Named Team of the Year
In another exciting year of high school sports, the Milford Buccaneers wrestlers won a remarkable fifth straight Division II Dual Team wrestling championship.
The Buccaneers have ruled DII wrestling throughout the state, and continued in 2018, earning Team of the Year honors.
“I do have to say that winning never gets old,” said head coach Don Parsley after winning last year. “It was great to see 14-plus individuals come together as one. That in itself was the highlight of our season. I’m so proud of our team and what we’ve achieved.”
Milford finished the season with an 11-5 team mark. As the No. 3 seed in the DIAA Dual Team championships, it didn’t afford the Bucs an opening round bye in Division II. As four-time defending champs, to keep the title they would have to get by three opponents.
Ahead of the state duals, Milford had faced adversity, whether it was a couple of close losses to Henlopen North opponents or individual struggles within their lineup.
“We have overcome it all,” Parsley said. “Our team has overcome and reached the pinnacle of sport, winning our fifth consecutive DII title.”
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 to the semifinals, Milford got past Indian River, 40-29, in a rematch the previous year’s DII final. The Bucs were once again the beneficiaries of pinfall victories, with Hovington, Copes, Bevensky Augustine, Rosser, Dominic Feightner and Oscar Rosario pinning their opponents.
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.
After the state duals, Milford had 11 wrestlers qualify for the individual tournament.
In DIAA Individual Wrestling, Rosser rode the No. 1 seed at 120 all the way to the title. Rosser defeated Middletown’s Nicholas Bailey (fall), Delmar’s Matthew James (major decision), Indian River’s Ta’Jon Knight (decision 3-2) and St. Georges Tech’s Sebastian Sye (major decision) in the finals.
Rosser and Diaz were two of 14 wrestlers chosen for the 2018 All-Henlopen Conference team.
Keeping the DII title is what fueled the 2018 Buccaneers.
“There’s still nothing that compares to winning those team championships,” Rosser said. “Those are the memories that last forever; building a bond with all the guys and coming together at the end to share that accomplishment of being state champions.”
Year in Review
Led by a young core, the Lady Buccaneers cross country squad won the Henlopen South Division championship. Behind top finishers Alex Herber (28th), Sophia Sobota (62nd), Paige Thompson (63rd), Haley Thompson (66th), Kassidy Willey (69th), Anna Hatfield (88th) and Stephanie Cabrera-Ruiz (97th), Milford took ninth in Division II DIAA Cross Country tournament competition.
On the links, Kyle Strassle was a golf team standout, closing out a strong season with a ninth-place finish at the DIAA Golf championships.
Milford sent three teams to the postseason. While the wrestling team took home a fifth title, the softball and boys lacrosse teams also qualified for the playoffs.
The Lady Bucs entered the season as defending champs, but ended the year 9-9. As the No. 16 seed in the state tournament they were eliminated in the opening round.
Meanwhile, boys lacrosse went 12-3 overall, earning the No. 8 seed in the DIAA tournament, where they also fell in the first round.