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Middleton girls BB team champions again


Their climb back to the top of the Big Eight Conference probably doesn’t seem like a lengthy period to most. To Middleton’s girls basketball team, though, it felt like a lifetime.

After a brief 12-month hiatus, the Cardinals reclaimed the Big Eight Conference title Thursday night, following a 74-64 win over Madison La Follette. It was a position Middleton held from 2007-12, before slipping to fourth place a year ago.

Afterwards, the Cardinals basked in the glow of becoming league champions once again, and how their short-lived trip to the middle of the conference drove everyone a little batty.

“It’s been a long time coming.” Middleton sophomore forward Grace Douglas said afterwards. “I think we’ve really built it up this year, to the point where we know what we need to do. We have the guts to do it, therefore, we just need to do it. We were expecting it, we’re ready for it.”

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Hockey Cards win playoff opener

Bring on Madison West.


Middleton’s hockey team rolled past DeForest, 11-0, in a WIAA regional semifinal Tuesday night. The Cardinals will now meet Madison West in a regional final Thursday at Madison Ice Arena at 8 p.m.

The Regents won both games against the Cardinals this season, including a 5-0 contest last Thursday. West also edged Middleton, 3-2, on Jan. 4.

If Middleton upends West this time, it would advance to the sectional semifinals on Feb. 25 against either Madison Edgewood or Waunakee.

“Overall if are going to heat up for playoffs we have to stay out of the box, come together as a team, and really come out and not be afraid to succeed and just play hockey,” Middleton interim coach Steffon Walby said.

The Cardinals certainly did those things against DeForest.

Senior forward Jordan Carey and sophomore forward Griffin Gussel both had two goals for the Cardinals. Middleton finished with a remarkable 78 shots on goal.

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Swimmers aiming high at state

For two straight years, Middleton’s boys swimming has gone to the WIAA Division 1 state swimming meet and left with a fourth place finish.

When the Cardinals head back to the UW-Natatorium Saturday, they expect no slippage whatsoever.

Middleton suffered some heavy losses after last season. But the Cardinals have turned in another terrific year, and expect another strong showing at state.

The state diving competition begins at 10 a.m. and the swimming championships start at 3 p.m.

“Our team goal would definitely be top four at state,” Cardinals junior Rory Slattery said. “We've done it the last two years and I know we can do it again.”

Middleton senior Lars Haskins agreed.

“For our team, we've been fourth for the past two years and we would love to make it three years in a row,” Haskins said. “Everyone's excited and focused for this Saturday. It should be great!”

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Boys basketball team routs Sun Prairie

After a disappointing blowout loss to Verona, there were some big questions surrounding the Middleton boys’ basketball team.

Queries about things such as heart and toughness.

Well, any such questions should be put to rest after Middleton, playing with a chip on its shoulder, put together perhaps its finest all-around effort of the season en route to a 54-33 Big Eight Conference victory over second-place Sun Prairie last Saturday night.

“Coach (Kevin) Bavery through the week was talking about how people outside the team were questioning our heart and I think we took offense to that,” said senior forward Max Oelerich. “We played with great intensity the whole game.

“That’s basically the only thing (Bavery) wrote on the board at the beginning of the game was heart and circled it and that’s the key to the whole game. We really played with a lot of heart.”

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Girls basketball team falls to Craig


It had been 50 days since Jeff Kind and Middleton’s girls basketball team felt this way.

And after the Cardinals dropped their first game in more than seven weeks — a 63-61 setback at Janesville Craig last Friday — Kind was certain of one thing.

“This is not a good feeling,” he said.

The good news for Middleton is that it can still reach all of its goals this season.

The Cardinals fell to 17-3 overall and 15-1 in the Big Eight Conference. Middleton leads second-place Verona (18-2, 14-2) by one game and can clinch at least a share of the conference title with a home win Thursday against Madison La Follette.

Middleton — which has won six of the last seven league titles — can also still capture an outright conference title by winning its final two games. And Kind — who heads to his postseason seeding meeting Sunday — is still in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed in his regional.

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Wrestlers send 12 to sectionals

Call them the Dynamic Dozen.

Or perhaps the Terrific Twelve.

Oh yeah, and also call them sectional participants.

Middleton’s wrestlers enjoyed a terrific day at their own regional Saturday. The Cardinals finished second as a team and sent 12 of their 14 entries onto Saturday’s Waunakee Sectional, which begins at 10 a.m.

“I’m happy with that,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said of qualifying 12 individuals for sectionals. “Every year we seem to get a few more through.

“Last year we had 10 and now we’re at 12. That makes us happy.”

Sauk Prairie won the meet with 248.5 points, while Middleton was second at 197.0. DeForest was third (180.0), followed by Waunakee (176.5), Madison West (115.0), Madison East (64.0) and Madison Memorial (3.0).

The top four finishers at regionals advanced to sectionals. Only the top two finishers at sectionals move on to the state tournament, while runs from Feb. 27-March 1.

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Gymnasts hope to shine at Big 8 meet

It’s been an up and down campaign for Middleton’s girls gymnastics team.

A season filled with enough injuries to rival the Green Bay Packers.

But with the postseason here, the Cardinals are returning to full health. And now, Middleton plans to make its move.

The Cardinals will be at the Big Eight Conference meet Saturday. The event begins at 10 a.m. at Madison Memorial.

Middleton has won the last two conference championships, and has every intention of making it a three-peat.

“I think our conference has been much more competitive than we have seen in previous years,” Middleton third-year coach Kari Steck said. “But I think that (we) thrive off of that competitiveness. It helps push the girls to work harder, learn new skills, and make their routines more difficult.”

The Big Eight has been much improved this season, and the Cardinals will certainly be challenged at the conference meet.

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Boys BB team earns No. 3 seed


Middleton’s boys basketball team received the No. 3 seed in its regional. The Cardinals (11-9 overall, 9-8 in the Big Eight) will open the postseason Feb. 28 when they host sixth-seeded Madison La Follette (10-11, 7-10) in a regional semifinal.

Madison Memorial (18-3, 16-1), which clinched its 11th straight Big Eight Conference title earlier this week, is the regional’s No. 1 seed. Sun Prairie (13-8, 11-6) is the No. 2 seed, followed by Middleton, Madison West (10-10, 8-8), Verona (11-10, 8-9), Madison La Follette, Oconomowoc (8-12, 5-8 in the Little Ten), Madison East (6-15, 4-13) and Watertown (6-14, 4-9 Little Ten).

The regional finals will be held March 1. The sectional semifinals are March 6 in Verona and the sectional finals are March 8 in Burlington.

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Time running out on boys basketball team


VERONA — Time is winding down quickly.

Head coach Kevin Bavery is begging, screaming and pleading for consistency. Yet it’s nowhere to be found, and those inside Middleton’s boys basketball program wonder if it can still be discovered at this extremely late date.

The Cardinals had their most disappointing effort of the season Thursday in a 67-50 loss at Verona. Afterwards, Middleton senior standout Derek Rongstad piggy-backed Bavery’s plea, insisting time is precious, and the Cardinals’ bad habit of occasional off nights must end immediately.

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Hockey Cards hoping to get hot

Their year has been filled with chaos and craziness.

There’s been enough drama for their own reality television show.

But with the postseason nearing, things inside Middleton’s hockey program have settled down nicely.

And now, the Cardinals have one overriding thought: Why not us?

“They always say, ‘Beware of the wounded animal,’ ” Middleton interim coach Steffon Walby said. “Well, that could be the Cardinal this year.”

Middleton won a pair of games last week, marking its first two-game winning streak since Dec. 7.

The Cardinals rolled past Madison La Follette/East, 16-1, last Tuesday. Middleton followed that with a 5-4 overtime win over Waunakee last Saturday, which was one of its most impressive victories of the season.

Middleton improved to 10-10-2 overall and moved into a third-place tie in the Big Eight Conference at 7-4-2.


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