games. We had thought we were ready to win a tough game down the stretch, but we just ran out of time.”

Middleton had defeated West, 1-0, on Sept. 17 during a game that was played in a downpour. Neither team could show off its speed or physicality in that contest.

But this game was much different.

West’s Woo Jin Jeon had a goal and an assist as the Regents built a 2-0 lead by the 27th minute.

Fri
18
Oct
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Boys spikers 8-0 in Big 8

 

Middleton’s boys volleyball team is two steps closer to winning the Big Eight Conference title.

The Cardinals rolled past Madison Memorial 25-10, 25-17, 25-17 last Tuesday. Middleton then defeated Madison East, 25-4, 25-14, 25-12 last Thursday.

The Cardinals improved to 8-0 in the Big Eight, and can wrap up an undisputed league title this week.

“Last week was about getting better each day,” Middleton coach Ben White said. “How do we improve in practice and in a match that will help us this week and in the postseason?

“As I told the players, we are awesome against teams outside of the top 10, but winless against ranked opponents. And we won't see another ranked opponent until state, if we are fortunate enough to make it that far.  

Fri
18
Oct
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Girls spikers seeded third

 

Franco Marcos is the eternal optimist.

But after Marcos — Middleton’s girls volleyball coach — saw the postseason seeds, he was rosier than ever.

The Cardinals earned the No. 3 seed in their 15-team sectional. And Marcos believes his team has a great chance to make a deep playoff run.

Middleton opens the postseason by hosting 14th-seeded Holmen in a regional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m.

“I am happy with the seed and believe that we could get to state if we take care of the ball and finish plays,” Marcos said. “I think that we are so much better than we were at this time last year and it is going to be fun.”

Sun Prairie is the No. 1 seed, while Waunakee, Middleton, DeForest and Verona round out the top five. La Crosse Central is the No. 6 seed, followed by Madison La Follette, Tomah, Monona Grove, Baraboo, Madison Memorial, Madison West, La Crosse Logan, Holmen and Madison East.

Wed
16
Oct
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Girls golfers third at state

VERONA — Eventually, perspective will rule the day.

Middleton’s girls golf team will look back on the season that was, celebrate their numerous accomplishments, and appreciate just how terrific their run was.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the Cardinals weren’t ready for that.

Middleton, one of the favorites to bring home the WIAA Division 1 state title, finished third at the two-day event held at University Ridge Golf Course.

Arrowhead shot a two-day total of 638, the second-lowest score in Division 1 history, to win the title. Verona was second at 648, while Middleton was third at 655.

The Cardinals, ranked No. 1 in the final state poll, fully expected to bring home a trophy that goes to the first and second place teams. And when that didn’t happen, the tears flowed like Niagara Falls.

“I’m upset,” said Cardinals sophomore standout Loren Skibba. “We were just all hoping for better.”

Senior Sheenagh Cleary agreed.

Tue
15
Oct
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Tennis Cardinals excited for state

 

The next two weeks are why Bridget Bellissimo came back to high school tennis.

The chance for individual success. The opportunity for team triumphs.

And memories that will last a lifetime.

It all starts Thursday, when the WIAA Division 1 girls state tennis meet begins at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. The event runs for three days, with the championship matches taking place Saturday.

Bellissimo, the Cardinals’ standout senior, played on the USTA circuit last year. But Bellissimo returned to the Middleton program for her senior year, and earned the No. 4 seed at this year’s individual state tournament.

“Even though the big goal would be to win state, there are a ton of outstanding players I have to overcome to reach the finals,” Bellissimo said. “With my placement in the draw, I have matches that will challenge me, and will help me prove how far I can go. 

Tue
15
Oct
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Football Cards hammer Craig

 

What a difference a week makes.

Coming off an uneven performance the previous week and facing a dangerous team with everything to play for, Middleton’s football team put together perhaps its most complete performance of the season in a 31-7 Big Eight Conference rout over Janesville Craig last Friday at Breitenbach Stadium.

Janesville Craig entered Friday’s contest against Middleton needing to win its final two games to make the playoffs. Instead, it was the Cardinals that looked like they had everything to play for.

“We’re really proud of the way our guys played,” Middleton coach Tim Simon said. “Craig just beat Memorial last week, they were rolling, and they had to win these last two games to make the playoffs.

“So we knew that we were going to get their best game and our guys stepped up. Our defense played phenomenal. We bent at times, but we didn’t break. We kept them out of the end zone.”

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