Bucs, Eagles dominate first day of Milford Invitational

MILFORD — Host Milford and Smyrna dominated the competition as wrestlers from 12 Delaware schools hit the mats Friday night for Day 1 of the annual Milford Invitational wrestling tournament inside the crowded Milford Central Academy gymnasium.

In the round robin-style tournament, the first two out of five rounds were completed Friday night, with a total of 142 matches taking place across three mats to open competition.

The remaining three round robin rounds will resume today, starting at 9 a.m., with the tournament’s action culminating in the first-place, third-place and fifth-place matches later in the afternoon.

Host Milford, one of five Henlopen Conference schools competing in the two-day tourney, currently sits atop the leaderboard following the opening night of competition with 74.0 team points.

“I can tell you I’m really impressed with my guys,” said Milford coach Don Parsley. “We work hard in practice every day, we’re constantly working on our skills and trying to get better. Our kids went out there today and put on a great show and did a nice job.”

Behind the Bucs is second-place Smyrna High, with 69.5 team points, and third-place Sussex Central High with 64.5 team points.
Through the first two rounds, Milford wrestlers combined to go 24-4, earning 21 of those wins by pin.

Sophomore Corey Messick (106-pound weight class), freshman Jack Thode (113), freshman Tim O’Hara (120), senior Jordan Passwaters (145), junior Gaij Copes (170), sophomore Rafael Mejia (182) and senior Jacob Bryant (285) each picked up a pair of pins in their respective pool for the Bucs Friday night.

Sophomore Trenton Grant (120) and senior Josiah Irvin (182) also posted 2-0 record for Milford.

“Our young guys are really doing a nice job, starting off with Messick at 106, then Jack Thode at 113, Trent at 120 and Tim O’Hara at 126,” Parsley said. “They’re ninth and 10th graders and they’re doing a really great job for us.”

Smyrna, fresh off a first-place finish at last weekend’s Ray Oliver Invitational at McDonogh School near Baltimore, put up a 16-8 record over 24 matches on the night. The Eagles combined for 12 pins on those 16 victories.

“We had a tough, grueling weekend last weekend, we’re a little banged up, but I like to see us face adversity like we’ve done and continue to push forward. It’s just getting us ready for February,” said Smyrna coach Aaron Harris.

Junior Jack Davis (182) recorded a pair of pins for the Eagles, while junior Masen Wilson (195) earned wins by technical fall and pin.

Junior Dylan Andruzzi (113), freshman Bryce Mullen (145) each went 2-0 on the night for the Eagles as well.

For Sussex Central, sophomore Mason Ankrom (120), sophomore Cole Jester (132), junior Brandon Greenlee (152) and junior Tyler Karr (285) each went 2-0 on Friday night for the Golden Knights.

Cape Henlopen High, with 56.5 team points, currently sits in fifth place heading into Saturday while Laurel High sits in 11th with 45.0 points.

With the round-robin set-up of the invitational, Harris is happy the younger kids on his Eagles squad will be able to get extra mat time this early into the season.

“I like this set-up because we get more matches, that’s what it’s all about at this point in the season is mat time,” Harris said. “We’ve got some young guys in the lineup, it’s not the stud lineup of Smyrna old, so they need more matches. Mat time is key right now.”

Following the fifth round Saturday morning, wrestlers from each of the pools – there’s an A pool and a B pool for each weight class – will be seeded and there will be a first-place match, a third-place match and a fifth-place match.

“This is certainly a little more strenuous, so we’ll see tomorrow what they’re made of when they hit their second, third and fourth match of the day,” Parsley said. “It’s life, strap up your boots and take care of business.”

Reach staff writer Ben Heck at bheck@newszap.com

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