By Kevin Eickman
The Milford wrestling team began their regular season this past Wednesday. While the Buccaneers have upped the caliber of competition they will be facing this year, Wednesday was not one of the newly added opponents. The Buccaneers faced off against Woodbridge and the visiting Blue Raiders never new what hit them.
Beginning with the opening match, Milford simply dominated the proceedings. Junior Philip Ruiz started matters for the Bucs, quickly pinning Gary Breeding just 1:23 into the first period. Junior Chase Taylor had to work a little bit harder, but not much. Pinning his opponent just 1:45 into his match.
While the run of pins ended for Milford after the second match, the winning continued. Milford senior Ben Mitzel was next up for the Bucs. Mitzel scored a convincing 11-2 win. Next up for Milford was senior co-captain Matt Groce. Groce started the pin train rolling again, pinning his Woodbridge opponent 3:35 into the match. Talking with Groce after the match, he believes that this team is capable of some very big things this season.
“We have a lot of talent and we know what we are capable of doing,” Groce said. “This is just our first match tonight and we have a lot of work to do. The one thing we know about this group is, we are willing to do what it takes to win.” Junior Kenny Vanvorst would win his match by pin and was followed by a forfeit for sophomore Donny Hovington.
Perhaps one of the most interesting matches came at 106 pounds. Milford freshman Robby Rosser faced off against highly regarded Woodbridge junior Aahmad Jackson. While Rosser had surprised Jackson at the Polytech invitational, there would be no such luxury this time. Jackson was on the offensive from the beginning and recorded the first two points of the match. As Jackson continued to attack, it looked as if the Rosser might be in trouble. As the first period wore on however, Rosser regained his footing. In the end Rosser emerged with an 11-2 victory and the admiration of his coach Dan Rigby.
“That was a bit of a challenge for Robby tonight, but he was able to learn something and still get the victory,” stated Rigby. “Robby is young and as the season goes on the experience he is gaining will benefit him greatly.”
Another freshman on the roster, Cameron Hayes won by technical fall at 113 pounds. Also gaining victories for Milford were senior Jarek Lugo at 120 pounds by forfeit, sophomore Alex Creasey at 126 pounds by pin, junior Adam Funkhouser at 132 pounds by pin in just 15 seconds and junior Bart Dalious by decision.
Talking with Rigby after the match, he believes that Milford is on the right path as the season gets underway. “We have a lot of work to do, but we have started out the way we expected to,” commented Rigby. “If we continue to put in the work, we will get to where we want to be.”
Milford will compete in the Battle at the Beach tournament, December 29th at Indian River High School.