Sports

Thu
22
Feb
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Gymnasts win Big 8 title

Sun Prairie’s streak is over.

And Middleton hopes it has started one of its own.

Middleton won the Big Eight Conference girls gymnastics meet Saturday. Middleton scored 138.550 points and edged three-time defending champion Sun Prairie (137.825) for the title.

Madison West (131.075), Madison Memorial (130.1) and Janesville Craig (123.05) rounded out the top five.

“It was pretty huge to win conference,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “We have had a back and forth battle with Sun Prairie for the past several years.

“They have a strong team again this year, and going into the last event we were tied neck and neck. We got together right before vault and told the girls to go out and do their best and have fun, and that's exactly what they did. We had the highest vault total of the day, and that's what we needed to slide past Sun Prairie.”

Thu
22
Feb
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Meicher, Huff qualify for state

Kevin Meicher knows the bright lights and the full houses that await him better than anyone.

For Dion Huff, the chaos and the commotion will all be new.

Both Middleton wrestlers can’t wait to get a taste of the craziness.

Meicher and Huff both won championships in their weight classes at last Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional. Now, Huff and Meicher have earned trips to the state tournament, which begins Thursday at the UW Kohl Center.

“It’s going to be great,” Huff said after winning a regional title at 195 pounds. “The crowd’s going to be amazing. It’s just a great atmosphere. I’m really excited about that.

“I’ve been there to watch pretty much every year. I can’t wait to compete there. It will be fun having another teammate there and sharing the experience. It’s going to be great.”

This, of course, is familiar territory for Meicher.

Wed
21
Feb
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Boys basketball team roughs up Beloit

Middleton’s boys basketball team knew there was no room for error.

The Cardinals, fighting for the highest possible postseason seed, fully understood they couldn’t stumble at Beloit Memorial last Friday.

The Purple Knights put a mini-scare in the Cardinals and trimmed Middleton’s early 11-point lead to 35-32 by halftime. But Middleton’s second half was one of its best of the season and it pulled away to a relatively easy 77-53 win over host Beloit.

Middleton improved to 12-9 overall and 10-7 in the Big Eight Conference, while Beloit slipped to 6-15, 5-12.

“The ball went inside early and often in the second half,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “We were able to bump it to double figures and never looked back.”

Wed
21
Feb
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Girls basketball team stuns East

Momentum.

The girls basketball postseason has arrived. And few teams around have as much momentum as Middleton’s girls basketball team.

The Cardinals capped the regular season on a high last Saturday night. Middleton went the length of the court in 4.2 seconds and Haley Dunn drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Cardinals an improbable 65-64 win over Madison East.

“It was a great example of ‘it ain’t over till it’s over,’ ” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said.

Middleton finished the year 15-7 overall and captured sole possession of third place in the Big Eight at 13-5. The Cardinals won their final five games and 12 of their last 14.

Middleton led East by as many as 12 points in the second half, but the Purgolders (14-4, 16-6) charged back.

Leading by two, East missed the second of two free throws with 4.2 seconds left. Halle White grabbed the rebound, took one dribble and fired ahead to Dunn.

Sun
18
Feb
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Boys basketball team lands No. 7 seed

Kevin Bavery was ecstatic.

Bavery, Middleton’s boys’ basketball coach, has believed for weeks that Sun Prairie is the class of their WIAA Division 1 sectional. So when Bavery and his fellow coaches held their postseason seeding meeting Sunday, many were hoping to wind up on the opposite side of the bracket of mighty Sun Prairie.

For Middleton, things couldn't have worked out any better.

The Cardinals received the No. 7 seed in the sectional and will host 10th-seeded Oconomowoc in a WIAA regional semifinal on March 2 at 7 p.m. If Middleton wins there and the seeds hold, it would travel to second-seeded Waunakee for a regional final on March 3 at 7 p.m.

The sectional semifinals are March 8 and the sectional finals are March 10.

Sun Prairie earned the No. 1 seed, so Middleton couldn't face the rival Cardinals until a sectional final.

Thu
15
Feb
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Girls basketball team edges Lancers

It was exactly the type of basketball game a team craves late in the season: a tough, grind-it-out road contest that tests players’ mental and physical toughness and readies them for the postseason.

Middleton’s girls basketball team got exactly that kind of test last Friday when it visited Madison La Follette.

Late-game free throw shooting and the play of Sitori Tanin were huge down the stretch for Middleton, as the Cardinals hung on to defeat the host Lancers, 60-57.

Middleton improved to 13-7 overall and 11-5 in the Big Eight, while LaFollette fell to 12-8 overall, 8-8 in the Big Eight. 

“We’re coming up on playoff basketball, and that was kind of the atmosphere we had tonight,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “We’re two pretty even teams: they’ve been coming on, and I think we’ve been starting to play better.

Thu
15
Feb
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La Follette KOs boys basketball team

MADISON — The head coach — a chipper fellow by nature — took a glass half full approach.

The star player — who had just been through 36 minutes of hell — was a little bit more troubled.

Middleton’s boys basketball team proved once again last Saturday that it can play with virtually anyone in the state, when the Cardinals gave sixth-ranked Madison La Follette a scare. But once again, Middleton couldn’t get over the hump against an elite foe and dropped a 76-64 decision that was far closer than the final score indicated.

Middleton fell to 11-9 overall and 9-7 in the Big Eight Conference, while the Lancers improved to 17-3, 13-3.

The Cardinals, who are in fifth place in the Big Eight, also fell to 1-6 against teams that are ahead of them in the league. On the flip side, Middleton is 8-1 against teams below it in the standings.

If the Cardinals are going to make a postseason run, they must find a way to defeat the teams above them in the league.

Thu
15
Feb
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Swimmers second at sectionals

Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team has been a model of consistency in recent seasons.

Each of the past four years, the Cardinals have finished between seventh and ninth at the WIAA Division 1 state meet.

While that’s certainly nothing to sneeze at, the 2018 Cardinals could be poised for even bigger and better.

Middleton had a memorable performance and finished second at the star-studded Beloit Memorial Sectional last Saturday.

Madison West won the 10-team sectional with 392 points, while Middleton was a close second at 357. Madison Memorial (349), the Sauk Prairie co-op (203) and Verona-Mount Horeb (192) rounded out the top five.

The state meet will be held Saturday at the UW-Natatorium. The diving competition begins at 10 a.m. and the swimming finals start at 3 p.m.

Sun
11
Feb
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Girls basketball team lands No. 4 seed

If you told Jeff Kind in December that Middleton’s girls basketball team would land a top-four postseason seed, the Cardinals’ head coach might have thought you were goofy.

Middleton struggled early in the season and had a 3-5 record just two days after Christmas. But the Cardinals have been red-hot ever since, winning 10 of their last 12 games.

And Sunday afternoon, Middleton received the No. 4 seed in its sectional.

The Cardinals (13-7) will host 13th-seeded Janesville Parker (7-12) in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal on Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. If the Cardinals win there, they’d face the winner of fifth-seeded Waunakee (15-6) and 12th-seeded Watertown (10-11) in a regional final Feb. 24.

The sectional semifinals are March 1 at Madison Memorial, and the sectional finals are March 3 at Janesville Craig.

Mukwonago (17-2) is the No. 1 seed, while Sun Prairie (19-1) is seeded second and Madison East (14-5) is the No. 3 seed.

Thu
08
Feb
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Gymnasts win Middleton Invite

The girls state gymnastics meet remains three weeks away.

But it’s not too early to start talking about Middleton as one of the schools capable of making a run at greatness.

Middleton won its own invitational on Feb. 3 and made quite a statement in the process.

The Cardinals finished with 138.925 points and outdistanced traditional power Waukesha co-op (137.925) for the title. After the win, Middleton jumped to No. 3 in the latest state rankings.

“The girls keep improving and their hard work continues to pay off,” Middleton coach Kari Steck said. “So it's pretty exciting going into tournament season in the next couple weeks.”

Middleton had a bevy of sensational performances on its way to the title.

Cardinals junior standout Karina Sabol won the balance beam with a 9.725 and senior Chloe Young was sixth with a 9.0. Sophomore Kimmy Williams was eighth (8.90) and junior Ashley Bindl was 16th (8.375).

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