By Kevin Eickman
Winning a conference title is always exciting but winning that title at your home venue just adds to the thrill. That was the case this past Saturday as Milford wrestlers senior Robbie Rosser and sophomore Anthony Diaz earned Henlopen Conference titles. The event was held over two days at Milford Central Academy and featured outstanding wrestlers from top to bottom.
Diaz earned the first Milford title of the evening as he battled Cape Henlopen junior William Ott at 200 pounds. In a match that turned into a test of wills, it became clear from the start that neither wrestler was going to go down easily. After a scoreless first period, both wrestlers garnered a point via escapes in the second and third periods.
With the match headed to overtime, neither wrestler gained a point starting from the neutral position, so a coin flip proved crucial. Diaz won the flip that cemented his strategy to gain victory. “Diaz has a lot of luck with those flips, it really worked out for him tonight,” Coach Don Parsley stated. Diaz choose the down position in the second period and quickly gained the escape point. Ott matched the point with an escape of his own in the 6th period of the match.
With the match now in Ultimate Tiebreaker Mode, the next point decided it. Diaz choose bottom and Ott had no chance of keeping him down. As Diaz rose to his feet and escaped his adversary, the championship was his. “I knew it was going to be a tough match and just kept on reminding myself to stay focused,” Diaz said. “I felt like I was getting stronger and with winning the toss in overtime, I felt I had a real chance of winning.”
Robbie Rosser stepped on the map with a chance to make history. Sitting on 150 career wins, Rosser’s victory earned him the most wins in Milford history. Facing Rosser in the match was a familiar opponent, Caesar Rodney junior Michael Primo. The two have battled each other many times in the past, so Rosser knew that Primo would be up for the challenge. “Mikey is always going to give you his best, he is always going to bring it,” Rosser stated. “If you make one mistake against him, it’s going to cost you. So there was no doubt in my mind I was going to have to wrestle my best.”
Rosser was able to accomplish that as he defeated Primo by a score of 5-2, with Primo’s two points coming late in the match. When asked about the all-time wins record, Rosser somewhat downplayed it. “It’s nice, but it’s just a number. What has been more important has been the fun I have had wrestling along the way.” Speaking with Parsley after the match, he got exactly what he expected from Rosser. “That’s the kind of performance he is going to give you every night, workmanlike. He’s not going to beat himself and he will take advantage of any little mistake you make.”
Rosser was asked about being able to earn the title in front of his home crowd, wrestling on his home mat for the final time. “That means more to me than anything. It’s very special to win a tournament, but do that in may last match at home, makes a special moment even more amazing.”
Along with Rosser and Diaz, two other Buccaneers made the finals. Junior Eric Bennett 195 and senior Khriy Hovington 152 both garnered second place in their respective weight classes.
Bennett drew the short straw, having to face arguably the best wrestler in Delaware, Smyrna’s Tony Wuest. Wuest was able to dispatch Bennett by fall at 1:06 to earn the title. “Drawing a guy like Wuest is tough on anyone, there is rarely a time when he does not win by pin,” Parsley said. “That doesn’t take away from the great season and tournament Eric had, it was a real solid performance.”
Hovington also finish second, but not without putting up a big fight. Battling Drew Morris of Sussex Central, the two wrestlers battled into overtime, before Morris scored a take-down in sudden victory to secure the title. Hovington had a few opportunities to score points in regulation, but came up just short on those occasions. “Hovington had some chances, but he just didn’t catch a break. He battled him tough all match and it easily could have gone either way,” stated Parsley.
Other finishers for Milford were Trent Grant finishing 4th at 106 pounds and Oscar Rosario finishing 6th at 145.
The tournament closed out a big week for Parsley as well, who had earned his 250th career dual meet victory as a coach, when the Buccaneers earned the Division II Championship last Saturday. Speaking with Parsley after the tournament, he was generally impressed with how his team performed. “I thought we had a real solid tournament, our guys fought hard and it’s always great to wrestle here at home. We had four guys earn automatic berths into the State Tournament and with the new format this year, I would hope we earn a few more once the seeding is announced.”
As it would turn out, Milford did quite well with wrestlers who will be competing in the DIAA Individual Tournament this weekend at Cape Henlopen. The Buccaneers have 11 wrestlers seeded for the tournament, with Rosser and Diaz gaining top seeds in their respective weight classes. The Milford qualifiers are Corey Messick 106 pounds 13th seed, Trenton Grant 113 pounds 8th seed, Robbie Rosser 120 pounds 1st seed, Randy Mercado-Diaz 126 pounds 13th seed, Dominic Feightner 132 pounds 11th seed, Jordan Passwaters 138 pounds 12th seed, Oscar Rosaria 145 pounds 14th seed, Khiry Hovington 152 pounds 7th seed, Jeremiah Farrington 182 pounds 15th seed, Eric Bennett 195 pounds 3rd seed and Anthony Diaz 220 pounds 1st seed.
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