Gardiner’s Daniel Del Gallo (138) was named the Outstanding Wrestler after dominating his weight class at the Skowhegan Tournament. Del Gallo advanced to the finals with three straight pins and beat Skowhegan’s highly-regarded Kaleb Brown by a 20-7 major decision to win the title.
It was Del Gallo’s first time competing at 138 pounds this season. He has wrestled most of his matches at 145 pounds. His younger brother, Peter, also dropped down a weight class to 106 pounds and won his weight class.
Both brothers anticipate wrestling at the lighter weights in the regional and state tournaments.
“Peter said he didn’t have much trouble making it and neither did I,” Daniel said. “All it takes is a little discipline. “
Mitchell Chesley (195) placed fourth and the Tigers finished in eighth place as a team.
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Nine Skowhegan wrestlers advanced to the championship finals and the host team handily won the first Skowhegan Tournament. Skowhegan scored 219.5 points, followed by Ellsworth with 107.5. Westbrook, Nokomis and Mt. Blue rounded out the top five in the 14-team field.
Skowhegan got championship performances out of Tyler Craig (113), Kameron Doucette (132), Logan Stevens (145), Carter Stevens (152), Mikal Federici (170), Levi Hayden (182), and Andrew Pineo (195). John Swett (126) and Kaleb Brown (138) placed second.
It was Pineo’s third tournament title this season. He also won the Noble and Nokomis tournament titles. Pineo, a senior, placed second at the Class A state tournament as a sophomore, but was slowed by a nagging injury last season and failed to place at the state meet.
“Andrew has been wrestling tough all year,” Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes said. “He knows this is his last chance and he wrestles and practices with a sense of urgency.”
His 6-3 finals win against Windham’s Christian Coons was his second win of the season against Coons, who placed second in Class A last season.
Pineo scored a takedown and an escape during the first two periods against Coons, before icing the match with a three-point near fall in the final period.
“He’s a strong kid and it was a good matchup,” Pineo said. “I played the smart match and ran the time. It feels good to get a win on a great kid.”
Pineo is 30-1 with 19 pins.
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Good wrestlers tend to come in pairs, according to Monmouth Academy coach Shawn Schultz.
Schultz explains that the best wrestlers in Monmouth Academy team history were usually workout partners.
“Success takes two wrestlers pushing each other in practice,” Schultz said.
This season, the Mustangs two best wrestlers are James Gambino (138) and Stewart Buzzell (145). The two juniors spend the majority of practices together.
“These guys pound on each other” Schultz said.
Buzzell has a 16-4 season record while Gambino is 15-4, according to Schultz. Buzzell captured his weight class at the Nokomis Tournament and finished in second place at the Gardiner Tiger Invitational. Gambino placed third at the Tiger and was fourth at Nokomis.
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Nokomis Regional High School has enjoyed success in both tournament and dual meet competition this season. The Warriors are 17-3 in dual meets, according to coach Scott Preble. They finished in a tie for fourth at the Skowhegan Tournament.
The Warriors have been led by brothers John and Rusty Wilson. John (170) is 21-2 while Rusty (182) is 22-2. Both finished second in their weight classes at the Skowhegan Tournament.
“This is only their second year of wrestling,” Preble said. “They have come a long way in a short time. They are both strong and quick and have worked really hard at getting better.”
Preble called Rusty’s finals match against Skowhegan’s Levi Hayden “one of the most exciting of the tournament.”
“They really went after each other during the entire match.”
Hayden beat Wilson by an 11-9 decision.
Jacob Richards (160) finished in third place while Jacob Nichols (285) was fourth. Jonathan Crocker (132) and Josh King (152) also scored valuable points for the Warriors, Preble said.
“Josh had three pins and Jonathan had two,” Preble said. “Pin points are big in a tournament.”
Each pin during a tournament adds two additional points to the team score.
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Winslow finished in a solid sixth place at the Skowhegan Tournament. The Black Raiders had four medalists and were led by Dillon Pelletier, who won the 120 pound class.
“They did awesome,” coach Kevin Fredette said. “We only brought five kids and placed four.”
Pelletier won his weight class in the Western C regional and was third in Class C last season. He is 22-4 at 120 pounds.
“I feel good that I won the tournament,” he said. “I’m just looking to improve on last year, our whole team has come a long way this season.”
Aaron Lint (285) placed second, Sean Cote (220) was third and Johnny Lagasse (182) was fourth.
“I treat the whole season as a learning experience,” Fredette said. “The kids learn what they need to do and I learn what we have to do as a team to succeed. It usually takes until just before regionals to get to this point, but we seem to have reached it early. A few more weeks of refining and we should be good for the end of season push.”
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Mt. View coach Hamilton Richards is seeing progress from his squad. The Mustangs placed three wrestlers at the Skowhegan Tournament
“Overall this represents an improvement for us since the Nokomis tournament (on Jan. 5),” Richards said.
James Blanchette (120) and Devan Fuller (285) placed third, while Job Mesaric (220) was fourth. Matt Wheeler (138) and Anthony Barnard (145) also picked up two wins during the day.
Blanchette was a Class C state champion last year at 106 pounds but has struggled a bit in adjusting to the heavier weight class this season, according to Richards. However, Blanchette may be figuring things out.
“His conditioning is getting better and he’s focusing on moves that control his opponents instead of risky pinning combinations that have been the bane of his win-loss column this season,” Richards said.
Richards is looking for the Mustangs to finish strong as the end of season tournaments approach.
“Team-wise, we still have two kids out for medical issues and the kids are improving,” Richards said. “They may well be able to carry us to a respectable finish at regionals. Time will tell and we still have three weeks between now and then.”