Milford Invitational wrestling tourney begins tonight

MILFORD – Little more than two weeks from now, some of the state and country’s top grapplers will come together in Newark for one of the nation’s most prestigious high school wrestling tournaments, the Beast of the East.

But those wanting to see some great early season wrestling don’t need to wait until the Beast.

Fresh off their win at the Polytech Invitational, Milford will host its own tournament. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Fresh off their win at the Polytech Invitational, Milford will host its own tournament. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

The Milford Invitational, over the years, has welcomed some of the state’s top teams to its annual tourney and this year’s, which begins Friday at 4:30 p.m., is no different.

Along with the twice-defending Division II state champion host team, this weekend’s invitational will also have Division I champ Smyrna in the field. Joining the Buccaneers and Eagles are perennial Henlopen North powers Caesar Rodney, Sussex Central and Polytech. Multiple other teams that have been in recent state dual-meet tournaments like Sussex Tech, William Penn, Indian River and Lake Forest will be there as well.

“It’s certainly a great kickoff tournament,” Buccaneers head coach Don Parsley said. “Many times the guy that wins (his weight class) in the Milford Invitational is the odds-on favorite to win a state championship because we have the best competition in Delaware there. I think it’s going to be a great tournament and set the tone for what’s going to come for the rest of the season.”

Although winning state championships and placing at the Beast of the East tournament are at the top of the goals list for any wrestler, topping the podium in their own tournament is special for Milford grapplers.

Getting there, several current Buccaneers said, is something they look forward to every season.

“That’s a really big tournament for us and we want to come up big,” junior Alex Creasey said. “We want to do well in front of everyone there in our town. And it will help me work out some kinks in my technique and make me think about things I need to do in different situations.”

“It’s always nice to win in front of your home crowd,” added sophomore Robbie Rosser. “But I’m just focusing on taking it one match at a time and doing the best I can.”

Winning the team title, which didn’t exist until recently, would be nice Parsley said, but what he wants most is for his wrestlers to work to get better and win when they can rather than reaching for points.

“With a team championship on the line, of course we want to win a title, but I want the kids to focus on what they have to do to place as high as they can,” he said. “If we go to the Henlopen Championship and I have a guy who takes a risk to get bonus points, he maybe doesn’t go to the state tournament. Every tournament is a rehearsal for the conference championship, it’s about advancing to the next round and winning.”

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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