Sports

Thu
28
Feb
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Meicher ends career second at state

Kevin Meicher didn’t get his storybook ending.

In general, though, the four-year novel he crafted couldn't have read much better.

Meicher, a senior at Middleton High School, reached the WIAA Division 1 state wrestling championship at 152 pounds inside the UW Kohl Center Saturday night. Meicher, who won a state title as a freshman, was trying to cap his career with bookend titles.

Instead, Nathan Fuller of River Falls defeated Meicher in the finals, 8-3.

“It would have been a great story, a bookend (championship),” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said of Meicher. “But I’m guessing there are bigger stories for him. He’s a great kid. He’s a great wrestler.”

Meicher finished his brilliant career with a state title at 126 pounds in 2016, second place finishes both this year and at 138 in 2017, and a fourth place showing at 152 in 2018.

Thu
28
Feb
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Boys basketball team hopes for big second season

Casey Hellenbrand surveyed the damage.

He looked at what’s coming next.

And Middleton’s senior guard gave a fitting description of where Middleton’s boys basketball team currently sits.

“We get to start over, and that’s a good thing,” Hellenbrand said. “We’ve had a six-game winning streak this season and now we’re in a little bit of a rough patch. So I think we’re all excited to start over.”

The Cardinals ended the regular season losing three of their final four games, including their last two. Middleton dropped a 69-51 decision to visiting Madison La Follette on Senior Night last Thursday to wrap up the regular season.

Middleton fell to 13-9 overall, finished in sole possession of fifth place in the Big Eight Conference (10-8), and now gets a chance at new life. The Cardinals, the No. 6 seed in their sectional, host 11th-seeded Janesville Craig (10-12) in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal Friday at 7 p.m.

Tue
26
Feb
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Gymnasts pull off stunner, qualify for state

The Middleton faithful that traveled to La Crosse were crunching the numbers.

And as the WIAA Division 1 La Crosse Logan Sectional unfolded last Friday, the Cardinals’ fans began to buzz.

Down on the floor, though, things were different.

Middleton’s upstart gymnastics team knew they had just finished one of their top meets of the season. But the Cardinals weren’t sure how that shaped up against the rest of the field.

“A lot of the adults knew what was going on,” Middleton’s Taylor Engelkes said. “But we didn’t know until they started reading off the scores.”

The Cardinals were pleasantly surprised.

Middleton gave one of its finest performances of the year and qualified for the WIAA Division 1 state team competition for the eighth straight year. Madison Memorial won the Logan Sectional with a 136.6250 team score, while the Cardinals were second at 135.50.

Thu
21
Feb
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MHS girls top Lancers, win Big 8 title

Karina Bursac is one of the most unselfish players on Middleton’s girls basketball team.

When it comes to championships, though, Bursac had no interest in going halves.

“I don’t want to share,” Bursac said of the Big Eight Conference title.

She doesn’t have to.

Middleton entered its game with visiting Madison La Follette last Saturday with a one-game lead over Sun Prairie.

The Cardinals made things tough on themselves, falling behind the Lancers, 18-4, in the first 10 minutes. But Middleton rallied back, posted a 58-50 win and captured sole possession of the Big Eight title.

Middleton finished the regular season 16-2 in the league, 17-5 overall and has won nine straight games overall. Sun Prairie (14-3, 16-5) finished one game back of Middleton.

Middleton won the league for the fourth time in the past six years.

Thu
21
Feb
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MHS girls unleash 'Cobra', down Sun Prairie

SUN PRAIRIE — “Cobra! Cobra!” Middleton girls basketball coach Jeff Kind bellowed.

This is the Cardinals’ terminology for their 1-3-1 zone defense.

And just like the venomous snake itself, that defense can choke the life out of foes. Just ask Sun Prairie.

In a Big Eight Conference showdown last Thursday, host Sun Prairie led Middleton, 28-15, late in the first half. After Middleton switched to ‘Cobra’, it immediately embarked on a 26-4 run.

That switch — and the effectiveness of Middleton’s 1-3-1 zone — helped it notch a 53-45 win that clinched at least a share of the Big Eight Conference title. When Middleton defeated Madison La Follette two nights later, it captured the league title for the fourth time in six years.

Middleton finished the regular season 16-2 in the league and 17-5 overall. Sun Prairie ended the regular season 15-3, 17-5.

Thu
21
Feb
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Middleton swims to second at state

Like two heavyweights, Middleton and Madison West took each other’s best shots. Back and forth they went until the Regents finally pulled away late at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet held at the UW Natatorium.

But, while West went on to win the decision, 314-257, the Cardinals certainly had their moments on their way to a second straight runner-up state finish.

One of those came from Middleton’s foursome of senior Archer Parkin, junior Nate Lamers, senior Andrew Martin and junior Forrest Peterson, who won the 200-yard freestyle relay in a state record time of one minute, 23.12 seconds.

“That was a pretty incredible race,” Martin said. “I was so excited, everyone was just swimming lights out. You could tell we wanted it so bad.

Thu
21
Feb
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Meicher, Hoffman headed to state

Kevin Meicher and Joseph Hoffman have wrestled together since the third grade.

They are practice partners at Middleton High School. And they avid supporters of each other.

Now, the two senior standouts will end their high school careers at the state tournament together.

Meicher won the WIAA Division 1 Verona Sectional championship at 152 pounds last Saturday, while Hoffman finished second at sectionals at 145 pounds. Both wrestlers earned places at the state tournament, which runs Thursday through Saturday at the UW Kohl Center.

“I’m super proud of (Hoffman),” Meicher said afterwards. “We’ve been working hard since third grade together. Seeing him make it his senior year is really cool. We both push each other. It’s great seeing him make it since we’ve been (practice) partners since third grade.”

Thu
21
Feb
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Boys basketball team earns No. 6 seed

Middleton’s boys basketball team earned the No. 6 seed in its 18-team postseason sectional.

The Cardinals received a first round bye, then open the playoffs in a regional semifinal against 11th-seeded Janesville Craig on March 1 at 7 p.m. Middleton, which is 13-8, split with the Cougars (10-10) during the regular season.

If the Cardinals win there, they would likely travel to third-seeded Madison La Follette on March 2 at 7 p.m. for a regional final.

The sectional semifinals are March 7 and the sectional finals are March 9.

“I was surprised how solid we were at No. 6, given we had lost to Craig by two (points) and to Sun Prairie over the last three games,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “Almost every vote had us there and there was no challenge up from No. 7 Waunakee.”

Thu
21
Feb
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Boys basketball team splits a pair

Jack Boyle insists he wasn’t nervous.

He might have been the only one at Middleton High School who wasn’t panicky.

Boyle, a senior guard, stepped to the free throw line with 2.0 seconds left last Wednesday with the Cardinals and visiting Janesville Parker deadlocked at 55. Boyle then calmly drained both free throws to give Middleton a too-close-for-comfort 57-55 win.

“I was pretty confident,” said Boyle, a 76.1% free throw shooter. “Once they fouled me, I was pretty relaxed and was able to knock them down.”

Middleton also dropped a 56-48 decision at Sun Prairie last Friday and is now 13-8 overall and 10-7 in the Big Eight Conference. The Cardinals, who are in fifth place in the league, host second place Madison La Follette (11-4, 14-5) Thursday at 7:15 p.m.

Boyle led Middleton with 14 points in its win over Parker. Senior guard Chandon Thomas added 11 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Thu
21
Feb
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Baggot wins Big 8 all-around title

Middleton’s girls gymnastics team finished sixth at the Big Eight Conference meet last Saturday.

Sun Prairie won the meet with 135.35 points, while Madison Memorial (134.65) and Janesville Craig (132.3) rounded out the top three. Middleton was sixth at 130.825.

“I was actually pleased with the sixth place finish,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “We have a strong conference this year, and a young team. The girls have shown a lot of growth in their routines this year, which can be contributed to their hard work.

“Our bars scores were low, and that's definitely an area where we know we need work on. However, there is the possibility to add up to two points to our team score just on bars.”

Cardinals senior Jordan Baggot tied for the all-around championship with a score of 34.45. Baggot won the floor exercise with a 9.30, was fourth on the balance beam (8.90) and fourth on the vault (8.70).

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