Daniel Del Gallo watched his younger brother, Peter, add to his family’s wrestling legacy with a New England high school title last weekend. This weekend, he hopes to take the family name national.

The University of Southern Maine junior co-captain is in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the NCAA Division III wrestling championships. It is Del Gallo’s second consecutive trip to nationals. The Gardiner native wrestles in the 149-pound preliminary round Friday morning against Roy Munroe of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Del Gallo takes a 34-5 record into the match against Munroe (22-3). The winner advanced to the quarterfinals to face fifth-seeded Seth Lansberry of Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pennsylvania) on Friday night.

Ranked 10th in the nation, Del Gallo finished third at the Northeast Regionals at Springfield College on Feb. 27-28. He wrestled from the No. 6 seed to earn all-region honors for a second straight year.

Del Gallo was 0-2 at nationals last year, dropping two close decisions, including a 9-8 loss to this year’s top seed, Derek Arnold of Ursinus (Collegeville, Pennsylvania), who went on to finish fourth. Two of his losses this year have come against Division I opponents.

“Last year, I think I was a little nervous going in. I really didn’t know what to expect,” Del Gallo said. “I feel like I’m a more mature wrestler going in this time.”


Del Gallo, who became the fourth USM wrestler in history to earn a return trip to nationals, said the confidence that has come with that maturity has made him a more aggressive wrestler. The ascension of Mike Morin to USM head coach this year has also boosted his development. Morin, who served as an assistant to previous coach Joe Pistone, is a three-time New England champion and the only three-time NCAA qualifier the program has had.

Morin retained assistant coach Julio Santiago and added 2015 USM grad Jonathan Deupree, who wrestled alongside Del Gallo at nationals last year, to his staff. Del Gallo credited them, as well as co-captain and practice partner CJ Luth, with helping him push the pace of his matches, wear out his opponents and significantly increase his takedowns while not making many technical changes.

“I don’t think my style has changed too much. I’ve just focused on the things that helped me last year and tried to develop them,” Del Gallo said.

“It’s definitely made a difference in some of my tougher matches, like at regionals,” he added.

Del Gallo’s weight class is considered one of the deeper and most unpredictable bracket at this year’s tournament, according to D3wrestle.com. Defending champion Kenny Martin of Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) is also wrestling in the preliminary round. He was a fourth seed last year. This year’s top two seeds, Arnold and Dan Mirman of Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore), were the top two seeds last year and lost in the semifinals.

Del Gallo is 90-18 in his career at USM and is compiling an impressive academic record as well. At nationals last year, he was presented the NCAA’s Elite 89 Award for reaching the national championship while carrying a 4.0 GPA. The philosophy major currently boasts a 3.956 GPA and could become a two-time recipient this weekend. He is also a two-time National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-American

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638


Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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