COLE POWER: Princeton High wrestler Cole Rose, bottom, battles a foe in a match last season. Last Saturday, sophomore Rose placed first at 120 pounds at the Mercer County Tournament at Robbinsville High. Rose’s heroics helped PHS finish second in the team standings at the MCT behind champion Hopewell Valley. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Justin Feil
Cole Rose would like to become the second Princeton High wrestler to win four Mercer County Tournament titles.
The sophomore took a step in that direction when he captured his second county crown in as many years. Rose followed up his 106 title from a year ago with a 5-0 win over Luke Caldwell of Hopewell Valley in the 120-pound final Saturday at the championships hosted by Robbinsville.
“I think it’s really great because in middle school when I wrestled I lost to a lot of kids that I wrestle now and I beat,” said Rose, who also beat Caldwell last year at 106 for his first title. “It’s just been a change. I really like it. My goal is to win four in a row. I think Alec Bobchin did it before. I’m trying to compete with him and tie his record.”
Rose was one of two individual champions for PHS. Blasé Mele, who missed last year’s county meet due to injury, earned his first MCT title when the PHS sophomore pinned Steinert’s Devin Liriano in 1:09 for the 132-pound championship. Mele reached the state championships as a freshman last year.
“To come back this year and be healthy and to get that title means a little bit to him,” said PHS head coach Jess Monzo, whose team placed second in the MCT team standings with 164.5 points behind champion Hopewell Valley (216 points) and just ahead of third place Robbinsville (163), giving the Tigers their highest-ever finish in the competition. more