By Kevin Eickman
The echoes of the past were sounding loudly in the Milford High School gymnasium this past Tuesday as the Buccaneers squared off against Caesar Rodney in the Buccaneers second dual-meet of the season. Prior to the match, the history of Milford’s wrestling past was celebrated, with past individual and team champions from the past asked to rise and be recognized. Dating as far back to the 1950’s generations, Milford champions rose to their feet and were greeted warmly by the huge crowd in attendance.
“What I wanted tonight to be about was not about me and Dan (Rigby), I wanted it to be about the great history these two programs have had over the years,” Coach Don Parsley stated.
The evening turned out to be one of the more special regular season matches most could have wished for. With former Milford coach Dan Rigby returning for the first time since accepting the coaching position at his alma mater, both squads were more than ready for the contest. Add to that the electric crowd in attendance and the evening resulted in something very special.
Going into the meet, the sentiment was that while Milford might be favored, Caesar Rodney had some very talented wrestlers and just quite possibly could spring the upset. Beginning at 220 pounds, Caser Rodney jumped out in front as their top wrestler Michael Clavier would wrestle above his weight taking on Dominyc Hovington of the Buccaneers, earning a victory by major decision. It was the decision to wrestle Clavier at 220 that indicated to Parsley the meet would probably be decided on the final match of the evening.
“I had it 7-7 or potentially 8-6 in our favor,” said Milford coach Don Parsley of his thoughts coming into the meet. “As it turned out it was 7-7 and bonus points was the key.”
Following the Loss by Hovington, Milford would edge in front as junior Bryan Whynes beat his opponent at 285 pounds by fall. Sophomore standout Robbie Rosser would win a 16-5 decision over his Rider opponent, increasing the Milford advantage, if only temporarily.
Cameron Hayes of Caesar Rodney would square things with a quick pin at 113 and then the Riders extended their lead as Jace Darling was pinned, putting the CR back out in front. Alex Creasy of Milford would win by fall at 126, followed by Milford newcomer Gavin Garcia winning by pin at 126. Garcia, a junior transfer from Cambridge Maryland was thrilled with the atmosphere during the meet,
“It is just great to be part of something like this, the crowd was real exciting,” Garcia commented. “Everyone was really into it tonight, what a great time this was.”
Milford would eventually extend their lead to 11 points and looked to be in control of the match after Bart Dalious 145 and Chase Taylor 152 earned their victories. However, CR would claw all the way back and eventually take the lead 35-33 with just one match remaining at 195 pounds.
Senior Kenny VanVrost was wrestling for Milford, facing off against Jaylin Keaton. VanVrost was fairly certain that the match would come down to him and was ready for it. “You just have to prepare yourself mentally and be ready when it is your time,” VanVrost stated. It was obvious from the start VanVrost was ready, earning a pin just 22 seconds into the match and securing the 39-35 victory for the Buccaneers.
Those in attendance erupted in jubilation as the referee called the pin that decided the meet. Producing a sound not heard in the old gym for more than a few years, the crowd created new echoes for future generations to hear, continuing the legacy that both Parsley and Rigby have helped create and perpetuate.