Sports

Tue
07
Jun
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Middleton golfers finish sixth at state

KOHLER — Six weeks ago, when Middleton’s boys golf team was struggling, Cardinals coach Tom Cabalka didn’t know if a trip to state was possible for his team.

Three weeks ago, when Middleton was a distant second to Madison Memorial at the Big Eight Conference meet, Cardinals senior Alec Sosnowski wasn’t overly confident that his team was ready for the postseason.

So late Tuesday afternoon, after Middleton finished sixth at the WIAA Division 1 state meet held at Blackwolf Run, the Cardinals weren’t lamenting the fact they had their ups and downs at this two-day tournament. Instead, Middleton was thrilled its journey ended with a trip to this magnificent venue that consistently ranks among “America's 100 Greatest Golf Courses.”

“I think our kids were very excited to be here,” Cabalka said. “It was certainly in doubt throughout most of the season. So, it was a big, neat deal that they could get through sectionals.”

Sosnowski agreed.

Sat
04
Jun
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Middleton golfers headed back to state

Middleton boys golf coach Tom Cabalka has been part of several big wins while guiding one of the state’s elite programs.

Cabalka led Middleton to the 2011 WIAA Division 1 state championship. Cabalka and the Cardinals have seven top-five finishes at state since 2010.

So when Cabalka talks about Middleton’s championship at the Onalaska Championship on June 1 as one of the biggest of his career, you know it was a special day.

The Cardinals shot a blistering 153 on the back nine at La Crosse Country Club and won the sectional with a 316-team score. Madison Memorial was second with a 317 and earned the second spot at the state meet, which will be held Monday and Tuesday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.

“I have to say that it is one of the biggest wins that I have been a part of,” Cabalka said afterwards. “I’m extremely proud of how this group has played under the pressure of our regional and sectional play.”

Thu
02
Jun
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Girls track team shines at sectionals

BARABOO – With back-to-back team state cross country championships in the span of nearly six months, there is no doubt that Middleton’s girls distance program is performing at an elite level.

So it should come as no surprise that the Cardinals have the potential to be a dominant force on the track, too.

Seniors Lauren Pansegrau and Maddie Ruszkiewicz teamed with sisters sophomore Tait Haag and senior Molly Haag to win the 3,200-meter relay in 9 minutes, 40.13 seconds at the WIAA Division 1 Baraboo sectional last Thursday. The Cardinals held off state qualifiers Waunakee (9:42.52) and Verona (9:43.25).

Middleton then captured the three individual distance events with Ruszkiewicz winning the open 800, while junior Zaira Malloy-Salgado swept the 1,600 (5:01.75) and 3,200 (10:59.58) titles. Pansegrau qualified for state in three events, also taking third in the 1,600 (5:03.33) and second in the 3,200 (10:59.86).

Thu
02
Jun
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Ward earns state trip in three events

BARABOO – Griffin Ward had already accomplished his preseason goals of returning to the WIAA Division 1 state track and field in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs early last Thursday evening.

But the Middleton senior distance runner wasn’t quite done yet.

Moments after he finished runner-up in the 3,200, Ward was back on the track and ready to run the second leg of the meet’s final event, the boys’ 1,600-meter relay.

Ward did his part to make sure the Cardinals ended the meet on a high note, combining with juniors Emre Gunay, Finn Patenaude, and Cameron Swapsy to finish second in a season-best time of 3 minutes, 26.91 seconds and qualify for the state meet.

The top three finishers in each event advanced to the WIAA Division 1 state track and field meet Friday and Saturday in La Crosse.

Thu
02
Jun
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Tennis Cards win sectional

Middleton’s boys tennis team is headed back to the state tournament.

And the Cardinals had several individuals qualify for state, as well.

Middleton won the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional on May 26 and earned a trip to the state team tournament that.

The Cardinals finished with 47 points and edged runner-up Arrowhead, 47-43, for the team title. Sussex Hamilton was third with 34 points, while Waunakee (28) was fourth.

The state team tournament will be held June 10-11 at Nielsen Tennis Stadium in Madison.

Middleton (18-2) received the No. 2 seed and opens against seventh-seeded Menomonee Falls (14-3) on June 10. If the Cardinals win there, they’d face either third-seeded Neenah or sixth-seeded Eau Claire Memorial (16-6) in the semifinals.

Defending state champion Brookfield East is the No. 1 seed and the favorite to win a second straight crown.

Wed
01
Jun
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Baseball Cards win playoff opener

Survive and advance.

Really, at this time of the year, that’s all that matters.

Middleton’s baseball team wasn’t at its best Tuesday afternoon. But the host Cardinals did enough to topple Tomah, 3-1, in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal.

The fourth-seeded Cardinals advanced to face fifth-seeded La Crosse Central in a regional final Thursday at 5 p.m. in Middleton. If the Cardinals (17-8) win there, they’ll advance to the Waunakee Sectional on June 7, where their first game would be at 11 a.m.

Middleton senior pitcher JT Hockers was brilliant against Tomah, throwing a complete game and allowing just one run. Hockers gave up six hits, struck out eight, didn't walk a batter and threw strikes on 57 of 75 pitches (76.0%).

The Cardinals were quiet offensively and managed just four hits. Then again, with Hockers dealing throughout, Middleton didn't need much offense.

Wed
01
Jun
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Softball Cards fall in sectional semis

Timing is everything.

And Middleton’s girls softball team picked the worst possible time for their bats to go quiet.

Monona Grove ace Karlie McKenzie allowed just three hits Tuesday evening and the second-seeded Silver Eagles downed the Cardinals, 6-0, in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal.

Sixth-seeded Middleton, which had reached sectional play for the first time since 2014, ended the year 17-11. Monona Grove advanced to the sectional finals where it will face top-seeded Sun Prairie on Thursday.

Middleton had opportunities throughout, but couldn't take advantage.

In the first inning, Jenna Redders opened the game with a base hit and later moved to second. With two outs, though, she was thrown out trying to steal third to end the frame.

In the second, Megan Button led off the inning with a single. But Linden Boycks, who was pinch running for Button, was picked off first base.

Tue
31
May
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Softball Cardinals win regional title

Erin Schleusner is what’s known as a “green light kid.”

That means Schleusner — Middleton’s senior center fielder — has earned the trust of manager Brittany Carl and has the “green light” to choose when to attack on the bases.

Last Friday afternoon, Schleusner picked the perfect time.

Middleton and Verona were deadlocked, 3-3, in the top of the seventh inning of their WIAA Division 1 regional final. With Schleusner on third base and one out, sophomore second baseman Mackenzie Zimmerman hit a ball that trickled just a few feet in front of home plate.

Verona catcher Ellie Osting looked Schleusner’s way, then threw down to first for the out. With the ball in the air, Schleusner headed for home and beat the throw back to Osting by a nano-second.

That run proved to be the difference in Middleton’s 4-3 win that gave the Cardinals their first regional championship since 2014.

Thu
26
May
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Golfers win regional title

Perfect timing.

And it’s about time.

At the conclusion of the WIAA Division 1 Madison West boys golf regional Tuesday, these were the two prevailing thoughts of Middleton head coach Tom Cabalka.

After trying to get his team to all play their best on the same given day all season, the Cardinals stepped up in their biggest round of the year.

Middleton shot a season-low 296 and won the regional held at Odana Hills Golf Course by four shots over Waunakee (300). Third-place Madison Memorial (303) and fourth place Verona (310) also qualified for the Onalaska Sectional, which will be held June 1 at La Crosse Country Club.

“It was just so good to have everybody play well on the same day,” Cabalka said. “We had three really good scores … and then to get a really solid score from our fourth golfer was huge.”

Thu
26
May
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Softball Cards survive, advance

At first glance, an illness-depleted Middleton softball team wasn’t sure what to expect in a WIAA Division 1 regional semifinal game at Firefighters’ Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Turns out the Cardinals were up for the challenge — and then some.

Senior pitcher Bailey Flock scattered four hits, and Middleton ripped 16 hits to rout La Crosse Central, 13-2, in a game that was called in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.

Sixth-seeded Middleton (16-10) advanced to play at third-seeded Verona (17-4) in a regional championship game on Thursday at 5 p.m.

With manager Brittany Carl and several players sidelined due to an illness that swept through the team last week, interim manager Scott Hammer took over running the team, and the Cardinals shuffled the lineup.

Senior shortstop Jenna Redders said that provided the Cardinals with plenty of motivation.

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