3-Day Weekend at DPW? Think Again. Mike Anello has Seen It All, Plus His Son Crowned Wrestling Champ

For Mike Anello, Presidents Weekend was celebrated by fixing potholes, clearing trees, and shoveling snow -- oh, and crowning his son Joe the district's most outstanding wrestler.

Editor’s Note: It’s been quite the weekend for Michael Anello, the supervisor of Livingston’s Public Works: Spring (meaning Friday’s mild temperatures had him out cold patching potholes), Wind (clearing trees that fell on Saturday. No injuries or property damage reported), and Snow (on Sunday night, 3 inches that sent him scurrying home from the Jersey Shore, where the family was celebrating his son’s wrestling win as District 14 champion).

The Anellos were watching their son’s match on Saturday when Mike’s cell rang from Livingston Police telling him of downed trees in the wind storm. “Oh no, not now,” he thought. The Anellos live in Belleville. Luckily the was right here in town. Mike is an LHS graduate and so it was with special pride that he was able to watch his son take home the most outstanding wrestler trophy.

They were just heading out to dinner Sunday when Mike checked the weather again and heard that the forecast had changed to a snow advisory with 2-4 inches on the way. By 3 a.m. Monday he and the DPW crew were back out on Livingston’s streets sanding, using up another 200 tons, and plowing municipal lots this morning.

Mike’s job may have gotten in the way of celebrating his son’s big victory. In fact, we're not sure if the proud Dad ever had a chance to eat. If that's the case, Mike's as hungry now as son Joe was Saturday when he stepped out on the mat.  reports for Belleville Patch on the championship match.


When it’s time to celebrate after a big victory, Belleville junior wrestler Joe Anello has an odd request from the dinner menu. He likes to eat peanut butter – by the spoonful, right out of the jar.

Tonight’s menu? Definitely peanut butter. And lots of it.

 “A big jar tonight,” Anello smiled. “It’s a celebration.”

 Anello will celebrate after winning his second consecutive District 14 championship on Saturday afternoon at Livingston High School. The Bucs’ standout topped Nutley’s Brandon Keena, 9-7, in the championship match at 152 pounds and also took home the Most Outstanding Wrestler trophy.

“He rose up and wrestled well,” said Belleville coach Joe Nisivoccia. “He was hungry, and he is peaking at the right time. I was very happy he was focused and he was aggressive. He didn’t stop.”

Though the returning district champion, Anello (32-9) has battled his way through an up-and-down season this year and was seeded third for this year’s district tourney. He had lost to both wrestlers seeded ahead of him – second-seeded Cavan Penberthy of Bloomfield and top-seeded Keena of Nutley – earlier this season.

That only seemed to make him more determined to keep his crown.           

“Every time I lost, I wanted revenge,” he said. “I wanted revenge. I was on a mission, and my mission was to beat them. It was awesome to win it last year, and I wanted to win it again. This year, it really meant something

 “I was nervous coming into today,” added Anello. “I knew I could win it, and if I didn’t it would be a disappointment.”

Keena pinned Anello in overtime in the quarterfinal round of the Essex County Tournament last month, and Anello trailed Keena, 2-1, after the first period of their championship match on Saturday. Keena then led 4-1 before Anello scored two points with a crucial reversal in the final seconds of the second period.

“Even when I’m losing, I wait for someone’s mistake,” said Anello, agreeing that the two points helped shift some momentum his way. “I saw the opening and I took it. I wasn’t going to walk off the mat losing.”

 Anello scored another reversal early in the third period to take a 5-4 lead, his first advantage of the match. He was awarded another point on a technical violation and then received two points when Keena briefly rolled onto his shoulders. The Nutley side argued against the awarding of those points, claiming Keena had initiated the move and that the referee began his count too quickly.

An escape and a takedown by Keena cut the score to 8-7, but Anello hung on over the final 20 seconds to repeat as champion.

In the semifinals, Anello scored an 8-7 victory over Penberthy.

 “I came in as the district champion, but I came in as the third seed and wanted revenge,” said Anello. “I liked that. You are hungrier when you’re climbing the hill. When you’re on the top, the food is already there.”

“I was very pleased with the way my team performed,” said coach Nisivoccia. “They seemed hungry.”

Anello certainly was – for victory, and for peanut butter.


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