By Kevin Eickman
This was another great year for Milford sports, with numerous athletes standing out over the course of the year. This incredible difficult choice came down to three athletes, all of whom gave fans of the Buccaneers reason to be proud.
If you are a fan of Milford athletics, chances are you know who Philip Berry is. The Buccaneer senior was a vital part of four different teams. Competing in soccer, football, swimming and baseball, there was one word that was consistently associated with Berry; “leader”. No matter what team he was a part of, Berry provided enthusiasm and leadership to those teams. Talking to coach Nick Brannan after baseball season, he summed it what Berry meant to the squad “Philip was there for us all season long. Every time we needed him, he was there for us.”
Another athlete who deserves tremendous recognition is senior Alvontae Drummond. The Milford wrestler committed himself to earning a State title this season and with his hard work and dedication accomplished that task. However, there is much more to it then just winning a championship that makes Drummond stand out. He is the Milford career leader in wrestling wins, as well as a class individual.
There are athletes that come around once in a very rare while and junior Ryan Thomas is one of these special people. In the inaugural season of the Richard Y. Johnson & Son Athlete of The Year Award, presented by MilfordLIVE.com, Ryan Thomas received the honor. Talking with Czar Bloom at the State Championships this spring, it was obvious that Thomas is someone different. “It’s an incredible reflection on the pride he takes in his craft, all the hard work he puts into it, has contributed to his beautiful season,” Bloom stated. The beautiful season Bloom was talking about was an undefeated year, that saw Thomas eclipse the school record in the triple jump, on his way to setting the D-1 championship meet record of 49′ 3”. Thomas also won the D-1 title in the long jump, and finished third in the high jump.
Catching up with Thomas, we had a chance to get to know him a little better. Talking about being named athlete of the year, Thomas stated “I was kind of surprised, this isn’t a sport that a whole lot of people pay attention to.”
Thomas got started in track and field during middle school, after watching his cousin Jason Harper compete in track and field for the Buccaneers. He credits Harper, who now competes at D-1 Mississippi State with being a key factor in his track endeavors to this point. “My cousin has been a real inspiration to me, he has taught me so much about competing,” stated Thomas.
Thomas is looking forward to his senior year at Milford, as well as college beyond that. His favorite subject is math and he is still trying to figure out what he wants to study in college. “I want to study kinesiology or engineering, I haven’t decided yet,” Thomas said. Judging from the effort he puts in on and off the track, it’s a good bet Thomas will be successful whatever he chooses.