Governor Livingston's Jon Mele prepares for his state tournament match on Sunday. Credits: Tim LeCras
Governor Livingston's Jon Mele battles with Delbarton's Christian Innarella during Sunday's NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament in Atlantic City. Credits: Tim LeCras
Governor Livingston's Jon Mele wrestles with Delbarton's Christian Innarella during Sunday's NJSIAA Wrestling Tournament in Atlantic City. Credits: Tim LeCras
Governor Livingston's Mele Takes Fourth in State Tournament
Sunday, March 10, 2013 • 4:55pm
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Its the end of an era at Governor Livingston High School. Senior wrestler Jon Mele ended his high school career with a Fourth Place finish at the 2013 NJSIAA Tournament.
"I'm really with how it went this weekend," Mele said. "I wrestled well, I was 5-2 down here. Its a lot of matches to wrestle. Tough matches, back-to-back. I'm pretty happy with how it ended."
The 120 lb. senior, who was one win away from going to the podium last season, was two wins away from the final match, however he fell to Craig De La Cruz in the quarterfinals.
After beating Cherokee's Alex Baider, Mele battled longtime rival Christian Innarella of Delbarton. The two faced off in last week's Region 3 Tournament, with Mele taking the match.
Innarella led the entire way. He earned the first two points in the opening minute of the match on a takedown. Mele responded 15 seconds later with a one-point escape, but Innarella followed with a two-point reversal at the end of the first period.
In the second, Mele struck first with an escape out. However, one minute later, Innarella earned two points with a second takedown. He transitioned the move into a pin to beat Mele for the fourth time in his career.
"We're real familiar with each other," Mele said. "I had pneumonia coming into the weekend, so I wrestled as tough as I could. We're just real familiar with each other."
Despite the loss, Mele ends his Highlander career as the school's all-time winningest wrestler, with 135 defeats, including 33 wins and 17 pins in 2012-13.
Governor Livingston head coach Rick Iacono, who is coaching his final season in Berkeley Heights, was impressed with the weekend is star senior had.
"I have nothing but great respect for Jon Mele, as an athlete, as a young man," Iacono said. "He's a wonderful kid, he's a good student. Its very hard to produce champions out of a [NJSIAA] Group 1 or [NJSIAA] Group 2 schools. I'm very proud today to get it done in this tournament."
Mele said this was the best weekend of his entire career, earning Fourth Place in the state, a feat he said isn't meant for everyone.
"Its all part of the grind of the season," Mele said. "You work your butt off all year to get to these last few weeks and wrestle well. You got to want it, you got to want to win and be down here."
Mele will be attending Clarion University in the fall.