Sports

Thu
08
Jun
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Zucker shines at state

MADISON — Andy Zucker grew accustomed to leading a group of golfers this season.

Monday and Tuesday, Middleton’s standout junior golfer was forced into a ‘Lone Ranger’ type role.

But Zucker showed he can thrive under any scenario.

Zucker posted a two-day total of 157 at the WIAA Division 1 boys golf tournament held at University Ridge and finished in a tie for 28th place.

Middleton failed to qualify as a team for the first time since 2013. But Zucker advanced through sectionals and turned in an extremely solid two-day performance.

“I had a lot of fun,” said Zucker, who moved into the role of Middleton’s No. 1 player midway through the season. “Playing as an individual is a lot different.

“My mindset was to be more aggressive. I like being under pressure and I like a lot of people watching.”

Zucker certainly handled the pressure well, something Middleton coach Tom Cabalka took note of.

Thu
08
Jun
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Track teams compete at state

LACROSSE — Sitori Tanin finished her freshman basketball season as a reserve on Middleton’s varsity squad.

But Tanin capped her debut with the Cardinals’ track and field program this spring as the leader of the pack.

Tanin placed seventh in the triple jump with a personal-best leap of 37 feet, 2 ¼ inches at the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet at UW-La Crosse’s Veterans Memorial Stadium last Friday evening.

While Tanin narrowly missed a spot on the podium, trailing sixth-place finisher Armoni Brown of Waukesha South by ¾ of an inch, Tanin exceeded her expectations.

“I was really excited to qualify for state,” Tanin said. “It’s my first year doing track. I didn’t think I’d get this far. It was a great experience just getting here. My initial goal when I actually qualified for state was to make the finals because I was seeded ninth.”

Thu
08
Jun
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Soccer Cards stunned in regional finals

No one saw this coming.

Middleton’s girls soccer team seemed poised for a deep postseason run. The Cardinals seemed ready to reach the state tournament for the first time since 2013.

But that dream died last Saturday when ninth-seeded Verona stunned the top-seeded Cardinals, 1-0, in a WIAA Division 1 regional final.

“The season ended too quickly,” Middleton coach Mary Duffy said. “And looking back at it, it seems to have flown by and I am not sure where it all went. 

“Games came and went, goals for and against, slide tackles, headers, tears, sweat, hard work. It all seems like a blur in my head, and I wish I could slow down the fast paced picture flying through my head of all that this team went through this season.”

Most of what Middleton went through was certainly memorable.

The Cardinals won the Big Eight Conference title. They had lost just once since May. And they earned the No. 1 seed in their sectional.

Thu
08
Jun
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Baseball Cards fall short of state

Tom Schmitt was clairvoyant.

Unfortunately, that didn't make Middleton’s manager feel any better Tuesday afternoon.

Schmitt believed the Cardinals’ WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal against Tomah in La Crosse Tuesday would be a low-scoring affair. Schmitt was dead on, unfortunately for the Cardinals, that wasn’t a good thing.

Tomah scored a pair of seventh inning runs — both with two outs — and rallied for a 2-1 win over Middleton. Tomah defeated Waunakee later in the day and advance to state, while the Cardinals finished the year 13-14.

Middleton left a runner stranded in each of the first three innings. The Cardinals then broke through with a run in the fourth and took a 1-0 lead.

With one out, Nolan Kelliher singled to right field. Luke Ballweg then doubled to right on a 1-0 pitch to score Kelliher and give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.

Ballweg was caught stealing third, though, killing the Middleton rally.

Thu
01
Jun
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MPJ raises the bar

As the hour grew later, a buzz began circulating around the track at Middleton High School last Thursday, and the crowd grew larger and larger.

Cardinals’ senior Madeline Pflasterer-Jennerjohn was putting on a show in the pole vault, and the last thing anyone wanted was to miss it.

First, “MPJ” cleared 10-feet even, then began increasing her leaps six inches at a time. When “MPJ” went up and over 11-6, she tied her own school record much to the delight of a now jam-packed pit.

The bar immediately went to 11-9, a mark “MPJ” had yet to reach during her brilliant Middleton career. But on this gorgeous May night, “MPJ” made history by going up and over this lofty height and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

In the matter of a few short seconds, “MPJ” set a new school record, won the Middleton Sectional, and now heads to this weekend’s state tournament with the fifth-best pole vault mark in the state.

Mon
29
May
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Schmitt hurls no-hitter for Middleton

No one will ever confuse Brady Schmitt with Aroldis Chapman or Noah Syndergaard.

No, Schmitt — a junior left-handed pitcher for Middleton’s baseball team — doesn’t rely on an overpowering fastball to win his battles. Instead, Schmitt survives on movement, location, a variety of pitches and out-thinking the player he’s staring at.

Last Thursday, the ultra-crafty Schmitt was at his best and Madison East paid the price. Schmitt threw a no-hitter and led the Cardinals to an 8-1 win over the host Purgolders.

“I was really excited,” Schmitt said of the monumental feat. “It was a lot of fun.”

Amazingly, it was Schmitt’s first appearance since straining his Latissimus Dorsi muscle three weeks ago.

“It’s not a bad injury,” Middleton manager Tom Schmitt said. “It just takes time to heal. It’s a time consuming, nagging injury. It just takes time to get back.”

It didn't look like Brady Schmitt was ever away.

Sat
27
May
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Season ends for softball Cardinals

When the postseason began, Middleton girls softball coach Perry Hibner believed six teams were capable of winning his star-studded sectional.

Holmen still has a chance to do just that. Hibner and his Cardinals do not.

In a WIAA Division 1 regional final Friday, host Holmen broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth and went on to upend the Cardinals, 6-2.

Sixth-seeded Middleton ended the year 15-12, while third-seeded Holmen improved to 21-6.

“It was a well-played game by two very good teams,” Hibner said. “It felt like a sectional final. They just came up with a couple more plays at the key times.”

Middleton did strike first and grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Ashley Bindl walked with one out, moved to second on Rachel Everson's single to left and scored on Hanna Fisher's two-out single up the middle.

Sat
27
May
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Good, bad for tennis Cards at sectionals

On one level, Middleton sophomore Ryan Gold was extremely proud of what he’d accomplished, enormously pleased with what he’d achieved.

On the other, Gold couldn’t help but wonder what might have been.

Gold, Middleton’s No. 1 singles player, finished second at the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional held at Nielsen Tennis Stadium on Thursday. Sun Prairie’s Aiden Schutter nipped Gold in a thrilling three-set match, 6-3, 7-6 (3), 10-6 to capture the sectional title.

Gold qualified for the state tournament for a second straight year and will meet Neenah’s Evan Kubiak in a first round match Thursday at 10:30 a.m.

“I’m proud. I think I played well,” Gold said after the match. “(Schutter’s) a really good player … and that was a great match.”

As good as Gold was, his day was somewhat bittersweet.

Sat
27
May
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Girls soccer team earns No. 1 seed

Mary Duffy was awfully happy leaving the postseason seeding meeting last Wednesday.

Now, Duffy hopes to be just as happy two weeks from now.

Middleton received the No. 1 seed in its sectional and will open the postseason by hosting 16th-seeded Madison La Follette in a regional semifinal Thursday at 7 p.m. at Firefighters Park. If the Cardinals win there, they’ll host the winner of eighth-seeded Mukwonago and ninth-seeded Verona in a regional final Saturday.

The sectional semifinals are June 8, and Middleton would be the host school if it’s still alive. The sectional finals are June 10 at Sun Prairie at 7 p.m.

“I was glad leaving the (seeding) meeting … that we were able to get the first seed,” Duffy said. “It speaks to the schedule that the girls went through and their winning of the Big Eight title.

Wed
24
May
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Middleton golfers win regional title

Middleton’s boys golf team has picked the perfect time to get red hot.

The Cardinals won the WIAA Division 1 Madison Memorial Regional Tuesday held at Blackhawk Country Club.

Middleton shot a season-low 311 and easily outdistanced runner-up Waunakee (326).

“I really believe that the guys gained much confidence in the conference three-hole playoff, and they carried that into today's round,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said, referring to the Cardinals’ win over Verona at the Big Eight Conference meet. “A 311 was really nice team score … much improved from where we were in April.”

The top four teams at regionals advanced to next Tuesday’s Reedsburg Sectional.

In addition to Middleton and Waunakee, Madison Memorial (328) and Verona (329) also moved on to sectionals.

Middleton’s trio of seniors Ross Johnson and Colin Butler, and junior Andy Zucker all shot 76 and tied for second individually.

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