Saturday night the Milford Buccaneers won their fifth team wrestling state title in a row, defeating No. 1 seed Laurel in the finals of the 2018 DIAA Dual Team Wrestling State Championships at Smyrna High School.
Milford entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, needing to come away with wins against three teams to keep their championship.
In the opening round, the Buccaneers breezed by Woodbridge, 51-23, thanks to pinfall victories by Khiry Hovington, Gaij Copes, Anthony Diaz, Jacob Bryant, Corey Messick, Trenton Grant, Robbie Rossier and Jordan Passwaters.
Moving on to the semifinals, Milford got past Indian River, 40-29, in a rematch of last year’s DII final. The Bucs were once again the beneficiaries of several pinfall victories against the Indians, with Hovington, Copes, Bevensky Augustine, Rosser, Dominic Feightner and Oscar Rosario pinning their opponents to help Milford advance to the finals with a shot at defending their title.
In the finals, Milford met No. 1 seed and Henlopen South Division Champion, the Laurel Bulldogs.
Laurel took control early after wins by Rae’Mier and Rae’Sheed DeShields before the Bucs rallied off three straight wins from Bennett (Major Decision) Diaz (Decision) and Messick (Technical Fall).
Down the stretch Laurel got big victories from Perkens Augustin, Isaiah Jenkins and Woo Fosque, but Milford closed out the round with a Welinton Rosario pinfall win and a major decision win from Khiry Hovington to help the Buccaneers keep their championship another year.
Milford remains the top dog in Division II winning their fifth straight title and their third straight under Head Coach Don Parsley.
In the Division I bracket, the Caesar Rodney Riders won their first DI title since 2012, surviving the No. 1 seeded Smyrna Eagles in the finals.
CR and Smyrna traded wins early on in the finals, until late wins by Michael Primo, Cameron Hayes, Ben Anderson and Jackson Dean put the Riders in the driver seat with just two matchups to go.
Dean’s pin-fall win at 145 put the Eagles in must-pin situations in the final two matches. First up was Greg Baum who earned a pin-fall win over CR’s Riley Tracy, setting up a nerve-racking final match for both sides.
With the title on the line, Mikel Abdullah held off Smyrna’s JT Davis, falling to the Eagle standout by decision, 7-2, but avoiding a pin-all loss to give the Riders their ninth title since 1993.
CR began their journey in the opening round, defeating Blue Hen Flight A Champions St. Georges Tech, 46-21, powered by pinfall victories from Abdullah, Sam Ervin and Cameron Hayes.
In the semifinals, the Riders battled it out with Salesianum, winning 38-25. Abdullah, Hicks, Brenden Holder, Kevin Hudson, Patrick Wisniewski, Primo and Dean all came away with decision wins, while Hayes and Anderson had pinfall wins to help send CR to the finals.
As the No. 1 seed, Smyrna received an opening round bye before knocking off Sussex Central, 46-11, in a rematch of last year’s DI final. JT Davis, Tony Wuest, Hunter Moyer and Jaxson Al-Chokhacky all had pinfall wins over Sallies, while Dakota Kerr, Josh Dailey, Brent Young, Joey Natarcola, Drew Mayhall, Ryan Kelley and Logan Kosky all had decision victories helping Smyrna advance to the final.