Erin Brown, sports editor
Senior Daniel Del Gallo (Gardiner, ME) finished his collegiate athletic career in the way every college athlete dreams of, as a national champion. Del Gallo took to the mat last week in the two-day NCAA Division III wrestling national championship tournament in La Crosse, WI to become the first ever wrestling national champion at USM. Del Gallo is only the third USM athlete to win an individual national championship. His win was just the icing on the cake of his nearly perfect season and all around impressive four years at USM.
Del Gallo went 4-0 at the national championship tournament. In his first match, he broke the school record for most wins by a wrestler. The record previously was held by one of the guys in his corner for that match, head coach Mike Morin.
“It was exciting breaking the wins record. I made a lot of goals in the beginning of the season and that was one of them,” said Del Gallo.
After earning the honor of All-American and punching his ticket to day two of the tournament, Del Gallo was up against the top-seeded and two-time national champion Kenny Martin of Wartburg College for the semi-final round. After getting past the previous champion, it was onto the final match. For this match, Del Gallo took on Aaron Engle of Cornell College. Dan was able to go 4-1 to take down Engle and bring home his national championship.
“It was awesome. I couldn’t have done it without my coaches, my teammates, and my family. A lot of people helped me get to this championship,” said Del Gallo about his victories in Wisconsin. “I couldn’t have done it on my own.”
After four years of wrestling for USM and a career record of 137-19, the standout wrestler said that this was the best possible way he could have finished his career at USM.
“I can’t think of a better way to have done it,” he stated. “It’s sad to think I won’t wrestle at USM again, but for right now I’m still just very happy with how it ended.”