By Kevin Eickman
While it may not be a well known award, the Henlopen South Founders Trophy is by no means insignificant. The trophy is presented to the Henlopen South school who gained the highest index over the entire school year, based on the performance of every Buccaneer varsity team. This is the fourth time that Milford has won the award, with Milford previously gaining the accolade in 2003, 2004 and 2009.
The significance of the award causes Milford sports fans to look back at the accomplishments of Milford athletics over the last year. While the public may be familiar with the more popular sports such as football or basketball, this award is about all of them. It’s about all the athletes no matter the sport, who show up day in and day out in an effort to get just a little better. The result of that collective effort is reflected in this award, it is also reflective of the commitment of coaches, boosters, parents and many others who sacrifice their time and effort to make Milford a high school that the community can be proud of.
First year Milford athletic director Ryan Winkleblech was thrilled with how the school preformed athletically this year. “When you take a look at what we are trying to build here, what our goals of education and athletics are, this was a tremendous year for us,” Winkleblech stated. “Look, it was my first year as AD and I had nothing but help and support along the way. It didn’t matter if it was parents, coaches, students or staff, everyone was out there trying to make sure that we put a good foot forward athletically.”
In fall sports, the cross country teams lead the way, with an index of 8.0. Boys soccer and field hockey would both qualify for the fall tournaments while volleyball would come within a victory of their first ever winning season with a 7-8 record. Football would just miss out on a playoff birth, falling on the wrong side of a tiebreaker. “Fall sports really were solid for us, it was a sign that we had a great collection of kids all across the board,” Winkleblech stated.
One of the programs that Winkleblech has initiated is the Milford Scholar Athlete program, designed to recognize those students who do well in the classroom and athletically. “We want to recognize the students who gain a 3.5 or higher GPA during their sports season, that’s quite an accomplishment.” Winkleblech stated.
One athlete that received this recognition was sophomore Lacrosse player Shane Gaglione. “I think it’s great that we remind everyone that this isn’t just about sports, it’s about being a complete student athlete,” Gaglione said. “Playing sports is fun, but the hard truth of it is that our education is going to be the most important thing that matters in the future.”
Winter sports saw the boys basketball team repeat as Henlopen South champions with an 8.0 index, while the girls at 6.0, would qualify for the State tournament. The boys and girls swim teams both turned in solid seasons, with the squads turning in 6.0 and 7.0 indexes respectively. Boys wrestling would turn in a perfect 8.0 score as well, as they were able to grasp their third consecutive State title “We really did have a solid winter, it was so great to see wrestling not miss a beat, but the other sports were so exciting as well,” Winkleblech said. “When you take a look at how far that volleyball has come over the last few years, it really demonstrates what hard work can accomplish.”
Spring sports were highlighted by the baseball wining the Henlopen South title, with softball making a valiant charge at the end of the year, just barely missing out on the playoffs. Boys tennis, with recent Milford graduate Colton Williamson leading the way would win the South as well. In golf, junior Kyle Strassle would make it back for the second day of the State tournament, just another Buccaneer giving it his all.
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