By Chris Villani
Just two weeks after capturing the dual meet state championship, the Milford High wrestling team continued its banner season by winning the program’s first team state title since 1996.
The Scarlet Hawks amassed 150 points — 21 more than second-place Minnechaug — to take home the championship.
“It was amazing,” said Danny Alves, a Milford senior and one of the team’s captains.
“It felt really good because I know our team put a lot of work into the offseason and I had confidence that we could win it,” said Alves, who placed third in the competitive 160 lbs division. “I tried to set an example and show everyone that hard work pays off. We’ve had an exciting season.”
Milford had two state champions with Hampton Kaye-Kuter dominating the 220lb division and Cam Phillips taking first place at 195lbs. Kaye-Kuter pinned his first two opponents before scoring relatively easy wins on points in the semifinals and the title bout.
“He has been on a mission all year,” said head coach P.J. Boccia. “He had a loss at Lowell and he ended up redeeming that loss. He is a physical wrestler who goes out and sets the pace. We expect him to win every time he steps on the mat.”
Kaye-Kuter said he wrestled with confidence throughout the tournament.
“I knew I could beat everyone, but I definitely felt the pressure,” he said. “I felt as though there was an expectation to win.”
Phillips secured his state championship with four straight pins. He credited his teammates, particularly Kaye-Kuter, with giving him the drive to succeed in his first season with the varsity team.
“My teammates push me, they keep me going,” Phillips said.
Aidan Baum finished second for Milford at 106lbs, Michael Boulanger placed fourth at 113lbs, Jack Cruz and Ryan Donovan each placed sixth in their respective weight classes, and Robert Lyons earned a seventh-place finish at 120lbs.
“This was something we had our eyes set on, we thought it was possible,” Boccia said. “For us to have it workout the way we planned, it’s a great feeling.”
Kaye-Kuter, a junior, pointed out that Milford was a .500 program just two years ago.
“We just turned it around,” he said. “Everyone on this team works hard.”
Phillips said winning the team title felt as good for him as winning his individual championship.
“It’s been so long since the team has won a state title,” he said. “It feels better to be a part of a team that made history.”