By TJ Millman
Milford wrestling has won 5 straight state championships, and somehow the Bucs still manage to make a bigger name for themselves. Milford has started off the season by winning the Milford Invitational (a tournament full of Division 1 competition), sweeping two conference opponents by scores of 75-0 and 77-0, and was the highest finishing Delaware team at the Battle at the Beach tournament. Still, Milford’s most impressive match of the year came when the Bucs travelled to defending Division 1 Champion Caesar Rodney on December 19.
Milford handed the Riders their only loss of the season, winning a 33-30 nail-biter. Milford lost the first 5 bouts and fell behind 21-0 to start the match, but Milford Head Coach Don Parsley felt comfortable the entire way.
“We were weathering the storm. We lost that match and went down 21-0, and I thought, “Good. Now it’s our turn.” Bevensky (Augustin) was in danger, but he managed to get a headlock in and get the pin. Then we turn around and (Eric) Bennett gets a stick and (Anthony) Diaz gets the stick, and we’re at 21-18 and it’s a match. I was really hoping for a few more pins to put it out of reach, but those guys from CR at 106 and 113 did a good job of not getting pinned by our guys. Trent (Grant) got it done for us at 120, and then we managed to survive and get the decision losses at 126 and 132,” Parsley said.
The Bucs went into those final two matches winning by 9, and all of Milford hopes came down to two freshman. Freshmen Tim O’Hara and Averi Copes just needed to not get pinned, but you never would have been able to tell from watching. Both young wrestlers went on the attack, with Copes nearly getting stuck in the final round of his match.
“My young guys are tough. They light the fire for us at times. They don’t come out here to lose. Sometimes we probably need to have a little more wisdom there, but at the end of the day it worked out for us,” Parsley said.
For Copes, the moment was big, and his smile was even bigger. “I was trying to win. I just had to do it for my team. I knew if I got pinned, we would lose, so I just tried to stay off my back. I was still aggressive though. That’s just how I know to wrestle. It feels really good,” Copes said.
As excited as Parsley was for his team’s win, he was quick to point out that this season is still early, and the Bucs need to keep improving to be in their best form for the end of the season.
“It’s our second match of the year. Caesar Rodney is a really good team, but there’s still a lot of wrestling to go ahead of us. Hopefully this will be a catalyst for my guys to work hard and improve. If we get to the end of the year and we’re the best in the state, that’d be awesome, but if we don’t win the championship, then it’s a moot point. All we can do for now is continue to work every day and try to get that next title,” Parsley said.
Milford currently sits at 3-0 and has their next meet at home on Wednesday, January 9 at 6:30 PM. The Bucs take on Laurel and will try extend their conference record.
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