The Milford Buccaneers have dominated the Henlopen South and Division II wrestling going on six years now.
They once again clinched their division title before taking a sixth straight state championship. Where this year’s Milford team ranks against past teams is a fair question.
“This is a question that I get every year from my wrestlers, it’s a difficult one to answer,” said head coach Don Parsley. “Certainly they have to rank among the best, winning the Southern Division and finishing the dual-meet season winning a sixth consecutive state title.”
Milford capped off their final season before a move to Division I next winter with strong performances at the DIAA Individual Wrestling state championships at Cape Henlopen.
Overall, six Milford wrestlers placed, including Corey Messick, Jack Thode, Gage Copes, Anthony Diaz, Bevensky Augustine and Rafael Mejia.
Messick, Thode, Copes and Diaz all placed as runners-up in their respective weight classes, while Augustine took fourth and Mejia placed sixth.
When it comes to building a program into not only one that can contend in the tough Henlopen Conference but also state-wide, it’s not something that happens overnight. It’s a grind, one that Milford has embraced each and every season with positive results.
“This team collectively has made the greatest sacrifices during the off season to have success,” Parsley said. “Open mats, spring and summer tournaments and wrestling camp are among the choices that they have made to set themselves apart from not just previous Milford teams, but
most teams in Delaware and it’s evident in the achievements that we have earned.
“Each and every wrestler has really worked hard to allow our accomplishments to come true.”
Throughout their time in Division II, the Buccaneers have competed like a Division I team, something that should pay dividends next season.
A reason for optimism is the returning talent, since all of Milford’s place finishers at this year’s individual state championships were underclassmen, meaning they’ll be back in the fold come next year.
“It’s always nice to have returning conference and state place winners, they set the tone for future success,” Parsley said. “Though, the real key for our continued success is what they will do during this off season-if they continue to work and aspire to achieve greatness, that is something that will come to them.
“It will take a unified effort for Milford wrestling to continue to be at the top of the leaderboard. As we move to Division I, I look forward to the challenge as we prepare for next season.”