By Kevin Eickman
With the winter season beginning for Milford High School sports, the wrestling team will once again do battle in the Henlopen North Conference. Having the smallest enrollment in Division One places Milford at a disadvantage but with a shift to division Two on the horizon, Milford will give it their all with an eye towards the future. Last season Milford posted a 4-9 record with their only Division win coming early in the season on the road at Dover. Talking with Coach Dan Rigby, it is apparent that a youth movement is in the works.
“We will probably only be starting 3 or 4 seniors a match,” commented Rigby. “We will really be counting on the younger guys to step up.”
Two underclassmen that Rigby will be looking to contribute this year is sophomore Ben Mitzel, at 160 pounds, and sophomore Carlos Nino in the 106 class. Milford is also looking for freshman Chase Taylor to be competitive early on. “He came in here with very limited experience and he is grasping everything we throw at him.” Rigby said.
In preparation for the season Milford had two back to back scrimmages this past week, first against Wilmington Charter and then a tri-scrimmage with Polytech and Woodbridge. Coach Rigby thought the team did well in the scrimmage against Charter but stumbled in the tri-scrimmage.
“Our coaches where very enthusiastic with how we did at Charter but we were very sluggish here on Saturday,” commented Rigby, “Being able to come back on a second day is an important part of wrestling, the guys need to get used to that.”
While on the surface it looks to be a rebuilding year for Milford, that doesn’t mean that the Buccaneers do not plan on being competitive. “Obviously we have a difficult schedule but our goal for this season will be to get to .500 or better,” Rigby commented. “Our main goal will be to gain experience this season but we want to compete as well.”
Milford will be looking for senior heavyweights Derek Chilicas and Jeff Delva, considered to be among the best wrestlers in their weight class in the Henlopen Conference, to lead the underclassmen during this year’s tough schedule. “Those are two very solid wrestlers and it’s great to have them here as seniors,” Rigby said.
Senior Alvonte Drummond is also expected to perform well. “We are looking for Alvonte to have a big year. Last year just didn’t pan out for him but we hope he can come back stronger this season.” Rigby said.
Last season the goal for Drummond was to win the State Championship, a goal he failed to achieve and he hopes to rectify it this season. “I think that I need to be tougher mentally, I have been working on that since the end of last season,” said Drummond. Drummond has set his goals high for this season and believes that if everything goes well he can claim some major titles. “Obviously the first goal is for the team to do well but I believe I am capable of winning any tournament that I am in.” Drummond said.
Milford opens the season Saturday, December 1, at the Polytech invitational. Next they will travel to Woodbridge on the 5th before hosting the 16 team, two day Milford invitational on December 7 and 8.