By Kevin Eickman
There was little mystery as to what was going to occur in the Milford Buccaneers’ final home wrestling match of the season. With the opportunity to tune up for the final time before the big post season tournaments begin this Tuesday, Milford embraced the chance to say goodbye to their seniors as well. In hosting A.I. DuPont this past Friday, Milford faced little challenge in defeating the Tigers by a score of 66-6.
One of the more thrilling matches of the evening came as senior Adam Funkhouser battled James Naylor at 132 pounds. In the lightning quick contest, Funkhouser was nearly stunned. After looking in serious trouble and nearly getting pinned, Funkhouser was able to survive the danger. Once he was in the clear, he turned the tables on Naylor and earned a win just 1:16 into the match. Speaking after the match, Funkhouser made light of his early danger. “I was going for the Spladle, a little excitement for my last home match. It didn’t work out, but I got back up and got the pin.”
Another senior winner on the evening would be Kenny VanVorst, who would dispatch his opponent by pin at the 2:16 mark. VanVorst has been a solid versatile wrestler during his time at Milford, wrestling at 195 on this night. Expected to place well in the Henlopen Conference and State individual meet, VanVorst knows that Milford first needs to take care of business at the Dual’s this Tuesday. “You have to stay focused on what your job is and just do your job.” VanVorst stated.
A third senior who came out with a pin on the evening was co-captain Bard Dalious. Facing off against 4th ranked Jamier Schaener at 145 pounds, Dalious was happy to earn a victory in his final home match, but knows that the real work lays ahead. “ I think we are ready and I know I’m ready, it’s always a great time, it’s always fun,” Dalious said.
Philip Ruiz would be the only senior not to win by pin on the evening, earning a victory by an 8-5 decision. When talking about his final match, Ruiz alluded to something he has learned from coach Don Parsley. “Every day coach has been saying to end out strong and every day we are going to get better, so coming into the final match I just tried to dominate,” Ruiz stated.
The final senior victory of the evening belonged to the other Buccaneer co-captain, Chase Taylor, who earned a fairly easy pin at 152 pounds. When talking about his final match, Taylor was somewhat emotional about the evening. “It didn’t hit me ’til the end of the match and I said wow, this is the last time I will ever wrestle in this gym,” said Dalious.
With the regular season now in the rear view mirror, the Buccaneers turn their attention to the State dual meet and beyond. This Tuesday they will travel northward to Smyrna, seeking their third consecutive Division II title. Milford has gained the top seed for this Tuesday’s tournament at Smyrna and the Buccaneers look like they are ready. “I think on Tuesday we are going to have our lineup back for the first time since Christmas, so we’re looking forward to it,” Coach Parsley stated. “I got some things in my lineup that I can more around. You know again, it’s gonna be what’s the draw, what are the match-ups, what is the coin flip. I look at all the times and I think we are in pretty good shape, but I also know that we can be vulnerable.”
Following the Dual meet on Tuesday, Milford will turn around over the weekend and battle in the Henlopen conference meet at Dover. It promises to be a real challenge as Milford wrestlers will attempt to qualify for the State meet the following week.