Milford wins 3rd straight Division II state dual-meet wrestling title

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Milford High wrestlers and coach Don Parsley celebrate their third straight dual-meet state title. (Delaware State News/Dave Chambers)

SMYRNA — Third time was a charm for the Milford wrestling team. Then again, so were the first two.

Top-seeded Milford defeated No. 2 St. Georges 57-24 Tuesday night at Smyrna High to win its third Division II state dual-meet title in as many seasons.

“It’s absolutely unreal,” Buccaneers 152-pounder Chase Taylor said of Milford’s three-peat. “We won one two years ago and this team just got progressively better. Winning never got old.”

Taylor was part of a seven-match Milford streak that put the meet away. Six of those seven wins came by pins, including Taylor’s at the very last second of his match against Hunter Beaudet.

Senior Kenny VanVorst capped the run with a 59-second stick that clinched the state championship for Milford, with his pin making the score 45-18 and only three matches remaining.

“I didn’t really focus on pinning him at first, just go six minutes and give it my best,” VanVorst said, adding that the Bucs’ pinning streak became contagious. “It just had a domino effect after it got going.

“Coming back and doing it (winning a state title) a third time, it’s a good feeling,” he added.

The Hawks, however, didn’t let that feeling come easy at first.

Bucs sophomore Robbie Rosser (106) gave Milford a quick lead with a technical fall in the final’s first match, but St. Georges roared back with pins from Damani Wells and Sebastian Sye in the next two bouts.

With his team trailing 12-5 and a small but vocal St. Georges crowd getting louder by the moment, Milford coach Don Parsley elected to put the Bucs in an even bigger hole by forfeiting to Hawks 126-pounder Nicholas Novarnik and bumping junior Alex Creasey up to 132.

“Their crowd was really excited, and I don’t really like to forfeit but at the end of the day my job is to win matches,” said Parsley, who reclaimed the head coaching gig at Milford prior to this season, having stepped down from the position half decade ago. “If Novarnik goes out there and does what happened in the previous two (matches), and their crowd is rocking, it just changes everything.”

His move paid off.

Creasey pinned Nicholas Serio in 1:07 to begin the long Milford run that put the dual meet away.

Gavin Garcia (132) followed Creasey’s pin with a major decision and senior Bart Dalious then scored the first of five consecutive Milford pins and moved the Buccaneers back in the lead for good.

“It was great, man,” said Dalious. “We really came together this year as a family. I really don’t want it to come to an end. I’ve had some great memories with this team and this program.”

Taylor’s pin opened Milford’s lead to 27-18, senior Phillip Ruiz (160) came next, then it was Kaje Reynolds’ turn and finally VanVorst’s capper.

“It’s amazing, we just three-peated for the first time in school history,” said Ruiz.

After a forfeit at 195, the Buccaneers fittingly finished the night with two more pins by Dom Hovington at 220 and heavyweight Bryan Wynes. Although the Bucs had already clinched the team championship, Milford’s whole roster was there cheering on both grapplers and wanting the pins.

“I’ve been around a lot of years and there’s been some really good teams, but I’m not sure anybody has dominated Division II the way we have,” said Parsley, who led Milford to state titles in 2004 and 2009. “(Against) every Division II opponent we’ve had 50 or more points and eight or nine pins.”

Fresh off winning the title, Parsley wasn’t ready to talk about what next season might hold for Milford, which graduates five starting seniors. But Creasey, who has been a major part of all three championship teams, gave it some thought.

“Well,” he said when asked what there is left to do after the three-peat. “I guess we’ll have to just go try and do it again.”

Jeff Mitchell covers sports for southern Delaware. You can reach him at jmitchell@newszap.com

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