Sports

Tue
12
Feb
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Middleton's girls fall to Verona

Middleton’s girls’ basketball team wanted to prove it could knock off one the top teams in the Big Eight Conference when if faced second-place Verona last Saturday.

And the Cardinals found themselves in prime position to do just that until it all unraveled at the end.

Middleton led by nine points at halftime and took a seven-point lead into the final quarter, only to watch the Wildcats rally to tie the game in regulation. The Cardinals then dropped a heartbreaking 43-41 overtime decision.

“We had opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on them,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “You’ve got to learn to finish the game. I thought we were in pretty good position, but we didn’t finish very well.”

Middleton, which remained in fourth-place in the league, dropped to 11-7 overall and 9-5 in the Big Eight Conference. Verona improved to 15-4 and 13-2 and swept the season series from the Cardinals for the first time since joining the league nine years ago.

Sat
09
Feb
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Boys basketball team seeded 4th

Middleton’s boys basketball team received the No. 4 seed at its WIAA Division 1 Sectional Saturday morning.

The Cardinals will open postseason play by hosting fifth-seeded Madison West on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. in a regional semifinal.

Middleton and Madison West split their two games this season, with both school winning its home game.

Sun Prairie, which leads the Big Eight Conference by ½ game, is the No. 1 seed. Madison Memorial is No. 2, followed by Madison La Follette, Middleton, Madison West, Watertown, Madison East, Verona and Oconomowoc.

After the initial votes are tabulated, teams have a chance to appeal. Middleton appealed its seed and lobbied for the No. 3 position. But Cardinals coach Kevin Bavery lost the re-vote to Madison La Follette, 4-3.

Middleton has an 11-8 overall record and is 9-6 in the Big Eight Conference. Madison La Follette is 10-10, 9-7.

Wed
30
Jan
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Middleton's hockey team stays red hot

Middleton’s hockey team is in the middle of its roughest stretch of the season. But the Cardinals refuse to blink.

That’s made for some terrific results now — and bodes extremely well for the upcoming postseason.

Middleton defeated rival Madison Edgewood, 4-2, last Thursday. The Cardinals then upended Fond du Lac — the No. 2 team in the state — 4-2 on Saturday. Middleton also lost to 10th ranked Eau Claire Memorial, 5-2, on Sunday.

With a game against No. 2 Verona set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Eagles Nest, Middleton is in a murderous stretch. So far, though, so good.

“Pretty big stretch for us,” Middleton co-coach Steve Libert said.

Middleton’s win over Madison Edgewood was a huge one for postseason seeding. By defeating the Crusaders, the Cardinals (14-4 overall, 8-2 in the Big Eight) are almost a lock to get the No. 2 seed in their sectional. That means Middleton would have home ice until the sectional finals.

Wed
30
Jan
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Coaches vs. Cancer event at MHS

Middleton’s boys and girls basketball teams, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will host ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ events on Thursday and Friday.

Middleton’s girls host Madison East on Thursday and the boys host Verona on Friday. Both games start at 7:30 p.m.

The sophomore games begin at 5:45 p.m. with the Coaches vs. Cancer organization setting up by approximately 6 pm.  

This year’s girls game will honor three Middleton High School staff members who have all battled cancer head on — Karyn Baxter, Linda Bremmer and Kathleen Shaffer.   

The boys game will honor James Helmuth, a fifth grader at Elm Lawn Elementary School. Helmuth is a basketball player as well as a huge fan of the game.  

Helmuth was diagnosed with adrenal cortical carcinoma nearly a year ago. He continues to inspire others as he battles this disease.  

Wed
30
Jan
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Middleton's girls fall to Parker

The girls basketball teams from Middleton and Janesville Parker have dominated the Big Eight Conference for more than two decades now.

So it almost seems fitting that the Cardinals’ current run will be stopped by the Vikings.

Middleton dropped a 49-41 decision at Parker last Friday that signaled a changing of the guard — at least for this season. Parker built a 20-point first half lead, then held off the hard-charging Cardinals in the second half.

The Vikings stayed unbeaten in the Big Eight, improving to 12-0 in the league and 14-1 overall. Middleton — which has won or shared six straight conference titles — slipped to 6-4, 8-6.

“We don’t have a big margin of error, so we have to put together a whole game,” Middleton coach Jeff Kind said. “There’s a lot of teams in our league that are similar to us. But we just got too far behind them, fought back and never got over the hump.”

Tue
29
Jan
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Middleton wrestlers thinking big

When it comes to conference titles and championships, no one likes to share.

But Middleton’s wrestlers weren’t complaining much last Friday.

The Cardinals downed Madison La Follette, 54-12, and wrapped up a share of the Big Eight Conference title. Middleton, Sun Prairie and Janesville Craig all posted 8-1 records in the Big Eight dual meet season and shared the title.

Middleton’s hopes of earning a share of the league title seemed bleak after it lost to Sun Prairie on Jan. 8. But Sun Prairie later fell to Janesville Craig, creating the logjam at the top of the standings.

“This year everyone on the team has put in a lot of work to get where they are,” Middleton’s Grant Laurent said. “It’s really great to see that all the effort is paying off.”

Middleton had several top notch performances against the Lancers to earn a share of the league title.

Sat
26
Jan
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Middleton tops East in OT

Kevin Bavery had waxed poetically for nearly 17 minutes.

Middleton’s boys basketball coach had talked about the toughness, courage, resilience and grit his Cardinals showed in a thrilling 81-79 overtime win over visiting Madison East Thursday night.

Then the boss chimed in.

“Kevin,” said Bavery’s wife. “We have a grandson at home.”

With that, an exhilarating night for Bavery and his Cardinals was done. But what a night it was.

Middleton lost a 15-point halftime lead, blew a 7-point advantage in the final minute, then needed a Derek Rongstad free throw to force overtime tied at 75. The Purgolders scored the first four points of O.T., but Middleton closed the game on a 6-0 run to notch arguably its most exciting win of the year.

Senior forward Kade Schultz hit six three-pointers and led the Cardinals with 18 points. Rongstad had 17 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter alone.

Thu
24
Jan
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Girls basketball team wins twice

It wasn’t always pretty. Far from it.

But Middleton’s girls basketball team took care of business last week, defeating two of the Big Eight Conference’s bottom feeders.

The Cardinals defeated Madison Memorial, 41-30, last Thursday. Middleton then ran past Beloit Memorial, 72-51, last Saturday.

The Cardinals improved to 8-5 overall and 6-3 in the league, which is good for fourth place.

“We were okay both nights,” said Middleton coach Jeff Kind. “We're getting better at some things, but some of our fundamental shortcomings will haunt us if we don't clean them up.”

The Cardinals had a rough offensive night against the Spartans (2-8, 2-12).

Middleton led, 10-8, after the first quarter and 25-19 at halftime. The Cardinals’ advantage was just 30-23 through three quarters, then they held Memorial off in the fourth quarter.

Thu
24
Jan
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Strong outing for MHS gymnasts

 

It was a happy homecoming for Kari Steck and her Middleton girls gymnastics team.

Steck, the Cardinals’ second-year coach, returned to her hometown of Hazel Green for the Southwestern Invitational last Saturday. And Middleton helped make Steck’s return home a pleasant one.

The Cardinals finished second with a 136.85 team score. Mukwonago-Kettle Moraine won the event with a 140.35 score, while Platteville/Belmont/Lancaster was third (136.25) and Holmen (134.625) was fourth.

Aryn Skibba, Middleton’s top all-arounder, competed in just one of the four events as she rested some minor injuries.

“This is an incredible team score that shows the growth of the team over the past few weeks,” Steck said. “Without Aryn's score on three of the four events, the girls still topped our second-highest team score of the year at a meet where Aryn competed all events. 

Thu
24
Jan
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Middleton swimmers roll

 

Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team continued their terrific season last week, finishing first at the Sun Prairie Triangular.

Middleton bested Sun Prairie, 116-54. The Cardinals also cruised past Madison East, 132-38.

Middleton finished the Big Eight Conference dual meet season with a 7-2 record, good for third place.

“The triple dual went really well,” Middleton coach Luke Lengfeld said. “We finished our dual meet season on a high note and I'm looking forward to the championship meets. The guys swam well.”

Middleton’s 200 yard medley relay team of Cooper Green, Matthew Kim, Lex Peterson and Zach Parkin was first in 1:42.74. The Cardinals’ quartet of Hans Kunsch, Rory Slattery, Jacob Aegerter and Connor Wildes was third in 1:47.44

Jackson Uselman was first in the 200 yard freestyle (1:48.33) and Jack McGovern was third (1:48.86).

Parkin (48.79), McGovern (50.14) and Nick Lund (50.29) went 1-2-3 in the 100 yard freestyle.

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