Sports

Wed
08
Nov
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Middleton rolls by Union Grove

GREEN BAY — In the classic 1980s video game ‘Donkey Kong’, the character Mario must climb a series of ladders to rescue his girlfriend Pauline as a giant Gorilla throws barrels at him.

When it comes to the state tournament, Middleton’s boys volleyball program has felt like Mario for years now. Only the Cardinals have had no luck dodging Donkey Kong’s barrels.

Last Thursday, the Cardinals finally got that pesky Gorilla off their backs.

Middleton, the No. 1 seed at state, cruised to a 25-11, 25-17, 25-12 win over eighth-seeded Union Grove in a quarterfinal match held at the Resch Center. The Cardinals improved to 30-3 on the season and won their first match at state since 2008.

“It’s really surreal,” said senior opposite Ambrose Engling, a Princeton recruit. “It’s really cool that we get to make this story our own and prove what we’re capable of.”

Wed
08
Nov
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Middleton tops Marquette, advances to finals

MILWAUKEE — Just one baby.

That’s all Middleton boys soccer coach Kevin Pauls asked from keeper Mikey Fussell during the WIAA Division 1 state semifinals at Uihlein Soccer Park last Friday.

The Cardinals and state power Milwaukee Marquette headed to a shootout, where each team received five penalty kicks. And Pauls told Fussell if he could stop one of the Hilltoppers’ five attempts, he believed Middleton would advance.

“If we make all ours and I stop one, we’re solid,” Fussell said.

They were.

Fussell stopped the third of Marquette’s five tries, while Middleton went a perfect 5-for-5 on its kicks. Fussell’s heroics gave the Cardinals a 5-4 win on penalty kicks in a game that officially finished in a 1-1 tie.

“You have confidence that your five are going to nail it and ours did,” Pauls said. “And you ask for a save. And if you get more than one — awesome.”

Wed
08
Nov
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MHS swimmers hope to capture gold

Middleton co-captains Tait Haag and Lily Mair are looking forward to closing out their high school swimming careers with several trips to the awards podium this weekend.

The dynamic duo, along with fellow senior Piper Garcia Hall, would like nothing better than to bring home another team trophy to the school when they compete at the WIAA Division 1 state swimming and diving meet at Waukesha South Natatorium on Saturday.

After Middleton’s boys soccer and boys volleyball teams were crowned as state champions last Saturday, could the girls swimming and diving team be next?

“The majority of the work’s done, and we’re just kind of focused together,” said Haag, a University of Kansas recruit. “We all have the same goal. We all want to perform well at the state meet. We all want to see each other perform well. This week is just about having fun and being there for one another.”

Mair agreed.

Wed
08
Nov
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MHS swimmers shine at sectionals

Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team sets some pretty lofty goals most years.

Last Saturday, the Cardinals checked two of them off their list when they hosted a WIAA Division 1 sectional.

Middleton won the 400-meter freestyle relay to rally past Verona in the meet’s final event and edged the Wildcats for the sectional title.

Senior Lily Mair, junior Audrey Alexander, freshman Brynn Sundell, and senior Tait Haag touched the wall in 3 minutes, 31.59 seconds, just 0.64 ahead of runner-up Oregon (3:32.23). Verona finished third (3:32.58).

“Verona is a great team, and they swam well today,” said Haag, a co-captain who will be making her fourth straight appearance at state. “But we had a great day. I’m so proud of the girls. We’re excited for state.”

Thu
02
Nov
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Boys spikers headed to state

Ranked fifth in the state, Middleton’s boys volleyball team was the decided favorite against 10th-ranked and visiting Madison Memorial last Saturday night in a WIAA sectional championship match.

But upsets happen. Things don’t always go according to plan.

The top-seeded Cardinals, however, did not fall victim.

Middleton closed the first set on a big run, methodically took care of business in the second, then broke up a tie in the third by scoring five straight points to eventually claim a 25-14, 25-17, 25-20 victory over the second-seeded Spartans.

The Cardinals advanced to state for the 14th time overall and ninth time in the last 11 years.

“It’s a crazy feeling seeing everything unfold how you hoped and dreamed,” said setter Brody Stuttgen, who had assists on 33 of Middleton’s 75 points. “I had always hoped my senior year we would go to state, and my goal is still to win it. Our team goal is still to win it. We’re one step closer.”

Thu
02
Nov
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Soccer Cards punch state ticket

MADISON — Mikey Fussell was all smiles last Saturday afternoon at Mansfield Stadium.

Fussell had just made eight saves to help the second-seeded Middleton Cardinals earn their first trip to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament since 2016 with a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over top-seeded Hartland Arrowhead.

Fussell, Middleton’s senior goalkeeper, had waited a year to erase the frustration of coming up one match short of the boys state tournament.

“It’s been our goal since last year when we lost in the sectional finals to Verona,” Fussell said. “This year, we knew we were going to face strong competition again. It was just kind of a continuation from last year’s goal.”

Thu
02
Nov
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Verona ousts football Cardinals

VERONA — The rematch was one for the ages.

Unfortunately for Middleton’s football team, their dreams of capping the season with a state championship were dashed on a brisk, fall evening by a bitter rival.

Senior quarterback Gabe Passini engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, but second-seeded Verona held on to escape with a thrilling 28-26 victory over third-seeded Middleton in a WIAA Division 1 second-round playoff game last Friday night before a capacity crowd at Verona High School.

Verona (10-1) advanced to play at top-seeded Sussex Hamilton (11-0) in a state quarterfinal game at Hamilton High School. Sussex Hamilton defeated Hartland Arrowhead 30-28. 

Tim Simon, Middleton's co-interim coach along with Joe Poehls, said the Cardinals simply ran out of time.

“It was a great game,” Simon said. “I think we played a pretty decent football game. It came right down to the wire as we thought it would.”

Thu
02
Nov
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Middleton’s boys XC team shines at state

The final race itself might not have been quite what they hoped.

The journey, though, was one they’ll never forget.

Middleton’s boys cross country team had to replace five of its top seven runners from last year’s team that finished sixth at state. Many believed the Cardinals’ streak of 10 straight WIAA Division 1 state tournament appearances was set to end.

Hardly.

Middleton battled its way back to state for an 11th straight year. And while the Cardinals hoped for more than the 13th-place finish they settled for at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids last Saturday, no one was shedding a tear.

Instead, Middleton once again was celebrating after a season few believed was possible.

“In the end, I don't know how much more I could have asked from them,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel. “We ran well and I am proud of their efforts.”

With good reason.

Thu
02
Nov
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Chellevold races to second at state

When the girls cross country season began two months ago, Middleton sophomore Olivia Chellevold gathered with her coaches and outlined her goals.

Among them was a top-five finish at state.

“It goes without saying that she blew that goal out of the water,” Middleton co-coach Kelly Julian said.

Boy, did she ever.

At the WIAA Division 1 state meet held at Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids last Saturday, Chellevold led for most of the race. Down the stretch, though, Muskego sophomore Ella Anschutz surged to the lead and took control, and Chellevold settled for second.

Anschutz finished the 5,000-meter run in 18 minutes, 0.3 seconds, while Chellevold finished second in 18:15.2. Mackenzie Babcock of Monona Grove was third in 18:27.3.

Thu
02
Nov
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MHS swimmers win Big 8

Another year, another Big Eight Conference title.

This one was far tougher to achieve than the rest, though.

Middleton’s girls swimming and diving team won the league title last Saturday with 653 points and edged runner-up Verona (620). Madison West (404), Madison Memorial (265) and Sun Prairie West (132) rounded out the top five.

“We were very excited to win another conference championship this year,” Middleton coach R.J. Leiferman said. “It was one of the closest conference meets we have had in years, but our girls handled the pressure really well.”

A big reason for Middleton’s victory was it captured two of the three relays and all of its ‘B’ relays placed fourth, or higher.

The Cardinals’ 400-yard freestyle relay team of Audrey Alexander, Piper Garcia Hall, Brynn Sundell and Tait Haag was first, while the foursome of Isabell Frommelt, Clara Kiehl, Irene Lee and Lily Mair was fourth.

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