GARDINER — Peter Del Gallo missed the 41st Tiger Invitational, and a good chunk of the season that followed, with an elbow injury. The Gardiner senior was back Saturday enjoying each moment of the 42nd edition of the state’s longest-running regular season meet, his last as a Tiger.

“Not being here last year, that definitely adds a lot more meaning to it,” said Del Gallo, a three-time state champion who has never lost a match in Maine. “Missing most of last year definitely lit a fire for this year.”

Del Gallo collected his third championship at his school’s marquee meet, breezing through the 126-pound field in the 13-team meet at Gardiner Area High School.

He pinned everyone he stepped onto the mat with, including Sanford’s Kwan Chheang at 1:45 of the championship final.

“Just go out and wrestle hard, wrestle smart, not make any mental errors,” Del Gallo said of his pre-meet mindset. “I’m feeling good. I’m definitely not where I want to be conditioning and my aggressiveness and my mental awareness. I’ve still got a lot to go before the end of the season.”

Nokomis won the team title with 150 points. The Warriors put seven wrestlers in the championship round, more than twice as many as anyone but runner-up Sanford (140) and third-place Cony (105), with four apiece. Five Warriors won their weight class, the same as last year when they finished just 2.5 points behind Westbrook for first place.

“We’ve got a good mix of kids, a lot of young kids and we’ve got some good veterans leading them,” Nokomis coach Scott Preble said. “Most of my kids are doing about what I hoped. We just want to keep improving. We’re still missing moves we shouldn’t be, so just keep going as a wrestler and recognize the moves when they’re there.”

Josh Brown (113) and Christopher Wilson (195) defended their meet titles — Brown with a pin of York/Traip’s Josh Mackaman at 3:26, Wilson with a 6-0 decision over Cony’s Devon O’Connor. Quinton Richards defeated Morse’s Isaiah Cogswell, 13-3, in the 138 final. Kolin Fraser decisioned Milton McCabe of Sanford, 9-2, for the 145 championship and Hunter Glidden pinned Westbrook’s Chris Kennie at 1:08 in the 285 final.

Like many of Saturday’s winners, Glidden, a senior, was hoping to use the early-season meet as a springboard to greater success this season.

“This is building towards me being in first place every single meet and getting my 100 (career) wins, my state championship and everything I can,” Glidden said.

Other local individual winners were Cony’s Noah Dumas (106) and Max Storey (220), Monmouth’s Calvin Thompson (120) and Erskine’s Isaac Taylor (132).

Dumas, a freshman, rallied from down by four points with 10 seconds to go in the final with Kennebunk’s Alden Shields to win, 10-9. The reversal, highlighted by a head-and-arm throw, was so late and sudden officials double-checked the scoring to confirm Dumas’ five-point move.

“I told Noah I was so happy that match came down to the last second and he pulled it out because sometimes it takes something like that to happen to prove to a kid that you never stop wrestling, because anything can happen,” Cony coach Shawn Totman said. “I didn’t think he wrestled great in that match, but he persevered. For a freshman to do something like that, I was happy for Noah.”

“In the beginning, I was trying to do a fireman’s (carry) but I kind of screwed up on it and that put me behind,” said Dumas, who trailed, 7-1, early in the third period. “I wanted it real bad. The head-and-arm (throw) at the end was what turned momentum my way.”

Storey defended his weight class title with a pin in all three of his matches, including Sanford’s Nick Works at 45 seconds in the final. But the senior, who won a regional championship last year, wasn’t entirely pleased with his early-season performance.

“I had a rough start today,” he said. “I wasn’t sure what was wrong today. I kind of felt out of it. I wrestle year-round but I took a break for football season, so I’m shaking off the rust. I think overall I had a pretty good tournament and turned up the heat.”

Cony’s Logan Benedict was pinned by Josh Smith of York/Traip in the 160 final. The Rams also had a consolation final winner in Mitchell MacFarland at 285.

“This is what I look at — our kids wrestled better today than they did on Wednesday and than they did last week,” Totman said. “We have so many freshmen and sophomores that are just starting out, that’s the way you have to look at it. Look at the small steps we’re taking as a team and we’re getting better and better and better.”

Thompson pinned Nokomis’ Jacob Booth at 3:20 of the 120 championship. Taylor pinned Sanford’s Travis Dionne at 1:07 of the 132 final.

Mt. Blue’s Jagger Bullen (106) and Terry Storer (145) won consolation matches for third place, as did Erskine’s Michael Sprague (113), MCI’s ZyAnthony Moss (120), and Gardiner’s Cam Bell (138).

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

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Twitter: @RAWmaterial33