image_pdf
Sam Mellow (white) won three matches out of four at the 2017 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships
Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Mellow

by ANDREW GARDA

garda@montclairlocal.news

It was a successful end to a great season for the Montclair high school wrestling team, as seniors Sam Mellow and Kasson Quince-McGee represented the school well at the 2017 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships in Atlantic City last weekend. Mellow made the top 12 in the 220 weight category, winning three matches and falling just short of the awards podium, while Quince-McGee lost one match to a close decision and another to a last second pin in overtime.

After battling his way through the regional tournament the weekend previous, Quince-McGee entered the State Tournament as the 29-seed in the 182 weight class. That made his path very similar to the uphill battle in the regional.

His first round opponent was 4-seed Seon Bowker of Rancocas Valley. Quince-McGee fought hard, but lost in a 7-4 decision.

Their coach was pleased with both athletes and their performances, both for the tournament and the season as a whole.

“Kasson was confident. The biggest thing I wanted to see was him competing in matches, which he did,” said coach Mike Freedman. He also pointed out that, of Mellow’s few losses this season, all of them were to wrestlers who placed in state.

While neither Montclair high school senior wrestler Sam Mellow or Kasson Quince-McGee made it deep into this weekend’s 2017 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships, but getting to go to Atlantic City capped great seasons by both anyway.

While the matches didn’t all break the way the Montclair Boys Wrestling team wanted, the experience of wrestling on a big-time stage was one they both enjoyed.

After battling his way through the regional tournament the weekend previous, Quince-McGee entered the State Tournament as the 29-seed in the 182 weight class. That made his path very similar to the uphill battle in the regional.

His first round opponent was 4-seed Seon Bowker of Rancocas Valley. Quince-McGee fought hard, but lost in a 7-4 decision.

“(Quince-McGee) had a rough first period, but really strong second and third,” coach Freedman said.

Mellow arrived in Atlantic City as the 10-seed in the 220 weight class. His first opponent was 23-seed Jajuan Hayes of Bordentown, who he pinned at 3:15 in the match. He then faced 7-seed Zach DelVecchio of South Plainfield.

DelVecchio won in a 8-1 decision.

Interestingly, had Mellow defeated DelVecchio, he would have had an opportunity to avenge himself for his loss in the regional finals when he was pinned by Phillipsburg’s Robert Melise. Instead, 2-seed Melise met DelVecchio and lost in an Ultimate Tie Breaker, 2-1.

Despite not seeing each other on the mats, Mellow and Melise connected off of them, with Melise wishing Mellow luck prior to his matches.

Mellow continued to compete in the wrestleback portion of the event. First he fought Bloofmield’s Adam Lutick in a 12-7 decision. Mellow has defeated Lutick all five times the two have met this season.

In the next round, Mellow scored a quick pin against Samuel Rogers of Piscataway, taking him down at 1:48 of the first period.

He then met Sean O’Malley of Hasbrouck Heights. The two battled hard, but while Mellow came close to beating O’Malley, the Hasbrouk Heights wrestler managed to pin him late in the second period.

While neither wrestler won the state championship, Freedman said both athletes enjoyed the experience. He said they knew they were at the pinnacle of the sport, going from wrestling in a high school gym to an arena in front of 1,000 people.

It could be a taste of things to come as well. Mellow is considering wrestling at a collegiate level while pursuing an engineering degree. Meanwhile, Quince-McGee spoke with several schools, including Castleton, where former MHS wrestler Tyreek Staton just had a tremendous freshman year.

For the Montclair program as a whole, this was the most successful season in some time. This was the first time since 2012 that the school had two wrestlers at the state tournament. Additionally, 10 wrestlers out of 14 weight classes finished the year with winning records, and according to Freedman, most had massive improvements between last year and this one. The team also beat the Bloomfield program for the first time ever under Freedman.

Montclair Local relies on reader support so we can keep reporting the news and events that matter to Montclair. Become a Member and be a part of supporting your local nonprofit news organization!
Become a Member