Last season was another standout campaign for the Milford Buccaneers wrestling program. They once again repeated as Henlopen South and Division II Dual Team State Champions and saw five wrestlers reach the semifinals or deeper in the DIAA Individual Wrestling State Championships.
This season, the Bucs look to defend their title behind an experienced group of returning wrestlers and some exciting newcomers already showing promise.
At the end of last season, the Bucs already had their eyes on this season and improving even more.
“Winning back to back titles with this team sets us up for a third title,” said Head Coach Don Parsley said at the end of last season. “I think the biggest thing is that we can compete with anybody, our hard work and dedication is paying off.”
The Bucs lost two individual state finalists in Bart Dalious and Kenny VanVorst who both graduated, but return another in junior Robbie Rosser who makes the jump to 113 after finishing runner-up in last year’s individual state championships at 106.
Joining Rosser are seniors Bryan Wynes and Dom Hovington, who both reached the semifinals at 285 and 220 respectively along with Eric Bennett looking for a standout sophomore campaign.
Milford kicked off their season earlier this month, placing second at the annual Polytech Invitational, just one point behind first-place Dover.
The Bucs took home three titles at the Polytech tourney, all by pin-fall. Rosser took the title at 113, defeating Anthony Rispoli of William Penn, Hovington pinned Laurel’s Preston Gravenor at 220 and freshman newcomer won the title at 182, knocking off RaeMier DeShields, also of Laurel.
Three other Milford wrestlers finished in runner-up positions, returning senior Alex Creasey fell to Dover’s Nic Lee at 145, Bennett lost to DMA’s Joe Scalia and another newcomer, freshman Anthony Diaz fell to Lake Forest’s Jordan Springer at 285.
Last weekend, the Bucs hosted their annual invitational, which was won by Sussex Central leading a group of standout Division I programs.
The Golden Knights took home four titles, while fellow DI schools Middletown and defending Division I State Champion Smyrna both took home three titles a piece.
Milford ended the tournament with three title of their own, as Rosser, Wynes and Augustin all won their respective weight classes.
With another tough schedule ahead of them, that not only includes the usually tough Division II opponents, but also features top Division I programs like Smyrna, Cape Henlopen, Caesar Rodney and Dover, the Bucs hope to keep prestige of their program going.
“It brings me great pride that we are considered one of the top schools,” said Parsley. “The credit really goes to the wrestlers and their families and the entire coaching staff - as we are all fully committed to our success. The wrestlers and their families support our goals and make a tremendous effort during the offseason to make this happen.”
The Bucs will open up their dual-meet schedule tonight at home, hosting Woodbridge. The matchup will be the first regular season meet for the Blue Raiders as well after participating in both the Bulldog Invitational at Brandywine High School and the Milford Invitational this season.
After taking on Woodbridge, the Bucs will take part in one of the premiere wrestling events not only in Delaware but throughout the east coast, the Beast of East Tournament to be held at the University of Delaware this Friday and Saturday.
Milford will take part in three more tournaments the rest of the way, the Battle at the Beach (@ Indian River 12/29), the Delmarva Duals (@ James M. Bennett High (Md.) 1/6 through 1/7) and the War on the Shore (@ Stephen Decatur High School (Md.) 1/13 through 1/14).