In March, Dan Del Gallo became the first national champion wrestler in USM history, winning his class at the 2017 NCAA Division III Wrestling National Championships. He is also a scholar, twice earning elite status from the NCAA as the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grades participating at his finals.
Place of birth: Maine
Hometown: Gardiner, Maine
What led you to pursue your education at USM? I was led to USM by the wrestling coaches. They recruited me to come to USM. But they emphasized the importance of academics and that choosing a school is more than just about participating in sports. They encouraged me to make sure USM was a good fit for me academically, socially and for wrestling. USM had the degrees that I wanted to pursue and the community feel that I was looking for.
Have you had an experience at USM that you feel changed your life or your view of the world? Being involved with the wrestling team helped me to understand the importance of working with others to achieve my personal goals. I would have been unable to be a national champion if I was on my own. My teammates, coaches, and family supported and pushed me to be better throughout my four years at USM. And I couldn't be more appreciative of their support. Very few things in life can be done well on our own. It takes a group of people to achieve any goal. I'm sure that almost everyone knows this but it was a lesson that I was able to learn at USM.
What are your future plans? I plan to give back to the USM wrestling program by joining the staff as an assistant coach. And I plan on eventually attending graduate school.
Is there anyone you'd like to thank? I would like to thank my family, specifically my mom and dad, for always supporting me and being there for me when times were tough and in the good times. I would like to thank my teammates on the wrestling team. Even though I was the only one who won nationals I would not have been able to achieve my goal without you guys. I want to especially thank Cj Luth, my practice partner and roommate. You always pushed me to be better on and off the mat. Plus you would constantly beat me up in the wrestling room. I would like to thank my coaches. They always believed in me even when I didn't. They pushed me to where I needed to be in order to achieve my goals. I would be nowhere without their help. Finally I would like to thank the staff and administration at USM for making my experience here great.
To see all of our 2017 Featured Graduate profiles, click here.