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MHS swimmers win sectional title

VERONA — The prep work is over.

Now, Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team gets to put its training to the ultimate test at Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 state meet.

When the Cardinals dip their toes into the pool at the Waukesha South High School Natatorium, they’ll do so as the favorites. And with top seeds in three individual events, all three relays and 20 entries overall, Middleton hopes to leave the pool as champions for the second time in program history.

It’s a target on their back that they’re embracing.

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Seven wrestlers advance to sectionals

DEFOREST — When Bryce Falk sets his mind on accomplishing a goal, nothing will stand in his way.

Last fall, it was navigating his way into the end zone as an all-Big Eight Conference running back. During the winter, it’s piling up points on a wrestling mat with the goal of winning a state championship.

A junior co-captain, Falk won the 170-pound championship at the WIAA Division 1 DeForest Regional last Saturday, overcoming his battle with asthma along the way.

That followed up winning the Big Eight Conference title a week earlier at Sun Prairie East High School.

“I have pretty bad asthma in the winter,” Falk said. “For me to keep it easy and take breaks throughout the match really helps a lot. That’s using the injury time out, to use my inhaler. I usually don’t have any major injuries.”

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Hockey Cards hoping to get hot this postseason

Middleton’s hockey team is headed to the postseason with a full head of steam.

The Cardinals rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and defeated host Sun Prairie, 4-3, on Feb. 11.

Middleton finished the regular season 16-8 overall and in sole possession of second place in the Big Eight Conference at 9-3.

All of Middleton’s losses came against teams with winning records, a group that combined to go 132-52-4 (.713). In addition, seven of those losses were by just one goal.

“We played a really tough schedule to get us ready for the postseason,” said Middleton coach Dan Truehl, whose trying to lead the Cardinals to their first state appearance since 2011. “I wouldn’t do anything different. Now, we hope it pays off.”

That’s what the Cardinals will find out beginning this week.

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Middleton rallies past Beloit

BELOIT — Middleton sophomore center Will Garlock looked at the scoreboard last Saturday afternoon.

The clock showed just under 12 minutes. The mighty Cardinals — ranked No. 2 in the latest WIAA Division 1 state poll — trailed host Beloit Memorial, 56-45.

And admittedly, Garlock was worried.

“Yeah, it wasn’t looking real good,” Garlock said. “But we kept fighting.”

Boy, did they ever.

Middleton played some of its best basketball of the season, embarked on an 19-3 run and rallied for a thrilling 69-63 win at historic Barkin Arena. The Cardinals improved to 18-1 overall, 15-1 in the Big Eight Conference and are just one win away from clinching at least a share of the league title.

The Purple Knights, one of the most improved teams in the state since November, fell to 4-15, 2-14.

“They’re clearly an upper tier team in the league in terms of talent,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said of Beloit. “So we knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

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Gymnasts roll past Madison United

Exit on a high note.

That was Alexis Lindahl’s message to her Middleton gymnastics team last Friday.

The Cardinals hosted Madison United in their final dual meet of the season and made it an enjoyable evening. Middleton toppled United, 129.125-125.475, and closed the regular season in style.

“This last competition was a fun one,” Lindahl said. “It was our last dual of the season and I told my girls to go out there and have fun and that's exactly what they did.”

Middleton’s Eva Szczepanski was third in the all-around competition with a 32.10, while Ava Bollig was fourth (32.025).

Bollig led the Cardinals on the vault with an 8.475, while Aubrey Anderson had an 8.325, Jaelynn Kemp had an 8.10 and Szczepanski had an 8.050.

Szczepanski led Middleton on the uneven bars (8.10), while the Cardinals also counted scores from Abby Arnold (7.80), Kenavan Lindner (7.75) and Bollig (7.25).

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Bavery gets call to the Hall

It was 10 a.m. Sunday, a time when much of society is at church, breakfast or simply lounging on their off day.

Not Kevin Bavery.

“I’m watching film of Baylor,” said Bavery, Middleton’s boys basketball coach since 2006. “I like some of the things they do offensively against certain zone defenses.”

This, in a nutshell, Bavery.

Energetic. Passionate. And always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.

It’s why Bavery has lasted four-plus decades in a business that chews up and spits out most coaches. And it’s why Bavery recently received the ultimate honor when he was voted into the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

Bavery was one of 12 men voted into the Class of 2023, a group that will be honored during a banquet at the Glacier Canyon Lodge of the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells on Sept. 24.

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FEAR FACTOR: Middleton’s athletic department has become the bullies during a bullying investigation

Editor's Note: The following is opinion piece by News Publishing Co. Sports Editor Rob Reischel



Keep quiet, don’t talk to anyone. If you do talk, be prepared to face the repercussions.

This is the unofficial mantra of Middleton’s athletic department in 2023, where A.D Jamie Sims, associate A.D. Brad Crandall and athletic assistant Amy McCall are playing the parts of Tony Soprano, Paulie Gualtieri and Christopher Moltisanti.

And just think folks — this type of leadership is ONLY costing the community $263,000 a year — a price tag far higher than any other athletic department in the state. And that’s before benefits are included.

In the wake of the bullying scandal inside Middleton’s football program and the resignation of coach Jason Pertzborn, Sims and his crew haven’t looked for solutions. They haven’t attempted to solve problems.

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Middleton's girls not happy with No. 8 seed




Middleton’s girls basketball team felt all of the above when the WIAA Division 1 postseason seeds were released Sunday afternoon.

The Cardinals (13-9) received the No. 8 seed — far lower than they expected — and will host ninth-seeded Sussex Hamilton (8-14) in a regional semifinal on Feb. 24. The winner of that game would likely travel to top-seeded Brookfield East (21-2) for a regional final on Feb. 25.

“They were upset,” said Middleton coach Rashard Griffith, who had gathered his team together for a watch party. “And I think a lot of teams in our conference got bad seeds.

“But I told them, understand that this doesn't matter. The seed is the seed. We’re in the playoffs. Now it’s time to play the hand we were dealt.”

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Middleton swimmers win sectional title

VERONA — Success in the 50-yard freestyle — the likes of which Jack Madoch strives for — requires perfection.

Or near perfection, anyway.

Two laps. One there, one back.

Any little slip-up can add precious hundredths of seconds.

There were none for the senior on Middleton’s boys swimming and diving team at Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 sectional meet held at the Verona Area High School Aquatics Center — to the tune of a near-state record first-place time of 19.87 seconds.

“I was amazed,” he said of coming close to the time of 19.81 seconds that Emilio Perez of Greenfield/Greendale/Pius XI Catholic set as the state bar in 2021. “I did not think I would go that fast.

“I was hoping for a (personal) best time but to be able to go 19.8 — and that was my first time under 20 — it was lots of fun.”

The Cardinals had plenty of fun, as well.

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Middleton’s streak ends at 17

MADISON – All good things must come to an end.

For Middleton’s boys basketball team, its dream of an unbeaten season disappeared last Friday night in a raucous Madison La Follette gym.

Senior star Gavyn Hurley scored a game-high 26 points, including sinking three free throws to force overtime for the Cardinals, who rallied from a nine-point deficit 7 minutes into the second half.

But senior guard Mason Kleinsmith drilled a 3-pointer to open the extra session, and the Lancers held on for a 75-72 victory over previously unbeaten and second-ranked Middleton in a Big Eight Conference matchup.

“Overall, we played well in terms of how hard we competed,” Middleton coach Kevin Bavery said. “We certainly didn’t play our best game, but La Follette had a lot to do with it.”


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