BRISTOL, R.I. – Led by several outstanding efforts, including a championship finish in the 125 pound bracket by junior Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine), the University of Southern Maine Huskies finished sixth at the Roger Williams University Invitational this Saturday.
Competing against some of the toughest competition in the Northeast, Southern Maine had six wrestlers finish in the top six of their respective weight brackets, led by Del Gallo's first place finish, including a 6-4 sudden victory win over the top ranked wrestler in the region and the 2017 defending National Champion at 125 pounds, Jay Albis of Johnson and Wales. The Huskies scored 92.5 points as a team. JWU placed first overall with 153.5 points, followed by Roger Williams' 132. Messiah, Wesleyan and New York University placed third (108), fourth (96) and fifth respectively (93.5) out of the 12 competing teams respectively.
Joining Del Gallo on the podium were seniors Brendan Weir (Easthampton, Mass./Hampshire School) and Mike Risti (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic), sophomores Brad Beaulieu (Waterboro, Maine/Marshwood) and Brandon Cousino (North Ferrisburgh, Vermont/Vergennes Union) and freshman Jake Peavey (South China, Maine/Erskin Academy). Beaulieu and Peavey placed sixth at 133 pounds and 285 pounds respectively, while Weir placed fourth at 157 pounds. Cousino and Risti each had second place finishes at 197 and 285 pounds.
Presently ranked fourth nationally by d3wrestle.com, Del Gallo dominated his competition in his first two bouts earning a pair of wins by fall. Del Gallo overpowered his opponent Messiah's Josiah Gehr in 4:30, before putting Kings College's Dakota Quick on his back in 6:09. Against Albis, the top-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds in NCAA Division III, Del Gallo trailed 4-3 in the third period and score the match-tying point on an escape with one second remaining to force sudden victory. In the fourth period, Del Gallo scored the necessary points for the win on a takedown with 18 seconds left. Del Gallo is now 4-0 to start the season.
After winning his first two matches by fall (1:28) and major decision (12-2) to advance to the semifinals, Beaulieu finished sixth due to medical forfeits. Peavey, in just his second intercollegiate competition battled back from a second round loss to post a 3-3 record on the day, including an opening round win by fall in just 44 seconds over Messiah's Denny Karas. Weir took fourth place after having his day halted by the six-match rule, and was left unable to compete for third place. Posting a 5-1 record on the day, Weir won four of his matches by decision and earned a 4:44 win by fall over Conor Panzarella of RWU.
Cousino earned his second place finish after rumbling his way into the finals with a 3-0 start with all wins by fall. Cousino opened the tourney with a 31-second pin of Hunter College's Mentor Gjonbalaj and then downed Jerome Williams of Bridgewater State in 1:04. Cousino advanced to the finals with a 1:12 pin of JWU's Tommy Wrzesien before dropping a narrow 8-4 decision to nationally-ranked fourth, JWU's Michael Dinardo in the championship match.
Risti also advanced to the finals winning his first three matches, all by decision, including a nail-biting 2-1 win over RWU's Adam Patsun in the championship semifinals. Risti opened with an 8-1 win over Norwich's John Rohrig, then took a 12-5 win over Jayson Gomez of RWU for his first two wins on the day.
Southern Maine returns to action on Saturday (10:00 a.m.) at the Doug Parker Invitational hosted by Springfield University in Springfield, Mass.