By Kevin Eickman
With Milford completing the 2013 spring sports season, it brings to an end another exciting year of Buccaneers sports. Starting in the fall, with a thrilling 20-19 football victory over Concord. Then coming to an end with a heartbreaking 6-5 softball defeat at Padua, in the state tournament. It was a year that once again made the Milford faithful proud. We will be taking a look at the just completed spring season, and recognizing those athletes who stood out during the course of the season.
Girls Soccer: The Milford girls soccer team had a solid season, coming tantalizing close to qualifying for the State tournament. When the dust had settled, the Lady Bucs missed out by .003 points. Finishing with a 9-5-1 record, Milford coach Keith Short was proud of this years squad. “This was a great bunch of girls to coach, they gave it everything they had this season,” commed Caoch Short.
Next years squad will be vastly different in many regards, as a pair of four year starters have graduated. After starting out on defense, Brooke Hughes found her place as the Lady Bucs goalkeeper. A force in the net, and providing leadership and guidance to the defense, Hughes will be difficult to replace “Brooke has been a pleasure to coach, she is a true leader.” Short stated. The centerpiece of of the Milford attack has been Rebekah Yanacek. She has stood out from her arrival on the team, and this year was a goal scoring machine. She provided leadership, and demonstrated outstanding team spirit all season long. Yanacek battled nagging injuries all season long, yet answered the bell each time she was needed. For that Rebekah Yanacek is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & SOn Girls Soccer Player of The Year.
Baseball: Coming off of last seasons trip to the State Championship game, the Milford Buccaneer baseball team had a tough act to follow. However, coach Nick Brannan set high standards for this squad, and this season was another solid one. Winning the Henlopen North and gaining both a tournament birth, and victory, Milford had a great many things to be proud of this season. This was a team that almost always seemed to get the big hit, whether it was senior Dylan Sammons, or the emerging sophomore Dustin Reeder, when they needed one. On the mound sophomore Garrett Coverdale provided a solid season and should be a big part of the Buccaneers next season.
There was one player who stood out for the Buccaneers this season, in more ways then one. Senior Philip Berry was a solid pitcher as well as a shortstop, when he wasn’t on the mound. Berry provided big hits all season long, as he was a force at the plate. In addition, Berry provided leadership to a young Buccaneer squad “Philip was there for us all season long,” coach Brannan stated. “Every time we needed him, he was there for us.” For these reasons Philip Berry is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Baseball Player of The Year.
Softball: The Milford softball team had an up and down season. While they were dominant early in the campaign, the team struggled as the season progressed, finishing the year with a 11-7 record, and State tournament birth. Milford was solid at the plate, with juniors Harley Rickards and Katherine Richards leading a potent Lady Bucs offense. These girls were not alone, as this young squad demonstrated an offensive prowess throughout the season. Another contributor at the plate, was lone senior Lindsay Siok. Not only was Siok solid at the plate, she also shouldered the load as the lone Milford starting pitcher down the stretch. Siok battled her heart out and kept the Bucs in almost every game she pitched. While the results may not have been what she wanted, this young lady displayed class and dignity under adverse conditions. For that, Lindsay Siok is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Softball Player of The Year.
Girls Track and Field: Year after year the Milford track and field teams continue to excel. So while by Milford standards this season may have had the appearance of an on year, the Bucs put together a solid season in track and field finishing at 9-4. The girls 800 meter relay team was strong for the Bucs all season. With Destiny Sivels, Alexis Groce, Davida Johnson and Diamond Turner finishing in fifth place at the Henlopen Championships. Sophomore Davida Johnson is on the verge of becoming a force in the long jump, posting a career best 17′ 4” at the Meet of Champions. In the field events junior Shadaya Lowery showed improvement all season long in both the shot put and discus events, and will be an athlete to watch next season. Junior Lay’ana Bryant continues to improve in the pole vault, tying a school record of nine feet. This season there was one girls track athlete that got better and better as the season progressed. She demonstrated versatility and leadership, and each time she took to the track, her times improved. In her final event, at the meet of Champions Alexis Groce posted a school record 2:15.99 in the 800 meters, this on the heels of her State and Conference titles. For this Alexis Groce is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Girls Track and Field athlete of The Year.
Boys Track and Field: Milford finished the season with an 8-5 record, a season that demonstrates how Czar Bloom continues to raise the bar. While the track did not reach there usual level of expectations, they had some individual athletes who stood out. Senior Henry Phalen was another athlete who just continued to improve, and it was great to see how his hard work paid off. Henlopen Conference Champion, fifth place in the State Championships, Phalen saved his best for last at the Meet of Champions. Posting a school record of 9:3523. Senior James Hagen continued to develop in the pole vault, hitting 13 feet, good enough for a second place finish at the State Championships. Of all the Milford track and field athletes, sophomore Ryan Thomas stood head and shoulders above the rest. Finishing the season undefeated, Ryan set the Division I meet record in the triple jump of 49’3”. Thomas also won the long jump title and continues to show promise in the high jump. For this Ryan Thomas is selected as the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Boys Track and Field athlete of The Year.