By Kevin Eickman
One of the priorities for Milford wrestling coach Dan Rigby was to strengthen the lineup of teams participating in the Milford Invitational wrestling tournament. Judging from this year’s tournament, Rigby is pretty much reached his goal. With arguably 7 of the top ten teams in the State of Delaware participating, the field was without a doubt formidable.
One week after finishing behind Polytech at the Polytech invitational, Milford was able to turn the tables on the Panthers to secure a second place finish. Once again the Buccaneers were lead by senior captain Jarek Lugo, who was Milford’s lone champion, winning the 120 pound weight class a week after accomplishing the same feat up at Poly.
Lugo’s match was a test of wills with Sanford eighth grade student Dante Immediato. While Lugo was in control for most of the match, his 1-0 lead was precarious. With time running down, the impressive Immediato was able to square the match with just 26 seconds left. It looked as if the match would be heading for overtime. With time running down, the eighth grader made his one mistake of the match, and it cost him dearly. Diving for Lugo’s leg, Immediato left himself exposed, Lugo took advantage of the mistake and was able to score a two point take-down. The two points would secure the victory for Lugo and with it the championship. “As soon as I felt the shot [diving at the leg], I knew it wasn’t the best and I could get him with the crossface and get around and get my two points.” Lugo stated.
Talking with Lugo after the match, he was happy that he was able to come away with the victory in his final Milford Invitational. “Winning on my home turf, it feels great,” Lugo stated. Lugo also likes what the results say about where the team is at. “Everyone’s tired and we’re wearing down a bit, and being able to hang on for second is great,” Lugo said. When asked about what the early season results meant for the program, Lugo responded, “This says we are growing and you need to watch out for Milford wrestling.”
Talking with Rigby following the tournament it is clear that he believes his team still has some work to do over the next few months. “While second place was good considering the level of competition, we left some matches out there,” Rigby said. “If you want to take that next step, you can’t leave wins out there.” While some of the younger wrestlers might be expected to leave a few points out there, the fact that some of the more experienced wrestlers didn’t perform up to expectations bothered Rigby. “Those guys needed to finish their matches, just a few little mistakes here and there can add up,” stated Rigby. “These are things that can be fixed and I know they will work hard and get it done.”
Milford also had two second place finishers in junior Kenny Vanvorst at 195 pounds, while sophomore Alex Creasey finished second at 126. Other finishers for Milford were Cam Hayes 3rd place 106, Robbie Rosser 4th place 113, Bart Dalious 3rd place 138 and Chase Taylor 4th place 160.