Traveling to find worthy competition is nothing new for Maine’s top high school and middle school wrestlers. During the course of a year they’re apt to travel all around the Northeast, and as far south as Virginia and west as North Dakota.

On Sunday, eight adventurous wrestlers and five coaches from the Portland-based wrestling club Casco Bay Elite will stretch their wrestling travels to new distances.

They are headed to Bulgaria – an Eastern European country with a rich wrestling history – to spend more than a week refining freestyle and Greco-Roman techniques at five clubs.

“I grew up in Pennsylvania so I’m used to going a long way to wrestle,” said Scarborough High sophomore Jeremy Sendrowski. “But this is my first time going to Europe. Both in the wrestling room and outside of the wrestling room, this is going to be a great learning opportunity.”

Sendrowski and Portland High freshmen Zack Elowitch and Ben Levine are members of Casco Bay Elite. They’ll be joined by two of the state’s best high school wrestlers – four-time state champ and two-time New England champ Peter Del Gallo of Gardiner and three-time state champ Cody Craig, a Skowhegan junior.

Anthony Napolitano, Tyler Brown and Michael Delev, who are middle school wrestlers in South Portland, also will make the trip.

They’ll be joined by coaches Tony Napolitano, Dave Elowitch, and Petko (Peter) Delev. University of Southern Maine coaches Mike Morin and Jonathan Deupree are going to train as wrestlers.

Portland High wrestling coach Tony Napolitano came up with the idea for the trip. He and Dave Elowitch are Casco Bay Elite’s co-owners and head coaches.

“We’re always looking for unique and interesting wrestling opportunities for the kids,” Napolitano said. “We thought this was not only a cool opportunity to experience some great wrestling and to meet other wrestlers from around the world, but just to see a really interesting part of the world.”

Petko Delev was born and raised in Bulgaria. He attended the state-sponsored Vassil Levski Sports School, a wrestling school for students from fifth to 12th grade.

Delev said he won national youth championships in 1992 in the 62-kilogram weight class (about 137 pounds) and again in 1994 when he was 18 and wrestling at 66 kilos.

Delev has maintained his wrestling connections in Bulgaria and did most of the logistical legwork for the trip.

“For the kids, this is (a chance) to have better wrestling,” Delev said. “To teach some different moves. Here, they wrestle folkstyle. There is all freestyle and Greco.”

Delev was asked what he thinks will surprise the Americans.

“How old is my country,” he said. “They see how many old, really old buildings. We stay in Plovdiv, the second-biggest city in my country, and they say the most beautiful city in whole of Europe.”

Plovdiv is ancient. Archaeological evidence dates to the 6th century B.C. Alexander the Great’s father conquered the city. The Romans built an ampitheatre that still exists in the center of the old town. Byzantines, Bulgarians and Ottoman Turks all held the city in different eras.

Delev’s son, Michael, will be able to help with translation for the group. He has spent several summers with grandparents and other relatives, and speaks Bulgarian.

“But I haven’t seen all the places, so I’m looking forward to that,” Michael Delev said.

He also expects he and the other wrestlers will be in for a culture shock on the mat.

“We’ll learn more about Greco and freestyle and how other teams around the world wrestle,” Delev said. “They throw (opponents) and stuff a lot more.”

Del Gallo has competed in – and won – freestyle tournaments in Canada. He said he expects to hold his own but also will be looking to learn as much as he can.

“It’s all about drilling and learning technique,” Del Gallo said. “I definitely plan on videotaping everything their coaches say.”

The 15-person contingent (two parents are also going) leaves Sunday and returns April 26. The plan is to train at five wrestling schools.

Casco Bay Elite plans to have a travel blog about its trip on its website and Facebook page.