Sports

Tue
08
Oct
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Tennis Cardinals second at Big 8 meet

MADISON — Terry Geurkink had no interest in crunching numbers.

Geurkink, Middleton’s girls tennis coach, knew his team was in a battle with Madison West for the Big Eight Conference championship last Thursday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. But Geurkink’s concentration was spent on the matches, not the scoreboard.

“I didn't know the score and I didn't want to know,” Geurkink said. “I was just focused on making sure we played to our potential.”

Middleton did just that. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that wasn’t quite good enough to knock off the mighty Regents.

West finished with 42 points and edged Middleton (41) for the title. Madison Memorial was third (37) and Verona was fourth (33).

The key match came at No.1 doubles, where West’s Camille Vadas and Sophie Knigge downed Middleton’s Jessica Pientka and Noor Rajpal, 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, for the title.

Tue
08
Oct
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Football Cardinals picking up steam

JANESVILLE — The streak is alive and well.

For Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn and his Cardinals, though, there’s so much more to achieve.

Middleton rolled past host Janesville Craig, 42-7, last Friday and clinched a playoff spot for the 24th straight year. That’s tied for the longest streak in Division 1 with Hartland Arrowhead.

Middleton won its third straight game and improved to 5-2 overall and in the Big Eight. The Cardinals are now tied for second place in the league with Sun Prairie, Verona and Madison La Follette.

Forgive Pertzborn, though, if he’s not impressed — yet.

“Making the playoffs is just the start,” Pertzborn said. “There’s a lot more that’s out there for these guys, and now it’s time to go and get it.”

Billy Johnson, a standout right guard and defensive lineman, agreed.

Thu
03
Oct
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MHS great Luke Fancois heads to the Hall

Luke Francois began his love affair with wrestling in kindergarten as a member of the Baraboo youth program in 1976.

Spring forward four decades later and the Middleton graduate and two-time state qualifier said he had to reach out to his first coach to share some good news.

Francois was among nine individuals to receive a ‘Lifetime Service To Wrestling’ award and induction into the Wisconsin chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame during activities and ceremonies Sept. 28 and 29 at Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

“My high school coach, Parker Vivoda, was a huge influence on me,” Francois recalled in a phone conversation. “He not only raised wrestlers, but he raised boys into men.”

But Francois said he made sure to thank the man who started it all, Howie Hanson, his first youth coach, who is retired and now living in Florida.

Thu
03
Oct
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Buckner, Cardinals rout Parker

Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn has seen Kallion Buckner do just about everything on a football field.

But even Pertzborn was left amazed at the standout running back’s latest “Did he just do that?” moment.

As Buckner gathered in a punt at his own 34-yard-line last Friday, he stopped in his tracks for several moments as nearly the entire Janesville Parker team converged on him. He looked right, took a few steps to his left and suddenly was racing down the sideline leaving a host of defenders in his wake. Buckner even lost a shoe in the process.

“It was unbelievable. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that,” Pertzborn said. “I was just sitting there beside myself going that’s something special, that’s another level.

Thu
03
Oct
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Boys XC team fares well at Griak Invite

Many of the top prep cross country runners in the country descended on the University of Minnesota last Saturday.

And Middleton High School proved it can run with the best of the best.

The Cardinals finished seventh out of 62 teams at the Roy Griak Invitational, despite battling injury and illness.

White Bear Lake (Minn.) won the event with 304 points, while Middleton finished with 396 points.

“The Griak was a terrific experience and a good measuring point for the team at this point,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “I thought there were some positives and things to keep improving on.”

The Cardinals certainly battled through some adversity.

Egan Johnson rolled his ankle early in the race, while Peter Hoferle battled illness.

Thu
03
Oct
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Golfers win Big Eight title

The boxes keep getting checked.

And the way Middleton’s girls golf team is headed, it won’t be long until they have all of them marked.

Middleton won the Big Eight Conference tournament last Thursday at Evansville Golf Course.

The Cardinals shot a 336, well ahead of runner-up Madison Memorial (380).

Kate Meier won medalist honors with a 79, while Ellie Frisch was second with an 83. Milanne Dahmen was fourth with an 85, while Amanda Beckman was seventh with an 89.

“Winning the Big 8 was one of our goals at the beginning of the year, placing a check mark by that box is always exciting for the program,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “With Glenna (Sanderson) out of the line-up, we were able to play both Amanda and Milanne in the top five, providing valuable experience for both. All five girls finished in the top 10, which is a great individual achievement for each of them.”

Thu
03
Oct
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Swimmers perfect against Parker

Lauren Cabalka did her best to make last week a fun one for Middleton’s girls swimming team.

Cabalka, the Cardinals’ head coach, knows her team has had some intense weeks this year — and has several more coming.

So on a week where the schedule was lighter, Cabalka let her team set the lineup against Janesville Parker last Friday.

“This was a fun meet for us,” Cabalka said. “It was Homecoming, teacher appreciation night and a chance for the girls to swim a lineup that they put together. 

“We started the season with some intense back-to-back-to-back weeks and are gearing up for our hardest block of training next week, so it’s a great time in the season to have some fun.”

Middleton did just that, rolling past the visiting Vikings, 140-30. The most points a team can score in a dual meet is 140, and the Cardinals did just that.

Thu
26
Sep
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Ben White, Middleton's beloved boys volleyball coach, diagnosed with lymphoma

MILWAUKEE — Parker Van Buren was mad.

Sure, Middleton’s sensational senior outside hitter was upset the Cardinals fell to mighty Milwaukee Marquette in a five-set thriller last Thursday. The host Hilltoppers held off the scrappy Cardinals, 25-17, 25-16, 25-27, 21-25, 15-7 in matchup of top-5 powers.

But what had Van Buren even more angry is that he and his teammates wanted to produce a win for head coach Ben White.

White was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and broke the news to his team three days before the Marquette match. White wasn’t at Marquette High School last week — and will scale back his coaching duties for the time being — so the Cardinals wanted to bring a win home for their popular head coach.

“I took the news really hard,” Van Buren said. “So, I’m really mad we didn't get a win for Coach. But we’re going to keep playing for him. We’ll be playing for him all year long.”

Thu
26
Sep
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MHS girls golfers ready for title push

They’re known as much for their quirky nicknames, pre-round rituals and cuddly animal headcovers as they are for their smooth golf swings and head-turning scores.

They’re 9-0 in dual meets this season, but that’s old news because they’re 36-0 the past four seasons in that category.

And they’re poised to win a WIAA Division 1 state girls golf championship after falling just short a season ago.

Meet Middleton’s girls golf team, the top-ranked team in the state.

Individually, the Cardinals, led by seniors Kate Meier and Makenzie Hodson, are all capable of shooting in the 30s for nine holes and likely the 70s for 18 at any given time. Collectively, they’re capable of hitting the low 300s, having already posted 303 at one event this season.

Thu
26
Sep
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Football Cardinals hammer Beloit

A game like this was necessary.

Middleton’s football team, which had lost two of its previous three games — including a setback to Madison Memorial seven days earlier — needed a dose of confidence. The Cardinals needed a convincing win.

Bring on Beloit Memorial.

The Cardinals traveled to Beloit last Friday and drilled the host Purple Knights, 46-8. Middleton led 21-0 after the first quarter, 30-0 by halftime and 46-0 through three quarters.

The Cardinals improved to 3-2 in both the Big Eight Conference and overall, while the Purple Knights fell to 1-4, 1-4.

“We definitely did,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said when asked if his team needed a game like that. “Guys were frustrated and needed to get back on the field. It was nice to get after it, and in the end, get pretty much everyone on the field.

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