GORHAM, Maine – With their outstanding finishes at the 2018 NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championship this weekend, freshman Austin Shorey (Lebanon, Maine/Noble) and sophomore Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) have punched their tickets to the 2018 NCAA Division III National Championship tournament March 9-10 at in Cleveland, Ohio.
Shorey and Del Gallo are two of a program-best five Huskies to earn All-Region honors, as Southern Maine wrestling, ranked 25th in the most recent d3wrestle.com national poll, finished fifth overall out of 17 teams at the regional championship. The Huskies' fifth place finish is a program best. Fourth-ranked Johnson & Wales captured the team title scoring 156.5 points, followed by WPI in second with 92.5 points, and Wesleyan (Conn.) in third with 91.5 points. New York University placed fourth with 89 points and USM scored 88 points.
Joining Shorey and Del Gallo with All-Region honors are junior Brendan Weir (Easthampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional), sophomore Justin Stacy (Rochester, N.H./Marshwood) and freshman Brandon Cousino (North Ferrisburhg, Vt./Vergennes Union). Weir, Stacy and Cousino each placed fourth in their respective weight classes, finishing one spot shy of an NCAA championship bid.
Wrestling at 149 pounds, Weir went 4-2 at the regional championship to earn All-Region honors for the first time in his career. Opening the tourney with a major decision victory over Norwich's Ben Forsman, 11-2, Weir dropped a 7-2 decision to Trinity's Grant Sorenson. In the consolation bracket, Weir won three consecutive bouts to put himself in contention for an NCAA bid, and earn All-Region accolades, including a win by technical fall, 17-11 (5:11), over Bridgewater's Fox Maxwell. In the third place match, Weir came up against Sorenson again, and was unable to come away with the victory. Weir concludes his season with an outstanding 30-10 record.
Also posting a 4-2 record in the tournament, Stacy rumbled his way to a fourth place finish at 174 pounds. A 2017 All-NEWA Rookie Team selection, Stacy is earning All-Region honors for the first time in his career. Earning a bye through the first round, Stacy opened the championship with major decision win over Williams' Luke Anselmi, 11-3, before dropping a 7-3 decision to Wesleyan's Dominic Pirraglia. In the consolation bracket, Stacy came away with two wins and advanced to the third place match after a medical forfeit by Ryan Guers of WNEU in their consolation semifinals. In the third place match, Pirraglia and Stacy faced off again with Pirraglia sneaking away with a 4-2 win by decision. Stacy is 16-9 in his sophomore season.
Competing in his first regional championship, Cousino had an outstanding tournament placing fourth, and posting a 4-2 record including two wins by fall. After dropping a narrow 5-4 decision to Coast Guard's Jonathan Wagner in the quarterfinals, Cousino roared back in the consolation bracket winning with back-to-back pins downing Springfield's Severianel Burgos in 48 seconds, and then putting Roger Williams' Michael Fernandes to the mat in 40 seconds. Cousino then put himself into the third place match with a 6-4 decision over WPI's Michael Curtis before facing off against Wagner for the second time and falling 6-4 by decision. Cousino finishes his rookie campaign with a 29-16 record, including 16 win by fall.
Becoming the first Southern Maine freshman to earn a spot at the NCAA Division III National Championship, Shorey put together an outstanding performance to place third at 141 pounds, and earn All-Region honors. Opening his first Regional Championship with a win by fall over Trinity's Andrew Saccone in 5:35, Shorey found himself in the consolation bracket with a quarterfinal loss, 5-1 by decision, to Wesleyan's James Matias. In the wrestle-back, Shorey used an 8-3 win by decision over Norwich's Jon Graziane, and then a dominant 17-2 (7:00) win by technical fall over Springfield's Derek Bohle to move onto the consolation semifinals. Facing Castleton's Max Temple, Shorey advanced earning a point for riding time after the match ended at 3-3. In the third place match, Shorey came up against Matias again and this time came away the victory with a 6-3 decision to earn his spot at Nationals. Shorey will enter the national championship with a 31-7 record.
Ranked second nationally at 125 pounds, Del Gallo earned the second All-Region honor of his career placing second after a fourth-place finish in 2017. Earning the bid to the NCAA Division III National Championship, Del Gallo will attempt to follow in his brother Dan's footsteps. Dan earned USM's first national championship in 2017, winning the 149 pounds title.
Entering the tournament undefeated at 35-0, Del Gallo won his first three matches of the tourney, opening with a pin of Castleton's Ryan Cabezas in 3:52, and secured his entry to the national championship with a 4-0 win over Williams' Matt Morris. In the championship match, Del Gallo suffered his first loss of the season to the fifth-ranked wrestler in the country Jay Albis of Johnson & Wales. Del Gallo is 38-1 heading into the national championship tournament.
Sending a pair of wrestlers to the NCAA Division III National Championships for the first time since current assistant coaches Dan Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) and Jonathan Deupree (Ozona, Fla./Countryside) achieved the feat in 2015, it is the just the third time that Southern Maine has had more than one wrestler at the National Championship. USM had two in 2010 when teammates Matt Ulrich and current USM head coach and two-time All-American Mike Morin became the first Husky tandem to do so.
With Del Gallo and Shorey in the 2018 NCAA National Championship, USM has sent a wrestler to the championship tourney each year since 2014. Del Gallo and Shorey are the eighth and ninth USM wrestlers to earn bids to the national championship, joining Adam Farrington (1999, 2001), Steve Valastro (2007), Mike Morin (2008, 2009, 2010), Matt Ulrich (2010), Billy Cole (2011), Jon Deupree (2014, 2015), Dan Del Gallo (2015, 2016, 2017).