Daniel Del Gallo capped a spectacular season by becoming the first Gardiner Area High School wrestler to reach the finals at the New England championships. Del Gallo, a junior, was named the Class B Outstanding Wrestler after pinning his way to his second consecutive state championship. He also won titles at the Tiger Invitational, Noble Invitational, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships and the Western B championship.

For his outstanding season, Del Gallo has been named the Kennebec Journal Wrestler of the Year for the second straight season.

Del Gallo finished 52-1 this season, his sole loss in the New England finals gainst James Smith of Natick High School in Massachusetts. Del Gallo has a career record of 138-10.

Del Gallo also competed at New Englands (which features 22 wrestlers in each weight class) last year as a sophomore but failed to place. He said he learned some important lessons from the experience.

“Wrestling in New Englands last year was very beneficial because I knew what to expect this year,” Del Gallo said. “I knew that every person I would wrestle would be tough.” 

Del Gallo won three straight matches to advance to the finals. While he won each of those matches by five or more points, the victories were anything but routine.

“Every match came down to the last period,” Del Gallo said. “I was thinking about all the hard work I did during practices and telling myself there’s only a couple of minutes to go, I could do this.”

Gardiner coach Matt Hanley attributes Del Gallo’s success to his work ethic.

“Danny has a lot of natural ability,” Hanley said. “But after last year’s New England tournament, he knew he would need to work harder to win at that level. For Danny to realize the hard work it would take to compete at the New Englands and then go and work that hard is impressive.”

Del Gallo says he was fortunate to have great practice partners in Wyatt Rush, Wyatt Thornton and Zac Abram. He also worked out frequently with Brunswick High School’s Jared Jensen, a two-time Class A state champion, while preparing for the New England tournament.

Del Gallo also has a background in power lifting and gymnastics, two sports that serve him well in wrestling, according to Thornton.

“Danny’s combination of speed and strength, that comes from power lifting and gymnastics, has helped him a lot,” Thornton said.  “Also, he seems to have an intuitive understanding of wrestling which makes him able to constantly tweak his technique. You always have to be on your toes just to put up a fight against his moves.”


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