MHS Winter Athletes Celebrated
By Kevin Eickman
While Milford failed to qualify any teams for State tournament participation, there were plenty of thrilling moments during the just completed sports season. We now take a look back at the accomplishments of the winter sports teams and the individuals who had seasons worthy of recognition.
Boys Basketball: Talking to coach B.J. Joseph before the season, it was easy to tell that he was concerned about how his team would perform this season. Starting the season down players due to injury and academic reasons, the Buccaneers got off to a miserable 0-6 start to the season. However, with each passing game this young squad got a little healthier and began to work together as a squad. Failing to qualify for the State tournament due to a tie-breaker, there is unfinished work remaining for this young squad. Milford could return there entire starting lineup next season, as every one of these players was an underclassmen.
Climbing out of their horrible start, Milford posted an 11-9 record. To do this it required a great team effort. The intensity was there all season long, by every player on the court. Junior, Shakur Manzo had a clock that was always running, Shymer Hanzer, just a sophomore showed flashes of just how good a player he could become. Sophomore, Octavion Wilson came to play every night and got better as the season wore on. In the end however, it came down to two players for the Buccaneers. Sophomores Jason Parker and Tikeace Harris were the straws that stirred the drink. They formed a dynamic play-making combination that presented a challenge to any team they faced. While the decision was close, Tikeace Harris is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Boys Basketball Player of The Year.
Girls Basketball: First year coach Leona White did an admirable job with yet another young Milford squad. All season long the young Lady Buccaneers took direction well and became better with each passing game. Completing the season with a 9-1 record, White believes that this could be a team on the rise. “We should be returning all our starters next season, we are hoping to have a very successful year next year,” stated Coach White. “We got better as a team as the season went on, I think that’s important.”
One of the players who showed fantastic improvement was Diamond Turner. The Milford junior had a very solid second half of the season, becoming a presence in the paint, as she grew more comfortable with her role in coach White’s system. “Diamond showed a lot of toughness all year, it was good to see that from her,” White commented. Along with Turner, another bright spot for Milford was Myleiris Vazquez. The junior provided a solid presence on the court and always demonstrated a “take no prisoners” mentality that is to be admired. For that, Vazquez is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Girls Basketball Player of The Year.
Boys Swimming: Coach Michele McKenzie continues to inspire the Milford Girls and Boys Swim teams. They entered each meet with an enthusiasm for the sport that is contagious. This year the boys posted a deceiving 4-8 record, as they had some heartbreaking single digit loses that could have easily turned this year into a .500 record. The boys team had some solid leadership all season long. Trevor Maloney was a solid performer all season long and a recognized leader on the squad. In a close decision however, James Hagan is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc Boys Swimmer of The Year.
Girls Swimming: The girls had a very solid season posting a solid 8-4 record. The highlight of the year was the second place showing at the Henlopen Championships. The Buccaneers had numerous swimmers that stood out all season long. Samantha Gillespie, Megan Kirkpatrick and Leigh Ann Rosetti each had solid seasons and deserve recognition.
The Buccaneers had three swimmers that where consistent winners all season long. Juniors Osi Chilton and Ali Sanders, were joined by freshman Sara Lingo as leaders of the girls’ team. Chilton won individual honors in the 200 meter individual medley at the Henlopen Championships, while Sanders finished fourth in her marquee event, the 50 meters. Lingo finished first in both the 400 meter freestyle and the 100 meter breast stroke. There was also a team relay title, with senior Jessica Downes joining Chilton, Sanders and Lingo in the 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay. With two individual conference titles and a very impressive freshman year behind her Sara Lingo is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Girls Swimmer of The Year.
Boys Indoor Track: Once again the Milford Track and Field program continues to shine. With a solid seventh place showing in the DIAA Indoor Championships, the Buccaneers promise to have another solid season this spring. Coach Czar Bloom takes pride in the team atmosphere that he fosters, so finding standout athletes can be a bit tricky. Luckily this season it was made easy, sophomore Ryan Thomas is quickly becoming a force, winning both the triple jump and the long jump, as well as a third place showing in the high jump. For that Ryan Thomas is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc Boys Track Athlete of The Year.
Girls Indoor Track: The Milford girls posted another solid season, with seniors Destiny Sivels and Alexis Groce leading the way. Sivels was the conference champ at 55 meters and finished fourth at the State meet. Groce was the Henlopen title winner at 800 meters, while also finishing fourth at the state meet. Groce has continued to improve and is a leader of a young team, for this Groce is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc Girls Track Athlete of The Year.
Wrestling: Positing a 3-7 record while competing in the tough Henlopen North, the wrestling team will be looking forward to their return to the South next season. While the record may not have been what he wanted, coach Dan Rigby had several wrestlers that had solid seasons. Juniors John Badger and John Badger along with sophomores Matt Groce and Jarek Lugo will be among many of the returning wrestlers next season, one that will find Milford as serious contenders for the Division Title.
Two senior wrestlers stood out for Milford this season. Jeff Delva got better with each passing match, finishing second at the Henlopen Championships and third at States in the 285 weight class. The other was Alvontae Drummond, who went undefeated the entire season and won both the Henlopen and State titles at 138 pounds. Drummond also become the all time wins leader for Milford with his final win at the State Championship level. For that Alvontae Drummond is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Wrestler of The Year.
Among all of the winter sports athletes, one female and one male athlete were chosen as the Richard Y. Johnson Athlete of the Fall Season for demonstrating outstanding sportsmanship and leadership. The winners of each season will be eligible for the Richard Y. Johnson Athlete of the Year Award presented at the end of the spring season by Milford Live. An award will be presented for both male and female athlete of the year. The Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Female Athlete of the Winter Season is Sara Lingo and the Richard Y. Johnson & Son, Inc. Male Athlete of the Winter Season is Alvontae Drummond.