By Kevin Eickman
One way to describe wrestling is as a team sport, determined by individual results. While it is easy to think a meet will come down simply to wins and losses, it also can come down to some of your weaker wrestlers not getting pinned. Just holding on so you can take advantage of the strengths of your team in various weight classes.
Milford rode that philosophy to the Division II championship on Tuesday night, however this past weekend brought a much stiffer challenge with the Henlopen Championships. With powerhouse teams such as Smyrna, Cape Henlopen and Caesar Rodney in the competition, it presented a more difficult challenge as the Bucs hosted the two day event.
The Buccaneers’ junior Jarek Lugo and senior John Badger advanced to the finals this past Saturday night. While Lugo would have to settle for second place, Badger took advantage of his final time wrestling on his home turf. In a tense 138 pound battle against highly regarded Tyreq Nelson of Woodbridge, Badger said goodbye to his wrestling home of four years with a tense 1-0 decision.
Talking with Badger after the contest, he had nothing but compliments for his opponent. “Nelson is a fantastic wrestler, I knew it was going to be tough to beat him,” Badger said. “It was in doubt until the very end, I’m glad I was able to hold him off.” Badger was also aware that this would be his last time ever wrestling at Milford. “To win here on my home turf was just great,” stated Badger.
With Badger claiming the title and Lugo finishing second, Milford also had a few other wrestlers finish on the podium with third place showings. Freshman Alex Creasey at 106 pounds and senior Justin Johnson at 126 pounds, both earned third place medals.
The Bucs posted a respectable, fifth place team finish in the tournament. Not exactly what coach Dan Rigby had hoped for but not a poor showing by any means “We had a tough first day, with some guys having a tough time responding after such an emotional week,” Coach Rigby said. “All in all we did pretty well all things considered.”
Next up for many of the Buccaneers will be the State Individual Championships, held next weekend at Cape Henlopen High School. With several wrestlers qualified for the event, Rigby hopes his team puts in a good showing against the best wrestlers in the state. “We have some guys that can do well, I hope a good week of work pays off for them.” Rigby concluded.