By Kevin Eickman
The Milford Buccaneers wrestling team earned the number one seed in Tuesday’s Division II Dual meet. One of the teams they were ranked ahead of was Henlopen South runners up, the Spartans of Lake Forest. With Lake forest winning their opening round match, Milford had a rematch on their hands. As they had during the regular season, Milford started the domination early, starting at the 126 pound weight class, Milford put together four straight victories as they ran away and hid from their Henlopen rivals. By the time the dust had settled, Milford was on the winning end of a 44-16 decision and a championship match date with Saint Georges Tech in the finals.
The match with Saint Georges could not have started better for the Bucs, this time junior Bart Dalious got things started with a pin at the 1:14 mark at 132 pounds. From there Milford was once again off to the races as senior John Badger at 138 got another pin, this one coming 2:30 into his match. Just two matches in, Milford enjoyed a 12-0 advantage. They did not stop there, as senior Myron price got a decision at 145 pounds and sophomore Chase Taylor scored another pin at 152 to increase the Milford advantage.
Coming out with four wins right off the bat was huge, as it set the stage for another dominating performance. “Getting off to a quick start like that was big,” said Coach Dan Rigby. “They are a real good team over there and getting off to a start like that was important.”
Once again it was no contest for Milford, as they dominated Saint Georges. Earning a 42-20 victory, and the Division II State Championship that goes with it. “It was what we were working for all season,” senior Justin Johnson stated. “This is a real good team and we had it in our mind that we would win it.”
Watching the Milford wrestling team compete in the State dual wrestling championships was something special. Thinking about the journey this young and untested team had taken this season, it was like watching a transformation. Looking back to the beginning of the season, there was little doubt this was a talented group. One issue that was evident, was the fact that this was a young team. On Tuesday it was evident from the start, that that could not be further from the truth. Prior to their semi-final match, it was like watching a business trip. Cool, calm and collected, the Buccaneers looked confident and relaxed, as if ie was just another day at the office.
Following the meet, Rigby explained what had occurred between he and John Badger in the day preceding the meet. It was the first time in four years he had stumbled over a sentence. “I love this team, as a group they give it their all. I gave them all a note today, sharing how much I appreciated how much they had done to get us to this point,” Rigby said.“But John’s, John’s was a little bit different. We have been together from the start, and this was a day I wanted to share with him, how special I thought he was.”
Badger was thrilled that his team was able to earn the championship in his final season. “I had been working for this for four years and this season the whole team bought in.” He stated.