GORHAM, Maine – With the 2017-18 University of Southern Maine wrestling season set to start on Saturday, November 4 (1:00 p.m.) against Bridgewater State, sophomore Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine), the 2017 New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Co-Rookie of the Year, is one of two Huskies' mentioned in the D3wrestle.com Preseason National Poll. Del Gallo is also one of five USM grapplers ranked in the top six of the NEWA preseason individual poll.
Del Gallo is entering the season ranked 10th nationally by D3wrestle.com, while his classmate Josh Smith (York, Maine) is in contenders category at 165 pounds. Joining Del Gallo and Smith in the regional NEWA rankings are sophomores Justin Stacy (Rochester, N.H./Marshwood), Kolby Smith (Springfield, Mass./Sabis International Charter) and junior Mike Risti (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic).
Ranked fifth by NEWA at 184 pounds heading into the season Kolby Smith competed at a variety of weight classes for Southern Maine as a rookie, finishing the season his current weight class. Smith had 13 wins as a rookie, and had a fourth place finish at the 2017 Ted Reese Invitational.
Stacey, ranked second at 174 pounds in the NEWA preseason poll, was one of three USM rookies to earn a spot on the NEWA All-Rookie team last season. Stacy joined the Huskies second semester last season and made an immediate impact. Named the NEWA Rookie Wrestler of the Week once during the season, Stacy posted a 6-3record, including a 3-0 performance at the 2017 NEWA Duals. Included in his 3-0 performance at the NEWA duals was a 16-6 major decision win over the fourth-ranked wrestler in the region.
Tabbed as one of the top wrestlers in his weight class by d3wrestle.com, Josh Smith is the fourth ranked wrestler at 165 pounds in the NEWA preseason poll. Smith earned a spot on the NEWA All-Rookie team after an outstanding freshman season, posting a 24-11 record while competing at 165 pounds. With several big wins during the 2016-17 season, Smith performed well at the 2017 Northeast Regional Championship, picking up a pair of wins. In addition to his spot on the NEWA All-Rookie team, Smith was also a NEWA All-Conference honorable mention pick. Risti won his bracket at the 2017 Ted Reese Invitational, and finished as the runner-up at the Jim Aguiar Invitational.
Risti turned in another strong season for the Huskies after moving up a weight class to 285, finishing the season with a 32-11 record, including nine wins by fall. Heading into his junior year, Risti is the sixth-ranked wrestler in the NEWA poll, and will be looking to build off of his strong sophomore campaign.
Earning numerous honors after an outstanding freshman season, Del Gallo is poised to improve upon his All-Region earning fourth place finish at the 2017 NCAA Northeast Regional Championship. Posting a remarkable 34-3 record in 2016-2017, Del Gallo won his division at the Washington & Jefferson Invitational, the Ted Reese Invitational and the Jima Aguiar Invitational. At the NCAA Northeast Regional, Del Gallo narrowly missed out on a berth to the NCAA Division III Championships, falling 5-4 in the third place match. Del Gallo posted a 4-2 record against the top competition in the Northeast in the tournament, including a win by fall, and a technical fall.