Sports

Thu
11
Nov
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Sun Prairie ends Middleton's season

“Beginnings are usually scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s everything in between that makes it all worth living.”

 

SUN PRAIRIE — Sandra Bullock uttered this memorable quote in the movie “Hope Floats.”

And everything about it was applicable to the 2021 Middleton football team.

An uneasy beginning. An unforgettable middle. And an end that left the Cardinals with tears, anguish and heartbreak.

Middleton’s terrific season came to an end following a 31-24 loss to host Sun Prairie in the third round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs last Friday. Sun Prairie improved to 12-0 and advanced to a state semifinal matchup against Mukwonago in Oconomowoc Friday, while Middleton finished the year 8-4.

Thu
11
Nov
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MHS swimmers set for state

They sent a glut of swimmers to this Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet, which will be held at Waukesha South High School.

They won the Milton Sectional for good measure.

Now, Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team heads to state and hopes to surprise.

The Wisconsin Swimming Coaches Association predicts the state championship will be a two-team race between Brookfield East and Hartland Arrowhead. Middleton, Waukesha West, Lake Geneva Badger and Madison West are expected to battle it out for third.

The Cardinals have been first or second at five of the past six state tournaments — highlighted by three straight state titles between 2016-18. And there‘s nothing Middleton would love more than to bring home the gold or silver trophy again.

Thu
11
Nov
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MHS girls golfers earn postseason awards

Conference championship — both regular and postseason.

A regional and sectional title.

And nothing but first place finishes until they hit the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

Middleton’s girls golf team — which finished third at state — had one of the best years in program history. Not surprisingly, the Cardinals dominated the all-Big Eight Conference team and had several golfers named all-state.

Senior Ellie Frisch was named first-team all-state by the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin. She was also named first-team all-Big Eight and was the conference’s player of the year.

Sophomore Vivian Cressman was named third-team all-state and first team all-Big Eight. Junior Amanda Beckman was named honorable-mention all-state and first-team all-Big Eight.

Senior Milanne Dahmen was named second-team all-Big Eight and honorable-mention all-state. And sophomore Ellen Close was named second-team all-Big Eight.

Thu
11
Nov
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Boys spikers earn honors

They continued to dominate the Big Eight Conference.

They rolled to the regular season conference title, pushed their winning streak in the league to 81 matches, then won the conference tournament, as well.
So it was no surprise that Middleton’s boys volleyball team dominated the all-conference awards.

Senior outside hitter Cole Sweitzer was named first-team all-league and the conference’s Player of the Year. Senior libero Colton Tubbs was also named first-team all-conference.

Junior outside hitter Kaden Fosdick, junior rightside Ben Heise and senior middle hitter John Kruchten were named second-team all-conference. And junior setter/libero Alex Heuer, senior middle hitter Mike Roach and sophomore setter Brody Stuttgen were all named honorable-mention all-conference.

Thu
11
Nov
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Five girls spikers named all-Big 8

To the victor go the spoils.

Middleton’s girls volleyball team won the Big Eight Conference’s regular season crown. And justifiably, the Cardinals landed five players on the all-Big Eight Conference team.

Junior outside hitter Jordan LaScala and junior middle hitter Sierra Pertzborn were both named first-team all-conference. Junior setter Evin Jordee and junior libero/defensive specialist Eliana Ross were named second-team all-league, while sophomore defensive specialist/libero Amber Wahlgren was named honorable-mention all-conference.

“It was a fun season for sure,” said Middleton coach Maddie Vogel. “Honestly the best part of this season was the level of support everyone gave one another.

“I am proud of this team for that beyond anything else, because they fully relied on one another in times of pain and stress, and became stronger as a result. Truly a testament to their character and strength as a team and as individuals.”

Thu
04
Nov
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Middleton's girls XC team wins state title

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Alexa Richardson had spent the last 15 minutes fretting.

Richardson, Middleton’s girls cross country coach, was worried about the health of Maddie Ruszkiewicz, who collapsed and couldn't finish the WIAA Division 1 state meet last Saturday.

Richardson was unsure if her star-studded team had done enough to win a second straight state title. And Richardson was concerned about the mental state of her team, which had come to Ridges Golf Course as overwhelming favorites, but were now sweating things out.

Suddenly, one of the Madison Memorial coaches showed Richardson his phone. And Richardson was given a five-hour energy-like jolt.

Not only had the Cardinals won the state title. They did so in convincing fashion.

Middleton finished with just 61 points and easily outdistanced runner-up Madison West (150). Muskego (152), Whitefish Bay (159) and Menomonie (160) rounded out the top five.

Thu
04
Nov
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Middleton’s boys XC team ninth at state

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — When they initially saw their name on the scoreboard, Middleton’s boys cross country team let out a groan.

That’s understandable, considering the Cardinals finished in the top-four at the WIAA Division 1 state meet every year between 2015-2020.

Upon further review, though, Middleton’s ninth place finish last Saturday at the Ridges Golf Course ranks among its most impressive finishes during a run of nine straight trips to state.

Middleton lost two of its top three runners from its 2020 squad. The Cardinals dealt with the death of teammate John “Jack” Miller last month.

And here they were, once again, racing with the best in the state.

Onalaska won the team title with 89 points, while Homestead (94), Wauwatosa East (148), Stevens Point (152) and Badger (169) rounded out the top five. Middleton finished with 270 points.

Thu
04
Nov
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Middleton survives and advances

WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Blake Van Buren went the endzone and marked the spot of his historic tackle, one that will be remembered for years to come.

It was six inches shy of the goal line.

That’s how much room sat between the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

In a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 playoff game last Friday, host Wisconsin Rapids scored a touchdown with just 4 seconds left and pulled within 21-20 of Middleton. The Red Raiders didn't hesitate and opted to go for two points and the win.

Rapids overloaded the right side of the line and gave the ball to all-everything running back Leo Brostowitz, who already had three touchdowns on the night. Cardinals defensive end Keda Seals beat his man and slowed down Brostowitz, then Van Buren — an all-state linebacker — shed a block and finished off the junior running back.

Thu
04
Nov
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MHS set for Sun Prairie rematch

Four weeks ago, following a heartbreaking 26-21 loss to arch-rival Sun Prairie, Middleton football coach Jason Pertzborn stood in the middle of Otto Breitenbach Stadium and uttered the most prophetic line of the Cardinals’ season.

“I’ll bet you we see these guys again,” Pertzborn said that night.

Maybe Pertzborn should change his name to Nostradamus.

Last Friday, Middleton survived a late rally from host Wisconsin Rapids and defeated the Red Raiders, 21-20, in a WIAA Division 1 Level 2 playoff game. At the same time, Sun Prairie was posting a 35-20 win over visiting Fond du Lac.

Now, the two Cardinals who have battled for supremacy in the Big Eight Conference for years will meet in a Level 3 playoff game Friday at 7 p.m. in Sun Prairie. The winner will be just two victories from a state championship.

Thu
04
Nov
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Boys spikers ousted by Kettle Moraine

MCFARLAND — Rob Kleinschmidt didn't mince words.

Kleinschmidt, Middleton’s boys volleyball coach, gathered his team after their season ended with a loss to Kettle Moraine in the sectional finals last Saturday. And Kleinschmidt’s message was simple one.

“I just said, ‘Losing sucks,’ ” Kleinschmidt said. “There’s no way around it.”

That’s for sure.

Middleton had a sensational season, one in which it earned the No. 1 seed in its sectional and climbed to No. 4 in the latest Wisconsin Boys Volleyball Coaches Association poll. But third-seeded Kettle Moraine played sensational volleyball and toppled the Cardinals, 25-20, 26-24, 26-28, 25-15.

The Lasers, who were ranked sixth in the state, earned the No. 4 seed at state and now face fifth-seeded Westosha Central in a quarterfinal match Thursday. Middleton ended its season 21-6.

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