With future college All-American Ross Thatcher leading the way, the Ready High School wrestling team scored 26 points in the 1995 Division III state tournament to continue one of the best eras in program history.

With future college All-American Ross Thatcher leading the way, the Ready High School wrestling team scored 26 points in the 1995 Division III state tournament to continue one of the best eras in program history.

Every year from 1989-2001 under former coach Mickey Balmert, the Silver Knights had at least one state qualifier.

New coach Anthony Aiello, a 1995 Ready graduate who was one of the area's best at 135 pounds as a senior and served as Ready's youth coach from 2008-12, hopes to lead his alma mater to that level of success in the sport.

"My goal is ultimately to bring the program back to close to what it used to be when we had guys like (future Penn State standout) Ross Thatcher and (two-time state champion and future Ohio State wrestler) Tommy Rowlands," Aiello said. "This is a great starting group. We've got four guys that could make the state tournament, possibly five."

The Knights' roster is small, however, because of injuries and transfers.

Two-time Division III state qualifiers Caleb Brooks and Tristin Siemer no longer are with the team. Both are juniors.

Brooks' father, Trent Brooks, was the Knights' coach the past two seasons, but he stepped down in the offseason. Caleb Brooks, who now is wrestling at Circleville, finished fifth at 106 at state as a freshman and eighth at 126 last season.

Siemer, who went 0-2 at 160 at state as a freshman and then was forced to default because of illness after qualifying at 170 last season, now is at Hilliard Davidson but is not competing this winter.

The top returnees are seniors Daniel Halko (160), Patrick Jansen (195) and Matt Stover (220), junior Charles Omameh (heavyweight) and sophomore Andrew Halko (132). Jansen, Omameh, Stover and Andrew Halko all were district qualifiers a year ago.

Sophomore Sam Hardenberg (182) and freshmen Cameron Jones (120), Jacob Robinson (170) and Donovan Sanders (152) are others in the program.

Junior Shawn Stover is expected to miss the season with an elbow injury. He competed at 220 a year ago.

Boys, girls bowlers excited for season

Coming off a 10th-place finish in the Division II state tournament, the boys bowling team has gotten out to a strong start.

The fact that there's a girls team after there wasn't one the past two years further shows the excitement for bowling at the school.

"This is the first time we've had a girls team (since 2014)," 16th-year coach Russ Rehner said. "The boys team lost Chris McCarty (to graduation) but we have a good core back. They have to get their chemistry going and work together. Seven of our 10 (boys) bowlers are seniors."

The boys improved to 6-0 overall by beating Columbus Academy 2,262-1,447 on Dec. 16. They are 2-0 in the CCL, beating Watterson 1,969-1,966 on Dec. 5 and St. Charles 2,096-1,976 on Dec. 9.

Senior Ryan O'Harra, who finished 10th (682) at state to earn second-team all-state honors last season, is the top returnee. He helped Ready go 18-1 overall and win the CCL at 8-0, averaging 209.9 per game during the regular season.

Also returning after competing at state are seniors Ian Binns, Conner Carrera and Jacob Winslow.

Seniors Ben Dawson, Leo Dunkle and Michael Waldo and freshmen Bailey Garren, Finn Hardenbergh and Chase Marzetti also are on the team.

Freshman Mary Zerrien has been leading the girls team, which split its first four matches. The Knights lost their CCL opener to Watterson 1,599-1,307.

Also on the girls team are sophomores Samantha Blackburn, Javana Joyce, Michaela Mayo, Brooke Smith and McKenna Wheaton.

Conturo, Smith comprise swim program

There are two athletes out for the swimming and diving program.

Junior Josh Conturo will represent the boys team. He finished 10th in the 50-yard free-style (29.25 seconds) and 11th in the 100 free (1:07.79) in last year's Division II sectional.

Freshman Katie Smith is competing for the girls team. She is the daughter of Ann Smith, who is coaching the program.

Ann Smith is a 1983 Ready graduate who swam for Ohio State from 1983-87.

"My son (Joey Smith) swam for Ready from 2011-15 and I wanted my daughters to have the chance to do so as well, so I stepped up to be the parent rep," Ann Smith said. "My goal for the year is just continued improvements in times, improved stroke technique and development, opportunities to compete in all events and to progress as far as possible."

julrey@thisweeknews.com

@UlreyThisWeek