Bucs record nine pins in 74-0 shutout win over Lake Forest

MILFORD – Following three consecutive losses to Indian River, Smyrna and Laurel, Milford’s wrestling squad made its way back to the win column with a 74-0 dual-meet shutout over Lake Forest Wednesday night.

With pins from wrestlers in nine different weight classes, the Bucs earned the convincing victory to push its dual-meet record to 3-4 on the year.

“We lost to Indian River and we lost to Laurel in two hotly-contested matches, and they were great high school events to be a part of,” head coach Don Parsley said. “We’re going to keep on plugging away, we’re going to keep on trying to get better. Lake Forest is a feisty team, they really fought hard against many of the other teams. I thought we could win 14, but I really figured we would win nine or 10, there were four or five that they really had a shot at and our guys just got the job tonight and we were able to get the shutout.”

Milford wrestling huddles up on the mat prior to Wednesday night’s 74-0 shutout win over Lake Forest (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

The match began with five consecutive pins from the Bucs, handing the Milford squad the early 30-0 lead.

In the 106-pound match, freshman Corey Messick his Lake opponent by pin with :49 left in the first period to jump ahead 6-0.

It took Milford freshman Trenton Grant 51 seconds to earn a victory in the 113-pound match, pinning his opponent with 1:09 left in the first period.

Senior and team leader Robbie Rosser earned his pin even quicker, using up just 34 seconds in the 120-pound match to push Milford’s early lead to 18-0.

Randy Diaz followed Rosser up with a first-period pin in the 126-pound match, followed by a second-period pin from sophomore Dominic Feightner in the 132-pound match.

With a 30-0 advantage heading into the meet’s sixth match, junior Jordan Passwaters would use all three periods to defeat Lake’s Isaiah Redman by 11-5 decision.

In perhaps the most thrilling match of the evening, senior Oscar Rosario defeated Lake’s Seth Fleming with just 29 seconds to spare in the third period of the 145-pound match.

Milford’s Randy Diaz defeats Lake’s Luis Garcia in Wednesday night’s 126-pound match (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Trailing 6-3 after the first period and 12-10 after the second period, Rosario would bounce back and take the 14-13 lead just prior to earning the six-point pin in the third and final period.

The dual-meet’s remaining pins were recorded by sophomore Bevensky Augustin (182), sophomore Anthony Diaz (220) and junior Jacob Bryant (285).

Khiry Hovington (152) won by 19-4 technical fall; Rafael Mejia (160) and Eric Bennett (195) each won by decision; Jeremiah Farrington (170) won by forfeit.

Bryant’s second-period pin in the heavyweight match capped the 74-point victory.

Bryant didn’t step onto the mat until after the Milford Invitational in December and at first he didn’t even have a place in the starting lineup.
But things have changed for him over the last month or so.

“Jacob Bryant, our heavyweight, he’s a kid who said ‘coach, I want to wrestle’ and I just thought ‘well okay, we’d love to have you.’ He was a football player, so I didn’t see him until after the Milford Invitational,” coach Parsley said. “When he told me in October or November, I thought okay we’ll see. And then he shows up and is really working hard. With Diaz at heavyweight, he didn’t really have a job, and now Diaz is down at 220 so he has a job. Bryant has been wrestling really well, and I’ve been very pleased with his progress.”

“He’s solid,” senior Robbie Rosser said of Bryant’s progress this season. “He’s always talking to me about what he can do to get better, and you like to see that.”

Corey Messick started off the match with a pin of Lake’s Gene Smith in the first period of the 106-pound match (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

At 3-4 in dual meets this season, Milford’s young squad knows they have plenty left to prove before this year’s state dual-meet championships in February.

“We still have a lot left of our season, I think we’re going to get a berth to the tournament,” said coach Parsley. “The question is, who’s going to be No. 1, who’s going to be No. 2. We’re probably going to be the No. 3 seed, we’re just going to work and hopefully get another opportunity at one, or both, of those guys (IR and Laurel).”

“It’s kind of the part of the season where you’re either going to figure it out or you’re not going to figure it out,” Rosser said. “We just have to work hard. We’ve got a couple of weeks left until state duals, so it’s time to turn it around.”

After graduating five seniors in 2016 and five seniors last year, Milford wrestling has had a lot of big shoes to fill as they look to extend its dual-meet state championship streak to five straight seasons.

With Indian River and Laurel gunning for Milford’s No. 1 spot atop the Division II ranks, coach Parsley and his crew know how hard they’ll need to work over the next few weeks to earn the dual-meet title once again.

“We’ve won four consecutive state titles, we graduated five guys the year before, we graduated another five guys last year, so I’ve got four guys who were a part of that team two years ago,” coach Parsley said.

“Honestly, over the last few years we’ve graduated probably 10 kids, so that’s a lot – and they were long-time varsity starters,” Rosser said. “Three, four-year starters, so you don’t get kids like that all the time. But we’re a young team and everyone’s working hard every day. We know we have to work hard and get after it.”

Milford’s next dual-meet will be on the road at Dover Friday, Jan. 26 at 6:30 p.m.

“We just have our eyes on the prize and we’re just going to keep moving forward and hopefully things will work out in our favor in the end,” coach Parsley said.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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