SMYRNA – Milford seemed in a hurry to get to the finals of the 24th annual DIAA Dual-Meet Wrestling Championships Tuesday while scoring five first-period pins in their semifinal victory.
Turned out the Buccaneers were just warming up for a repeat performance in the Smyrna High gym.
Milford won its third straight Division II title with a 57-24 victory over St. Georges in which it recorded pins in eight of the final 10 bouts.
St. Georges led 21-5 before Alex Creasey’s 67-second fall at 132 ignited the Bucs’ romp. Of those eight pins, seven came in the first period.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match but I knew in the end we’d pull through,” Creasey said. “We’ve been working hard all year, we’ve got a great team, a great lineup and I didn’t think there was anything they could do to stop us.”
Milford’s 57 points were the most ever scored in a state title match, Division I or II, since the event’s inception in 1993.
After Creasey, Bart Dalious (145), Phillip Ruiz (160), Kenny VanVorst (182) and Bryan Wynes (285) needed less than a minute to score falls. Kaje Reynolds (170) and Dom Hovington (220) added first-period falls. Chase Taylor (152) got his as the final buzzer sounded.
“I think it just had a domino effect,” VanVorst said of the parade of pins.
Milford’s other winner was Gavin Garcia with a major decision at 138.
“Every day is a constant grind and we’re trying to get better and better,” Taylor said. “The ultimate achievement is the pin. Six points. We work to our full potential every day and the highest goal you can get is a pin. We watched St. Georges’ match earlier and, I wasn’t worried, but I knew pinning was going to be a key factor tonight.”
The Bucs had recorded six pins – by Robbie Rosser (106), Creasey, Dalious, Taylor, VanVorst and Wynes — including four in less than a minute in their 50-24 semifinal win over Delaware Military Academy.
“That really got the momentum going,” Creasey said.
Top-seeded Milford (10-2) won its fifth state title, the others coming in 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2015. That made it a triumphant return to coaching for Don Parsley, the Milford coach for 25 season through 2009-10 who returned this season when Dan Rigby left to coach Caesar Rodney.
“I’m certainly grateful for the opportunity and the guys really responded and got the job done,” said Parsley, a standout wrestler at Lock Haven (Pa.) University before graduating in 1984 who added that he yearned to get back to coaching this season.
Milford’s only dual-meet losses this year were to Division I state champ Smyrna 32-30 and Cape Henlopen 44-30.
“On the Division II side, I’ve been around for a lot of years and there have been some really, really good teams. I don’t know if anybody’s dominated the Division II side like we had,” Parsley said. “ . . . Every Division II opponent we’ve scored 50 or more points and had eight or nine pins. We’re just really doing a good job of that. It’s a philosophy, it’s a belief. It’s a way that you train.”
No. 2-seeded St. Georges (9-4), which won the 2013 Division II title and was wrestling in its fourth final since 2012, started strong.
After Rosser’s technical fall for Milford at 106, the Hawks won three straight. Damani Wells (113) and Sebastian Sye (120) had pins and Milford forfeited at 126 because Parsley was moving wrestlers up. St. Georges’ only win in the final 10 bouts was another forfeit.
“They seemed to be a bit stronger, bigger, faster,” St. Georges coach Pat Atkinson said of Milford. “As far as the pins, they got us in a few headlocks and cradled us in a unique way, capturing the trail leg, and our guys weren’t really picking up on it, and that was it.”
Milford locked up its semifinal match with No. 4-seeded Delaware Military Academy with four bouts left. DMA finished 8-3.
No. 3-seeded Sanford (5-5) won five straight bouts to take a 30-18 lead in its semifinal match with St. Georges. But Vaughn Currinder, after being taken down in the first period, secured the victory for St. Georges by winning 5-2 at 182 pounds, as Sanford had to forfeit the final two bouts at 195 and 220.
The Warriors, who lost in last year’s final to Milford, do not have a football team and, as a result, have difficulty filling the heavier weight classes. They weighed in 19 wrestlers Tuesday, only one above 175 pounds.
“We can’t use that as an excuse, that we would have won if we’d filled those weight classes,” said junior Brendan Lamey, who normally goes at 152 but wrestled at 170 Monday. “We had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. We have our hammers starting at 126 and we knew we had to wrestle as well as we could.”
In the first round, Sanford rallied for a 37-31 win over No. 6 Hodgson (10-4). The Silver Eagles led 19-0 but Sanford won seven of the remaining nine bouts, with pins by Kyle McDonough (126), Niko Chilson (132), Andrew Brooks (145), Lamey (170) and Spencer Green (195), wrestling 20 pounds above his actual weight, in the final tie-breaking bout.
A slew of early pins gave DMA a head start en route to its 40-28 first-round victory over No. 5-seeded Caravel (9-3).
Milford and St. Georges had first-round byes.
Contact Kevin Tresolini at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @kevintresolini.