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Zanton, MHS wrestlers shine at Sauk

PRAIRIE DU SAC – Freshman Sam Zanton likes quick matches.

Last Saturday, the Middleton 138-pounder displayed glimpses of why he is a rising star.

Zanton pinned three of his four opponents, finished third individually and paced Middleton to a 12th-place finish at the 24-team Eagle Invitational hosted by Sauk Prairie High School.

“That was the highest finish for us today, the highest finish in a tournament for him so far,” Middleton coach Joe Miller said. “He beat two kids who were seeded higher than him. His only loss was to the runner-up.

“Sam just keeps getting better and better. Probably one of our hardest workers, maybe the hardest worker. There’s no quit in him. He just fought today. He beat two really good kids in the quarterfinals and then in his third-place match.”

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MHS swimmers keep on rolling

Two-week layoffs.

High level opponents.

None of it seems to slow down Middleton’s boys swimming team.

The Cardinals have tackled every challenge that’s come their way this season and last week was no different.

Middleton won the ultra-competitive, 22-team Marquette Invite on Saturday. The Cardinals also stayed atop the Big Eight Conference by winning the Verona triple dual last Friday.

Here’s a recap of the Cardinals’ big week:

• Marquette Invitational: The Cardinals finished with 328 points and easily outdistanced runner-up Madison West (257.5) for the title. Mequon Homestead (234), Fenwick (Ill.) (232.5) and Brookfield’s co-op (190) rounded out the top-five.

“It was great to see so many of our swimmers post season-best times,” Middleton coach Wes Lagerhausen said. “That was our goal and we accomplished that and more. We had multiple first place finishes both in individual and relay events, as well.”

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Gymnasts third at Mount Horeb Invite

Middleton’s gymnastics team is young and inexperienced.

It’s also getting better every time it goes to compete.

The Cardinals finished third at the seven-team Mount Horeb Invite last Saturday. Middleton competed in the Red Division, which consisted of strictly Division 1 teams.

Verona/Madison Edgewood won the team title with a score of 145.050, while Sun Prairie West/East (137.6750) and Middleton (125.1250) rounded out the top three.

“For our first invite of the season, I am so incredibly proud of how the girls did,” Middleton coach Alexis Lindahl said. “We have a very young varsity team, three of which have never competed in an invite before. I know the girls were nervous going in, but their hard work truly paid off.”

Middleton had three of the top-10 finishers in the all-around competition. Freshman Ana Bollig was sixth (32.625), freshman Eva Szczepanski was eighth (30.750) and freshman Abby Arnold was 10th (29.950).

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Hockey Cards win two of three

Middleton’s hockey team had a solid week, winning two of three games.

The Cardinals toppled Waukesha, 4-1, on Jan. 3 and defeated Beloit Memorial, 6-0, on Jan. 5. But Madison Memorial upended Middleton, 5-4, in overtime on Jan. 7.

The Cardinals are now 11-4 overall and tied for second in the Big Eight Conference with the Spartans at 5-2. Verona leads the league with a 7-1 conference record.

“We didn’t play much good hockey during any of the three games,” Middleton coach Dan Truehl said. “We’re dealing with illnesses running through our locker room, which makes for a new lineup card every night, but we need to be more consistent.

“Our message to the team was that we need to use that Memorial loss as a wake-up call to get us back on track, and that’s what we plan to do this week.”

Here’s a recap of Middleton’s busy week:

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Middleton tops Stoughton, stays unbeaten

STOUGHTON — Time and time again, Middleton tried to create some separation.

And Stoughton just kept nipping at the Cardinals' heels.

But in the end, the Cardinals — ranked third in the Division 1 boys basketball coaches poll — had just enough to escape and claim a 61-54, non-conference victory Saturday afternoon at Stoughton High School.

“They were shooting the lights out,” Gavin Hurley, Middleton's leading scorer coming into the contest (20.0 points per game), said of the Vikings weathering every blow his team landed in large part by connecting for 11 3-pointers. “They're good shooters, but they were making everything today.

“So we couldn't pull away, but we came away with the 'W' and that's all that matters.”

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Middleton rolls past Oconomowoc

So much for needing time to get back into a groove following a holiday break.

Middleton’s boys basketball team looked in mid-season form despite an eight-day span between games and ended the 2022 calendar year in style on Dec. 28.

Senior guard Gavyn Hurley scored a game-high 18 points, and sophomore center Will Garlock added 16 points as Middleton cruised to a 73-43 victory over visiting Oconomowoc in a non-conference game.

“We practiced the day after Christmas and have been going hard the last couple of days,” Hurley said. “This was a big game for us because our La Follette game got canceled. We wanted to come out strong.”

Middleton, ranked third in the latest coaches Division 1 poll, improved to 6-0 overall.

The Cardinals opened the game on a 16-2 run, and Oconomowoc (4-5) never got any closer than 10 points the rest of the way.

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Francois: It’s time to add the shot clock

Editor’s Note: The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association recently conducted a survey asking schools whether they supported the adoption of a 35-second shot clock.

Each school throughout the state was asked to provide one response. A total of 339 schools responded with 45.7% (155) favoring the implementation of a shot clock and 54.3% opposing it (184).

Luke Francois, a former standout athlete at Middleton High School and the Cardinals’ athletic director from 2003-2011, is the now the Superintendent at Waterford High School.

Francois has studied the pros and cons of the shot clock and recently shared his thoughts with Superintendents throughout the state, as well as the Times-Tribune. What follows is a copy of that letter.


Fellow Superintendents, 

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Jeff Kind's retirement is Middleton's top sports story of 2022

Conference championships.

State tournament appearances — and championships.

And memories to last the rest of their lives.

Middleton athletics had it all in the past year. And that meant one highlight after another.

Here's a look at Middleton's top-12 sports stories of 2022 — one for each month of the year.


1. Jeff Kind retires

As Jeff Kind mowed his lawn in past summers, he would think about the upcoming basketball season the entire time. 

Who would his starters be? Could the newcomers help? How did the Big Eight Conference look? 

Middleton’s veteran girls basketball coach pondered all scenarios.

As Kind mowed his lawn, though, in early August, basketball never crossed his mind. That’s because earlier that day, the 68-year-old Kind submitted his resignation.

After 44 years of coaching, including the last 30 at Middleton, Kind decided it was the right time to step away.

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Middleton's boys basketball team routs West

The weather has made it tough for boys basketball teams around the area to get into any type of rhythm.

You'd think it would be similar for Middleton, which played just four games in the first five weeks of the season due to weather related cancellations.

But the scoreboard continues to tell a different story.

The latest example came on Dec. 20, when the Cardinals routed visiting Madison West, 77-34. Middleton senior guard Gavyn Hurley had an enormous game with 30 points and seven steals, just one steal off the school record held by Tyree Eady.

The Cardinals improved to 5-0 overall and 5-0 in the Big Eight Conference.

Predictably, Middleton’s scheduled game with Madison La Follette two days later was postponed due to inclement weather.

“They just want to play,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “It's a long stretch from our first day together on November 14th to December 20th with only four games in.

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Swimmers win Beloit Memorial Triangular

Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team cruised to a first place finish at the Beloit Memorial Triangular on Dec. 20.

The Cardinals downed Sun Prairie West, 128-42. And Middleton bested the host Purple Knights, 135-30.

“The meet was a fun one,” Middleton coach Wes Lagerhausen said. “We mixed up our events and relays to try some new things and they raced hard. We had close races in the 200 medley relay, 100 freestyle, and 400 freestyle relay. Many achieved best times for the season and is a great trend going into winter break.”

Middleton’s 200-yard medley relay team of Theo Wolf, Nick Chirafisi, Jack Madoch and Jack Madigan finished first. The Cardinals also got a second place finish from the quartet of Max Carter, Sam Wolf, Caden Van Buren and Ben Cutler Heiderscheit.

Middleton’s foursome of Cowan Vitense, Luke Lamers, Jackson Esteves and Van Buren won the 200-yard freestyle relay.


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