Pins and wins for Milford senior wrestlers

MILFORD – It didn’t hit senior Chase Taylor until the match was over.

His fellow seniors on the Milford wrestling team didn’t give it much thought either at first.

Milford senior Kenny VanVorst has his hand raised a final time wrestling at home. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Milford senior Kenny VanVorst has his hand raised a final time wrestling at home. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Wrestling Friday night at home in what turned out to be a dual meet rout of A.I. duPont – Milford won 66-6 – Milford’s senior grapplers took the mat for their last time in their home gymnasium. The class, which has been part of consecutive Division II state dual meet championship teams and will wrestle Tuesday night for a third title, is arguably the most successful to come through Milford High School.

“It didn’t hit me until the end of the match,” Taylor said. “I said ‘wow, this is the last time I’ll ever wrestle in this gym.’ It’s unreal.”

Taylor pinned his opponent, Andrew Harp, in one minute. Fellow seniors Adam Funkhouser (132), Bart Dalious (145) and Kenny VanVorst (195) also ended their final matches in the Milford Central Academy gymnasium with pins.

“I wrestled a pretty good kid tonight, so honestly I just thought about winning and getting my hand raised for the last time (at home),” said Dalious, whose pin of Jamier Schaener came midway through the second period.

“I haven’t really thought about it yet,” VanVorst added about his time at Milford. “I’ve just been thinking about coming back next year and wrestling with the boys (during practices).”

Funkhouser, who wrestled James Naylor in his 132-pound match, nearly cost himself a win early in the bout when he was caught in a mistake and put on his back. But the veteran grappler managed to stay composed and quickly turned the match around, pinning Naylor in 1:16.

“Little excitement for my last home match,” Funkhouser said. “Coach (Don Parsley) told us to treat it like any other match, it was a little more special but… I’ll miss it.”

Back in the lineup after a two-week hiatus, senior Phil Ruiz didn’t get six in his final home match. Then again, the final score of his bout with Tigers’ 160-pounder Jordan Washam (Ruiz won an 8-5 decision) wasn’t indicative of how the bout unfolded. Ruiz controlled the action throughout the match with most of Washam’s points coming from the Buccaneer allowing him escape points.

“I’ve had two weeks off, so I was a little bit tired, but it was good to get back out there,” Ruiz said. “My last home match, it was exciting.”

Although the meet had been won several matches beforehand, it was the evening’s final bout that provided the most excitement.

Buccaneers junior Bryan Wynes scored a late takedown of Tigers heavyweight Jacob Somerville for a 7-5 decision in a match between two individual state championship hopefuls.

Senior Phil Ruiz (left) was one of five Milford seniors that won matches on Senior Night. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Senior Phil Ruiz (left) was one of five Milford seniors that won matches on Senior Night. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Somerville seemed in firm control of the bout early, using his length to keep Wynes away and frustrated, but midway through the second period the A.I. senior seemed to hit a wall. Taking injury time twice to try and get his energy back, a visibly sick Somerville struggled in the third period and was hit with stalling twice (he had been given a warning earlier), which awarded Wynes points that tied the match 5-5.

“Bryan’s worked hard all year long, he’s wrestled tough competition and he finds ways to win,” Parsley said of his heavyweight. “You’ve got to stay persistent, you’ve got to go six minutes and whether it’s sickness or conditioning sometimes that happens. When it does, we have to take advantage of it and that’s what we were able to do tonight.”

Of his group of graduating seniors wrestling at home for the last time – Milford was in the dual meet state championships on Tuesday, which did not finish before press time, and will wrestle in the Henlopen Conference and state individual tournaments as well – Parsley added that the group has meant a lot to the program.

“They’re really a stronghold, old reliable,” he said. “I can count on that going out on the mat they are going to give you everything they have and most of the time they are going to win. They’ll be difficult to replace next year because they have had so much success.”

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.