Bucs Finish Season With 4 State Runners-up


By TJ Millman

 Most teams would look at a move from Division 2 to Division 1 and get a little nervous about the change in talent that they will be facing. The good news for the Milford Bucs wrestling team is they have nothing to worry about. The better news is they just had 6 wrestlers finish in the top-6 of their weight class at the DIAA Individual State Championships, with 4 of them finishing as runners-up, and the best news of all…all 6 of those wrestlers will be coming back next year.           

Coming off of a sixth straight title, the Milford Bucs sent their best down to Cape Henlopen High School this past weekend for the DIAA Individual State Championship Meet. Sophomore Rafael Mejia (170) finished sixth and junior Bevensky Augustin (182) placed fourth. Sophomore Corey Messick (106), freshman Jack Thode (113), and juniors Anthony Diaz (220) and Gaij Copes (160) all finished second.

Messick found himself wrestling freshman Gabe Giampietro for the third time this year and ended up falling for the third time as well by a major decision of 12-0. Still, this was a big jump for Messick after failing to even place in the year before.           


“Last year I didn’t place, so being a state finalist is a really big step this year. I’m proud of myself for that. I knew (Giampietro) is really tough. When we wrestled at conferences, he wrestled really well, and I wasn’t really on my A-game that match. Again, today, he came out really tough, so hat’s off to him,” Messick said.

Thode, coming off of an impressive freshman year, ended up meeting three-time state champion Zach Spence of Salesianum in the finals match. Spence pinned Thode in the third and final period to repeat as the 113 champion.           

Diaz, one of Milford’s most fierce competitors, went into the tournament as the number one seed at 220 but fell to last year’s 220 champion Hugo Harp of Dover by a 15-4 major decision. Diaz was the top seed a year ago as well but ended up having to drop out in the semi-finals due to an injury.           

Copes had the closest match of all the Milford finalists, falling to Liam O’Connor from Delcastle in a 3-1 decision. Copes had wrestled O’Connor one time earlier in the season and was able to bring it closer, but in the end the result was the same.           

“I wrestled (O’Connor) at Battle at the Beach, and it was 10-5 I believe, so I just wanted to close it down a little bit and stop some of the low shots he took, which I did, but he just came out on top,” he said.           

Milford Head Coach Don Parsley is always very straight-forward when it comes to his goal for his wrestling team. He wants to be the best in the state, and he wants each of his wrestlers to be the best in their class. With the move to D1, the Bucs will have a legitimate shot to mix it up with the best of them next year, and the Bucs will be one step closer to Parsley’s goal for his team.

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