GORHAM, Maine – Ranked 28th in the most recent d3wrestle.com national poll, the University of Southern Maine Huskies' wrestling team is preparing for the upcoming NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championship hosted by Roger Williams University this weekend in Bristol, Rhode Island.
Nineteen teams from the Northeast region, including the Huskies, will compete for the regional championship while each student-athlete wrestler will vie for one of a total of 180 spots in the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament on March 10-11 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Of the 19 teams competing at the Northeast regional, six of them are ranked in the top 30 nationally by d3wrestle.com, including second-ranked Ithaca College (Ithaca, N.Y.) and fourth-ranked Johnson & Wales University (Providence, R.I.). Individual student-athlete can qualify for the national championship by placing in their respective weight division.
With a 12-5 record in dual meets this season, the Huskies are ranked fourth in New England in the most recent New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Coaches' Poll. Five Husky grapplers are ranked in the top six of their respective weight classes in the most recent (February 20) NEWA Individual Rankings release led by senior Daniel Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) who sits atop the 149-pound division. Del Gallo's younger brother Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) is ranked second at 125 pounds, while senior CJ Luth (Milford, Conn./Foran) is ranked fourth at 157 pounds. Freshman Josh Smith (York, Maine) and sophomore Mike Risti (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic) are both ranked sixth at 165 and 285 pounds respectively.
In the national rankings, Peter Del Gallo is listed as a "contender" ranked 12th overall, while Dan Del Gallo is ranked third in the country. Peter Del Gallo is 31-1 heading into the Northeast Regional Championship with his lone loss suffered in a narrow overtime decision. The 2016 Maine High School Wrestler of the Year, Peter Del Gallo will look to earn a coveted spot in the NCAA National Championship. The 125-pound division is stacked, however, with a pair of top-ten ranked individuals in fourth ranked junior Bobby Jordan of Johnson and Wales, and sixth-ranked senior Jimmy Kashian of Ithaca College. Kashian is a returning 2016 All-American, finishing seventh with a 3-2 record at the National Championship.
Dan Del Gallo and Ithaca freshman Sammy Schneider are the two nationally-ranked (top ten) wrestlers in the Northeast Region. Del Gallo is undefeated at 39-0 entering into the championship and will be vying for his third consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament. The two-time NCAA Elite 90 winner, given to the student-athlete who has advanced to the national championship stage of his or her sport with the highest grade point average, finished third at the NCAA Northeast Regional as a junior. Del Gallo earned his first berth to the NCAA Championship in 2015, placing second, becoming just the seventh Husky wrestler to earn a bid.
A three-time William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete award winner, Del Gallo is a second team Academic All-American, and a first team Academic All-District student-athlete.