Sports

Wed
21
Apr
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Middleton golfers ready to roll

Tom Cabalka admits there are far more questions than answers.

There will be new faces up and down the lineup. There will be plenty of rust to kick off.

But after spring sports were canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cabalka and Middleton’s boys golf team can’t wait to begin their new season. The Cardinals’ first competition of the year will be Thursday at Black Wolf Run in Kohler.

“I am super excited to get back out there,” said Cabalka, Middleton’s veteran coach who has led the Cardinals to one state title and three runner-up finishes. “I'm mostly excited for the guys though. They have all had a very tough year with not a lot of activity and direct friendship. It should be a very fun season and I'll be thrilled to see their faces. It's been a long time coming.”

Perhaps no program in the state was as devastated to lose the 2020 season as Middleton.

Wed
21
Apr
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Middleton routs Beloit — again

In this unmatched and unprecedented alternate-fall football season, it can be hard sometimes to tell how your team is progressing.

In Middleton’s case, there are only four teams on the schedule — and the Cardinals will play three of them twice. So perhaps the best way to determine growth is by comparing Round 1 vs. Round 2.

If that’s a reasonable barometer, it’s safe to say Middleton is evolving quite nicely.

The Cardinals rolled past host Beloit Memorial, 49-6, on April 16. Middleton was much smoother offensively and just as sound on defense as it was in a 38-0 win over the Purple Knights on March 26.

Middleton improved to 3-1 this spring, while Beloit fell to 0-4.

“I think we’ve gotten better each week,” Middleton coach Jason Pertzborn said. “And that was the challenge this week, especially to the offense. We can’t be satisfied with what we did a few weeks ago. And our guys bought in and took care of business.”

Wed
21
Apr
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Girls golfers are rolling

These are unprecedented times for girls golfers playing an alternate-fall season this spring.

Instead of coming off a summer schedule with their games in top form, there’s a lot of rust to knock off from a winter of inactivity.

Middleton is handling the challenge with aplomb, though.

The Cardinals had three competitions last week, and won them all. Middleton beat Madison Memorial in a dual meet on April 12, won a triangular on April 14 and defeated Sheboygan North in a dual meet on April 15.

“The entire team is playing well,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “We are really proud of them. It’s very clear they are all appreciating the time they have been provided to compete.”

Middleton rolled past Madison Memorial, 333-455. Vivian Cressman and Ellie Frisch led the Cardinals with 82s, while Glenna Sanderson shot an 84 and Amanda Beckman carded an 85.

Wed
21
Apr
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Soccer Cards drop two of three

Middleton’s boys soccer team dropped two of three games last week.

Verona defeated the Cardinals, 5-3, on April 13, and Sun Prairie bested Middleton, 3-1, on April 15. The Cardinals rebounded with a 4-0 win over Neenah on April 17.

“Overall the week was tough, but we gained some knowledge and will learn from our errors,” Middleton coach Kevin Pauls said.

The Cardinals are now 2-2-1.

Here’s a recap of Middleton’s week:

• Verona 5, Middleton 3 — The host Wildcats scored the final three goals of the game and prevailed.

Middleton got goals from Ezra Joseph, Ben Tutewohl and Chris VandenBoom to take a 3-2 lead in the 54th minute. Joseph also had a pair of assists.

But Verona scored three goals in the next 22 minutes and rallied for the win.

Wed
21
Apr
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XC teams second at Green Bay Preble

Middleton’s cross country teams both finished second at the Green Bay Preble Triangular last Saturday.

On the boys’ side, Preble won the meet with 29 points. Middleton was second with 34 and Pulaski was a distant third (69).

“We knew going in this was going to be a tough challenge,” Middleton coach Brian Finnel said. “Preble is consistently a top-10 program in Wisconsin. The boys raced well, but were a bit tired I could tell going into this one.

“I think that was a good learning experience for all of us — myself included. While this wasn't the end all, be all, it would have been great to get the win. Hats off to Preble, they are a great team. I hope we get to see them again down the road.”

Sat
17
Apr
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Middleton spikers settle for second

KAUKAUNA — Cole Sweitzer couldn't look.

Neither could Ruben Emmerich.

The two Middleton boys volleyball standouts sat on the end of their bench Saturday evening and put their heads down. At the other end of Kaukauna High School, Kimberly was receiving its gold trophy and individual medals after winning the WIAA state championship.

And Emmerich, Sweitzer and many of the Cardinals kept thinking about what could have been.

“It was difficult to watch,” said Sweitzer, a junior outside hitter. “We were really hoping to end on a higher note. We just couldn’t get it done.”

The Cardinals came awfully close, though.

Middleton battled nerves and inconsistency and dropped the first two sets. The Cardinals mounted a spirited rally, but Kimberly simply had too much firepower and eventually posted a 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 25-23 win.

Fri
16
Apr
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Tennis Cardinals headed to state

Middleton girls tennis coach Matt Given admittedly doesn’t worry all that much about final results.

Instead, Given just asks his team to give him everything they have — and the rest will take care of itself.

That was certainly the case at the Monona Grove Sectional on April 14.

Middleton took first place in six of seven flights and was the runaway winner of the sectional. The Cardinals finished with 53 points to easily outdistance runner-up Madison West (36).

Middleton sent four players to the individual state tournament, which will be held Thursday and Friday at Lake Geneva Tennis Club and Badger High School. The Cardinals that advanced to individual state are singles players Netra Somasundaram and Sophia Agapov, and doubles teams Karsen Dettman/Noor Rajpal and Rose Ryan/Cece Hujanen.

Thu
15
Apr
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Boys spikers one step from state title

Ruben Emmerich didn’t let anything get in the way of Middleton’s quest for a berth in the WIAA boys volleyball state finals.

The senior middle hitter played the role of the terminator when he slammed home the match’s opening kill and followed it up with a dominating defensive presence at the net.

Emmerich had plenty of help as Middleton rolled past Racine Case, 25-21, 25-13, 25-21, in a sectional final Tuesday evening.

The Cardinals advanced to Saturday’s state championship match against Kimberly in Kaukauna at 4 p.m. It’s Middleton’s first-ever trip to the state finals.

“It’s awesome,” said senior setter Nick Stott, who finished with 38 assists. “Ever since we heard that we were going to have a season again, this is what I have been dreaming for, to be able to play at state, especially after our loss (in the sectional finals) last year.

Thu
15
Apr
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Sun Prairie topples Middleton

As captain of one of the area’s top defenses, Middleton senior Coleton Rogeberg had a difficult time summing up defeat Friday night at Breitenbach Stadium. 

His unit stuffed the run and for the most part stymied the opponent’s aerial attack. The problem, however, was that the opponent’s defense — quite possibly the area’s finest — played even better and lived up to its early-season hype. 

“I think we played our heart out,” Rogeberg said after the Cardinals fell 17-3 to Sun Prairie during a Big Eight Conference prep football game. “We knew their defense was good coming in. We just kept fighting, trying to do our best with what we had.” 

Middleton (2-1 overall) held Sun Prairie (3-0) to just 183 total yards, but couldn’t get anything going on offense. And the main culprit was simply its opponent.  

Thu
15
Apr
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MHS swimmers second at state

It was a tenuous, fragile and unpredictable girls swimming and diving season.

When it was over, though, Middleton was right where it always is — near the top of the state.

Madison Edgewood won the state title with 350 points, while the Cardinals were second with 286. Sun Prairie (233), Appleton North (159) and Oshkosh West (125) rounded out the top five in a meet held at Waukesha South High School on April 6.

“Finishing second was a big accomplishment for these girls,” Middleton coach Lauren Cabalka said. “We absolutely knew we could do it if we showed up and swam the way we are capable of. 

“Edgewood is a very talented team, especially in a state meet format. So we would have had to do something pretty incredible — and they would've had to be very off — in order to take that top spot.”

The Cardinals didn’t win a single event, but used several top-five finishes to push the mighty Crusaders.

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