Contributions from Brooke Cross, Athletic Communications Intern.
GORHAM, Maine – Coming off of the program's best finish at the 2018 Northeast Regional Championship a season ago, the expectations are high for the University of Southern Maine Huskies' wrestling team as they prepare for the 2019 NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championship this weekend at Johnson & Wales University's Wildcat Athletic Center in Providence, R.I.
A region stacked with individual and team talent, 17 teams from the Northeast and New York regions, including the Huskies, will compete for the regional championship and coveted individual berths into the NCAA Division III National Championship. With 180 individual spots on the line dispersed over six regions, these hard-working student-athletes will vie for a spot in Roanoke, Virginia's Berglund Center for nationals on March 8-9. To earn a berth out of the Northeast regionals, wrestlers must finish in the top three of their respective weight class
Three teams competing in the Northeast Regional are ranked in the nation's top 25, including host, third-ranked Johnson & Wales University, New York University ranked seventeenth, and Coast Guard ranked at eighteen.
Returning a majority of their lineup from a year ago, the Huskies are poised to match their 2018 success. Among those returning competitors are seniors Mike Risti (Limerick, Maine/Massabesic) and Brendan Weir (Easthampton, Mass./Hampshire Regional). Risti and Weir are ranked sixth respectively at 285 and 149 pounds in the most recent New England Wrestling Association rankings, and have both earned their 100th career wins during the 2018-2019 campaign. Risti who is 19-6 on the season was named to the NEWA All-Rookie team in his first year as a Husky and has compiled a 103-36 record throughout his four years.
A 2018 All-Region wrestler placing fourth as a junior, Weir is currently 21-11 and is completing an outstanding career as a student-athlete at the University of Southern Maine – earning numerous accolades for his academic and leadership achievements including 2016-2017 NEWA All-Academic team honors and the Albert D. Bean Jr. leadership award recipient of 2017-2018.
Sophomores Bradley Beaulieu (Waterboro, Maine) and Austin Shorey (Lebanon, Maine) and junior Peter Del Gallo (Gardiner, Maine) are also expected to be in the mix for potential NCAA berths and All-Region honors.
In his first season with the Huskies, Beaulieu is a transfer from Division I Old Dominion University third-ranked in the most recent New England Wrestling Association ranks asserting his position in the division with an 18-6record.
Coming off of a historic freshman campaign, Shorey became the first Southern Maine freshman to qualify for nationals with his third place finish at 141 pounds in the 2018 Northeast Regional championships. The 2018 NEWA co-Rookie of the Year, Second team All-NEWA andAll-Rookie team pick, Shorey posted a 31-9 record, including an 8-0 mark in wins by fall.
Already a highly decorated wrestler, Del Gallo has been on the national scene since his sophomore season and has been ranked as high as no. 1 in the nation at 125 pounds.
Currently ranked second in New England behind 2018 National Champion Jay Albis of JWU, Del Gallo has a 16-1 record this season, including a 6-4 sudden victory decision over Albis in November. A two-time All-Region wrestler, Del Gallo placed second behind Albis during the 2018 Northeast Regional Championship. Heading into the Northeast Regional, Del Gallo has a remarkable career record of 89-6.
Fans of the Huskies can take in the action live at Johnson and Wales University – the host team of the two-day championship. Wrestling starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, and continues at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday for wrestlers that advance to the championship rounds.
More information on the event can be found at https://providence.jwuathletics.com/tournament/wrest/2018-19. Live stats and video streaming will be available at https://www.trackwrestling.com/
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