Sports

Fri
10
Nov
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Boys spikers earn state berth

Middleton’s boys volleyball team has done it again.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Cardinals are headed to the state tournament.

Top-seeded Middleton was able to survive a first-set scare against third-seeded Burlington and roll to a 25-22, 25-17, 25-19 in a sectional final held in Middleton last Thursday.

Middleton (33-6) recently won its sixth consecutive Big Eight Conference regular season title before locking up its 10th state appearance in school history. Burlington finished the year 26-10.

“This year is a lot of excitement because ... they've seen everything,” Middleton head coach Ben White said. “They don’t get rattled, they don't get nervous. To take a team like this, with the confidence that they're playing with, to state is pretty exciting.”

Thu
09
Nov
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MHS swimmers gunning for state title

It was supposed to be the greatest day in the history of Middleton’s girls swimming and diving program.

The Cardinals were in the midst of winning the WIAA Division 1 state championship last November. Middleton’s dynamic group became the first in school history to leave the UW-Natatorium with a state title.

But as the state meet unfolded, Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka and the rest of the Cardinals didn’t feel like most teams that capture gold.

“Honestly, it felt kind of yucky,” Cabalka said.

Yucky? Really?

To hear Cabalka and her team tell it, the championship was remarkable. They’ll cherish it forever.

But the meet itself was anything but perfect.

There was squabbling. Girls were struggling with the pressure of the moment. And while the Cardinals left with a championship, the meet itself was far from enjoyable.

Compare that to 2015 when Middleton came out of nowhere, surprised the field and finished second at state.

Sun
05
Nov
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Hodson earns all-state honors

Payton Hodson worked, grinded and improved.

The result is Middleton’s girls golf standout had an unforgettable senior season.

Hodson averaged 77.30 and was recently named the Player of the Year in the Big Eight Conference. In addition, Hodson earned first-team all-state honors.

Middleton sophomore Kate Meier also earned first-team all-conference and honorable-mention all-state honors. Senior Grace Peterson was named second-team all-Big Eight and honorable-mention all-state, while senior Allison Richards earned honorable-mention all-conference honors.

Hodson, a three-year varsity player and a Valparaiso recruit, improved her average by 7.43 shots over the last three years. Hodson finished in the top-five of all but two tournaments this year and tied for fifth at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Fri
03
Nov
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Boys cross country team wins state title

Caleb Easton crunched the numbers in his head.

As Middleton’s boys cross country standout totaled the results from last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet, Easton figured the Cardinals would be exiting Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids with a championship trophy.

It wasn’t until those results were officially posted, though, that Easton and his teammates could breath a giant sigh of relief.

“I think really the highlight was when we saw the scores and saw that we won,” Easton said. “It was just a great time.”

And a great performance.

Middleton finished with just 76 points to easily outdistance runner-up Stevens Point (177). South Milwaukee (191), Monona Grove (197) and Sun Prairie (203) rounded out the top-five.

Middleton won its first state title since 1992. And the Cardinals’ 101-point margin of victory was the largest in state history at any level.

Fri
03
Nov
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Lepage brothers shine for MHS

Mattie Lepage doesn’t have a single kill or assist for Middleton’s boys volleyball team this season.

He hasn’t recorded an ace, block or a dig.

But Lepage has become a vital part of Middleton’s sensational squad, which clinched a fifth straight trip to state Thursday night. And the Cardinals’ junior manager is the energetic, vivacious and spirited leader Middleton simply can’t do without.

Lepage, the younger brother of Cardinals’ standout setter Andrew Lepage, was born with Down’s syndrome. While that has slowed Mattie in some areas, his love of volleyball isn’t one of them.

Mattie has an unparalleled zest and gusto for volleyball — as well his managerial duties. And his enthusiasm has been an important ingredient in Middleton’s outstanding season.

Wed
25
Oct
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Middleton-Madison West meet in Level 2

Middleton football coach Tim Simon insists the Madison West team he saw two months ago won’t be the same group that comes to Otto Breitenbach Stadium Friday night.

The thing is, the Cardinals are much different themselves.

Middleton routed the Regents, 36-0, back on Aug. 31. Now, the two Big Eight Conference rivals will meet again in a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 playoff game Friday at 7 p.m.

Middleton is 9-1 overall and riding an eight-game winning streak. West is 8-2 with its only losses coming to Big Eight powers Middleton and Sun Prairie.

“They’re better than they were back then,” Simon said of West. “That was a game we got out in front and they’re a lot better right now.”

Wed
25
Oct
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Girls spikers win regional title

Two down. Two to go.

That’s what Middleton’s girls volleyball team is hoping.

The Cardinals rolled to a WIAA Division 1 regional championship last week.

First, fourth-seeded Middleton defeated 13th-seeded Tomah, 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 25-12, in a regional semifinal last Thursday. The Cardinals then toppled fifth-seeded Monona Grove, 16-25, 28-26, 25-20, 25-21, in a regional final last Saturday.

Middleton now hosts top-seeded Sun Prairie in a sectional semifinal Thursday at 5 p.m. Sun Prairie defeated Middleton, 3-0, when the teams met back in September.

The winner will meet either second-seeded Verona or third-seeded Waunakee in a sectional final Saturday at 7 p.m. in Baraboo.

“We played Sun Prairie the first week of conference play,” Middleton coach Franco Marcos said. “Our line-up has undergone major adjustments since then.”

Middleton’s lineup performed awfully well at regionals.

Thu
19
Oct
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Boys XC team downright dominant

Dominate.

Middleton’s boys cross country team didn’t just win the Big Eight Conference championship last Saturday. The Cardinals dominated a remarkably gifted field.

Middleton put four runners in the top five, led by champion Caleb Easton and runner-up Michael Madoch. The Cardinals had five of the top-10 runners and six individuals that earned all-conference honors.

And Middleton finished with just 22 points to easily outdistance two-time defending state champion Madison West (64).

“Overall, it was impressive how dominant we were today,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “There are three other ranked programs in the conference who are all sensational, but to put four in the top five and all six finishers be all-conference is awesome.”

The top-ranked Cardinals, who were second at the Big Eight meet in 2015 and ’16, captured their first conference title in 16 years.

Thu
19
Oct
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Girls swimmers win Big 8 title

The sports programs at Middleton High School rival any in the state.

Week to week, month to month, it seems another conference, sectional or state champion is being crowned.

But even inside Middleton itself, a gold standard exists.

And that is the girls swimming program.

The Cardinals rolled past Madison East, 135-35, last Thursday and clinched at least a share of their eighth straight Big Eight Conference championship. Middleton can clinch the outright championship with a win over Madison Memorial this week.

“It is a huge accomplishment, especially for our senior class who has gone 35-1 in dual meets and been a part of the Big Eight championship each of their four years,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We are incredibly proud of the tradition we have built and value the commitment and leadership we get year after year from these girls. It has been quite a ride.”

Thu
19
Oct
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Soccer Cards not thrilled with seed

The seed was a head scratcher.

And 24 hours later, Middleton boys soccer coach Ben Kollasch was still trying to figure it all out.

The Cardinals, a top-five team in the state polls all season long, received the No. 5 seed in their sectional.

Middleton opens the postseason Thursday by hosting 12th-seeded Lake Geneva Badger at 7 p.m. in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll likely travel to fourth-seeded Verona on Saturday for a regional final.

The sectional semifinals are Oct. 26 and the sectional finals are Oct. 28.

Kettle Moraine received the No. 1 seed in the sectional, followed by Madison East, Oconomowoc, Verona, Middleton, Madison West, Sun Prairie, Madison Memorial, Beloit Memorial, Mukwonago, Janesville Craig, Badger, Waukesha South, Watertown, Madison La Follette and Janesville Parker.

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