Gardiner coach Matt Hanley thinks Danny Del Gallo knows what it takes to win at the New England Wrestling Championships.

“Last year, Danny came up a little short of beating the kid who won the weight class,” Hanley said. “I think the experience of wrestling in the tournament last season will help him this time around.”

Del Gallo, who will wrestle in the 135-pound weight class, is one of five area wrestlers who will compete in the two-day tournament, which begins today at the Providence Career and Technical Center in Providence, R.I. Others are: Skowhegan’s Carter Stevens (145), Winslow’s Aaron Lint (285) and Mt. Blue’s Tyler Craig (106) and Caleb Farrington (170).

Wrestling begins at 5 tonight and resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday. Finals are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.

“The level of competition at that tournament is outstanding,” Hanley said. “The top kids from six states are there. There are no easy matches.”

Last year, Del Gallo lost his quarterfinal match to eventual champion Brandon Walsh of Connecticut in overtime and was later eliminated from the tournament. This time, he aims to bring home a medal.

“My goal is to place this year,” Del Gallo said.

The top six finishers in each weight class gain All-New England status.

Del Gallo has spent a good deal of time traveling to practice with other wrestlers who share that same goal the last two weeks. He has attended workouts at Mt. Ararat High School and Marshwood High School. Marshwood, which won the Class A team title, has five wrestlers going to New Englands.

“I am glad I’ve been able to go to Marshwood because the workouts are intense,” Del Gallo said. “I’ve been practicing with state champions who are around my weight. You can’t get better practice partners than that.”

Skowhegan coach Brooks Thompson has taken the Mt. Blue wrestlers under his wing because Mt. Blue coach Bob O’Connor recently had shoulder surgery.

“Skowhegan and Mt. Blue have been working out together,” Thompson said. “We’ve gone to Mt. Ararat, Hyde School and Foxcroft Academy. We’re just trying to give the kids the best possible chance.”

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