NORTH BERWICK — The introductions made it sound like the 120-pound final of the 32nd annual Noble Invitational wrestling meet Saturday was a lopsided mismatch.
Peter DelGallo, sophomore from Gardiner, 70-0 high school record and reigning New England champ vs. Marsh wood freshman Brad Beaulieu, an unknown at the high school level who is overshadowed by the Hawks’ three returning state champions.
Instead it turned into the most exciting final of the meet. Beaulieu forced overtime with a five-point takedown to a near fall as the third period ended.
DelGallo showed grit and skill with a three-point turn and held on for a 12-9 double-overtime win.
“The last thing on my mind was my record,” DelGallo said. “I was just thinking about getting through the period, staying off my back. If I lose, I lose. Winning doesn’t always make you better.”
Beaulieu showed from the start he wasn’t in awe of DelGallo or his record.
Respectful but not in awe.
“When I heard them say Peter was 70-0 I just wanted to make that 70-1,” Beaulieu said. “Peter’s a great wrestler but his success just gives me motivation.”
Beaulieu got the first takedown, then DelGallo gradually built an 8-2 lead.
Beaulieu brought the crowd to its feet as the third period wound down, trailing 9-4.
DelGallo went for a last takedown. Beaulieu was set.
“I had to try the Spladle. It’s a last-second move. I knew I had to try something and at the end you have to go for something,” Beaulieu said.
To DelGallo’s credit, he was able to slide his upper body through enough to keep from being pinned.
Neither wrestler scored in the one-minute first overtime, with DelGallo again showing his defensive prowess.
That set up a second overtime, split to 30-second segments to give each a chance to be on top and bottom.
“Top to win,” DelGallo said. “I tilted him and got the near fall points. I knew as long as I kept from getting put on my back I could win after that.”
While it was their first high school meeting, it wasn’t the first time they wrestled.
Beaulieu moved from the Massabesic district to the Marshwood area over the summer. He said he wrestled DelGallo many times through elementary and middle school, at times winning.
“Last year when I was in eighth grade I kept watching Peter’s success and when he won New Englands, it just gave me that push to work even harder,” Beaulieu said.
DelGallo said he didn’t really know much about Beaulieu.
He does now.
“I think it’s the first time this year, maybe the second, somebody has taken me down,” DelGallo said. “It’s a reality check. I’m not always going to have easy matches.”
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: