The three Ready High School wrestlers who qualified for the Division III district tournament all had obstacles to overcome.
Freshman Aiden Aiello had to bounce back from a seven-point deficit to win his semifinal in the sectional Feb. 24 at Madison Plains, a match in which he hurt his neck badly enough that he elected to default the title contest at 113 pounds.
Sophomore Bailey Garren was a third-place sectional finisher at heavyweight despite weighing closer to 220.
Junior Andrew Halko pinned his first two sectional opponents at 145 but struggled to make ground on Grandview's Kyler Baker before winning 3-1 in the title bout.
"Aiden had to forfeit the championship match, but I think he'll be all right," coach Anthony Aiello said of his son. "He was losing 9-2 and ended up taking (West Jefferson's Aidan Benedict) down a couple times, got some more points and finished him out in the third period. With Andrew Halko, he wrestled a kid (during the final) that he'd beaten (earlier this year), but he didn't wrestle offensively like he normally does and ended up winning (3-1). Bailey only weights 220, so he's giving up some weight."
Ready tied Fairbanks for seventh (73 points) in the 12-team sectional as North Union was first (186).
The district tournament is Friday, March 2, and Saturday, March 3, at Uhrichsville Claymont. The top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament March 8-10 at Ohio State.
Halko, who also was a district qualifier a year ago, is hoping for another strong performance this weekend.
"I try to be an offensive wrestler and try to keep moving when I'm on bottom," he said. "I made it to the second day (at district last season) but didn't place. I've tried to be more aggressive and be attacking. I can never stop moving and never give."
Also at sectional, Sam Hardenbergh finished fifth at 220 and Cameron Jones (126) and Jacob Robinson (160) each lost in the third round of consolation.
Girls team makes district semifinal
The ninth-seeded girls basketball team played eighth-seeded Centerburg on Feb. 27 in a Division III district semifinal at Olentangy Orange.
The winner plays top-seeded Africentric or 17th-seeded Johnstown in a district final at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, at Ohio Dominican.
The district champion plays Minford or Chillicothe Southeastern in a regional semifinal at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Logan, with the regional final set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Logan.
After opening the district tournament Feb. 20 with a 59-44 victory at home over 11th-seeded Grandview, Ready edged 13th-seeded West Jefferson 47-43 on Feb. 24 in a second-round home game.
Against the Roughriders, Derricka Bramwell had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Katelyn Wolfe scored 13 points and Ready made 19 of 24 free throws as it improved to 14-9.
Against Grandview, Bramwell had 17 points, eight rebounds and four assists and Dani Hall added 14 points despite battling an ankle injury.
"Dani Hall has basically been playing on one ankle," coach Joe Lang said. "Derricka Bramwell has really stepped up, both in scoring baskets and rebounding the basketball. Ariyana Marshall has been doing a phenomenal job on the perimeter and is probably one of the best help-and-recover kids I've ever coached. Intellectually, Nikki Hawkins is someone who understands what we're trying to do."
Boys basketball team opens tourney play
The third-seeded boys basketball team began the Division III district tournament Feb. 27 at home against 20th-seeded Liberty Union.
If Ready won that game, it will play host to 18th-seeded Mount Gilead at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 3, in a second-round game.
The winner of that contest plays sixth-seeded Columbus Academy, 10th-seeded Marion Elgin, 12th-seeded Northridge or 16th-seeded North Union in a district semifinal Tuesday, March 6, at a site to be announced. The district final is March 9 at Ohio Dominican.
The Knights beat Gahanna Christian 92-42 on Feb. 20 to close the regular season at 17-4. Brady Thomas had 18 points, Jaishan Norris made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points and Chanc Dawson added 11 points.
Bowling season ends at district
The girls bowling team still was optimistic about its chances of finishing in the top three in the Division II district tournament Feb. 22 at HP Lanes despite being in seventh as it prepared for the six Baker games.
After bowling a 183 that was best among the 12-team field in the first Baker, the Knights were unable to close the rest of the gap and ended up seventh (3,001) behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,287) as the top three teams advanced to state.
The Knights earned the last district-qualifying berth when they placed 12th (2,711) in the 23-team sectional Feb. 17 at HP Lanes behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,231).
"Our second game (at district) we shot a 782, and then in the third game we started OK but then kind of got tired," coach Russ Rehner said. "We started really strong in the first Baker game, and then we just couldn't put enough spares together in games two, three and four. We couldn't make enough spares to catch them. If we'd picked up 25 or 30 pins a game, we could have had a chance."
Ready finished 12-3 overall, tied Mifflin and Eastmoor Academy for third (7-3) in the Central Ohio High School Bowling Conference-D Division behind Whitehall (10-0) and Watterson (9-1) and shared the CCL title with the Eagles at 5-1, ahead of Hartley (2-4) and DeSales (0-6).
"I'm proud of them," Rehner said. "For a second-year team with some first-year players, they were co-CCL champions and they're only going to get better."
At district, junior Samantha Blackburn had a 475 to finish 16th and sophomore Megan Hackman had 469 to tie for 18th as the top three individuals on non-qualifying teams advanced to state.
Sophomore Mary Zerrien, who led the CCL with a 163.3 average, had a 439 and junior Javana Joyce had a 426. Sophomore Brooke Smith and freshman Cheyenne Blackburn also competed.
Sophomore Maryann Rucker was another contributor for the Knights.
The boys team finished 4-14 overall, placed 10th (3-9) in the COHSBC-D behind champion Whitehall (12-0) and went 0-8 in the CCL to finish behind co-champions St. Charles and DeSales (6-2) as well as Hartley (4-4) and Watterson (4-4).
The Knights finished 24th (2,724) of 30 teams behind champion Jonathan Alder (3,643) in the sectional Feb. 16 at HP Lanes as the top 12 advanced to district.
Senior Robert Shephard, a first-year competitor, tied for 29th with a 488 to advance individually and then was 44th (433) at district.
"To come in and pick up the sport, he did really well," Rehner said.
The only other senior in the program was Arin Thach-Bun.
Garren finished ninth (166.5) in CCL average.
Other competitors included sophomores Finn Hardenbergh and Preston Thach-Bun and freshman Aaron King and Wesley Hendricks.
@UlreyThisWeekAt a glance
*Record: Boys -- 4-14 overall, 3-9 (10th) in COHSBC-D, 0-8 (fifth) in CCL; Girls -- 12-3 overall, 7-3 (tied for third) in COHSBC-D, 5-1 (tied for first) in CCL
*Seniors lost: Boys -- Robert Shephard and Arin Thach-Bun; Girls -- None
*Key returnees: Boys -- Bailey Garren, Finn Hardenbergh, Wesley Hendricks, Aaron King and Preston Thach-Bun; Girls -- Cheyenne Blackburn, Samantha Blackburn, Megan Hackman, Javana Joyce, Brooke Smith and Mary Zerrien