Not many Mainers can say they have competed on the floor of New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Both Kevin Moore — a former wrestler at Mt. Blue High School — and Gardiner’s Daniel Del Gallo can now lay claim to that feat.

The two currently wrestle at the University of Southern Maine, which competed at the prestigious “Grapple at the Garden” on Dec. 21. The event brought together 25 college teams across all three NCAA divisions.

Moore and Del Gallo both went 2-0 as USM beat Muhlenberg College (PA) 25-17 and lost to nationally-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology (NY) 33-9. The overall experience was more exciting than their individual success according to the duo.

“The atmosphere was awesome in there,” Moore said. “The size of the building and the amount of people and the energy of the place was a little overwhelming.”

Del Gallo echoed similar sentiments.

“The team and I were so lucky to be wrestling at the world’s most famous arena,” he said. “So many great people have done great things there and now you can add USM wrestling to that list. We were wrestling our dual meet right next to Cornell.”

The Big Red are currently ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division 1.

The two also enjoyed the experience of being in the heart of downtown Manhattan after the USM matches.

“I loved it,” said Moore. “Dan and I had a great time walking around Times Square and Rockefeller Center.”

• • •

Skowhegan beat five teams in dual meet competition and easily won the 2014 Cony Duals. The Indians beat Madison 66-12, Winslow 57-12 and Mt. Ararat 51-20 to win its pool. In the three-team championship round, the Indians beat Erskine 62-9 and Westbrook 50-28 to claim the title.

“The team has improved greatly over the past few weeks,” Skowhegan coach Tenney Noyes said. “The wrestlers are starting to put it together on the mat. (They’re) hitting their setups, finishing their takedowns and linking their moves. We have a lot of young wrestlers on this team and you can see their confidence growing every time they step on the mat.”

Westbrook — the southern-most team in Eastern A — beat Cony 48-27 to clinch the top spot in its pool and beat Erskine 55-18 to finish second.

“It was good to wrestle some of the A East teams and see where we stack up against the competition,” Westbrook coach John Nicholas said.

Erskine coach Patrick Vigue was pleased with the Eagles third-place finish. “I wasn’t sure we could get past Oxford Hills (a 47-33 victory in pool competition). Two seniors who both won the Tiger tournament were out due to illness, but we wrestled them tough.”

Cony — who finished second in its pool — beat Oxford Hills 45-34 and Mt. Ararat 39-33 in the consolation round to finish fourth overall. Elias Younes won by pin at 285 pounds to break a 33-33 deadlock heading into the final match of the day.

“The Cony squad did well with a few missing pieces due to illness and injury,” said Cony coach Shawn Totman. “I was happy to see how the kids responded to the loss against Westbrook early in the day. The Cony kids responded to that loss by defeating two tough opponents in Mt. Ararat and Oxford Hills.”

• • •

Key wrestlers for two area teams have been sidelined by injuries recently. Winslow junior Luke Fredette suffered a season-ending knee injury in a match against Cony, while the status of Mount View’s Chris Cole is uncertain after an elbow injury suffered during a match against Nokomis’ Jacob Nichols.

“I went to throw (my opponent) and all our weight was carried on my leg and I twisted and it popped,” Fredette said.

The Winslow grappler has endured two surgeries on his left knee. This time, the injury was to his right.

“It felt similar to the other two times on my other knee,” Fredette said. “I just didn’t know it was as bad as it is. They know my MCL is torn for sure and they are pretty confident that the ACL and meniscus are both torn too.”

Fredette is scheduled to have an MRI to determine the actual extent of the injury, but surgery in January seems certain.

Mount View coach Hamilton Richards described the match-up between Cole and Nichols as being a contest between two of the best heavyweights in the state.

“Cole was behind 2-1 and working off the bottom in the second period,” Richards said. “He got to his feet and was in the process of trying to escape when the two wrestlers covered most of the mat and landed again on the edge of the mat.”

The impact resulted in a dislocated elbow for Cole that required transport to a hospital where the elbow was put back into place, according to Richards.

Richards also said the length of recovery time is uncertain until Cole is evaluated by specialists.

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