By Kevin Eickman
The Milford wrestling team entered the season with some big goals. While the season may be young, the early indications are that this team can be something special. Milford started the regular season with a 34-30 road victory against Division I Dover. It was a solid start to the week, and was just the way coach Dan Rigby wanted things to get rolling for his team.
“Going up and winning at Dover was very important for us, they were a team that beat us last year, so it was a good way to start the season,” stated Rigby.
Milford continued to impress as they hosted the Milford invitational this past weekend, placing five wrestlers in the semi-finals, while finishing third in the eighteen team field. While senior John Badger was the lone Buccaneer to advance to the finals, Rigby was pleased with his teams early season showing.
“We wrestled well in the tournament,” said Rigby. “While we are a little disappointed with a third place finish, overall we are pleased with how we wrestled.”
Badger made the most of his opportunity in the finals, as he defeated Jake Smith of Appoquinimink by decision, to claim the title in the 145 pound weight class. “It was great to be able to win in front of my home crowd, it was very special,” commented Badger. Coach Rigby was also thrilled for Badger “John is a very hard worker. and for him to get is first tournament win here at Milford is very special,” stated Rigby.
In addition to Badger, the four other wrestlers who made it to the semi-finals were Alex Creasey, Justin Johnson, Bart Dalious and Brian Wynes. Creasey (120), Johnson (126) and Dalious (132) all won their consolation matches, earning third place finishes in the process. “Our guys wrestled very well in the consolation matches.” Rigby commented. “Those guys came back after some tough losses, and showed a great deal of determination.”
Looking forward to the season that lies ahead, Rigby thinks that there is some work to be done if the Bucs are to compete for the State Championship they covet. “While finishing third is nice, finishing behind Saint Georges shows us we have to improve if we want to win a title,” said Rigby. “I know that the guys here are willing to put in the work, so I believe we can improve.”
Weather had a slight impact on the tournament as William Penn dropped out due to travel concerns. It also pushed up the schedule, as matches were contested on all three mats throughout the day “We definitely had travel concerns about the teams from up north, so we thought it was best to get through the matches as quickly as possible,” Rigby said.
Other Southern Division teams that had solid showings included Lake Forest, Woodbridge and Indian River. “Those are some very solid teams that we are going to have to battle down the road, it was good to get a look at what lays ahead,” Rigby stated. Milford will get their first taste of Henlopen South action, as they travel to Woodbridge on Tuesday. The match is set to begin at 6 pm.