During last year's postseason, all six of the Ready wrestling program's competitors qualified for the Division III district tournament and two advanced to state.
Five of those wrestlers have returned and the other was lost to graduation, but the Silver Knights' roster has been boosted by increased participation.
There are 15 athletes in the program this winter, and Ready is hoping to fill nearly every weight class when it opens Saturday, Dec. 14, in the Hamilton Township Invitational.
"All of these (newcomers) are football players," fourth-year coach Anthony Aiello said. "(Ready coach Joel Cutler) understands what (wrestling) will do for his football players. I'm pretty excited about this year."
The top returnee is junior Aiden Aiello, who is the coach's son and is expected to compete at 126 pounds or 132. He went 0-2 at state at 120 last winter and finished 32-10 overall after going 23-12 and winning two district matches as a freshman.
Seniors Cameron Jones (126) and Jacob Robinson (220) and sophomores Paul Martello (145/152) and Evan O'Connell (120) also have returned after qualifying for district last season. Robinson, who missed much of the preseason after sustaining an injury while playing football, was sixth at district at 195.
Junior Jejuan McGowan is a newcomer who should compete at 182, with sophomore Todd Ernst and freshman Brayden Roof at 195.
Other freshmen looking for spots in the lineup are Logan Dimel (heavyweight), Brian Fitzsimmons (160), Noah Hamilton (138), Jerad Koboi (170), Zach McAndrew (145) Dylan Melrose (heavyweight) and Lee Tracey Jr. (170).
Dimel is the son of new Ready baseball coach Joe Dimel, who also will serve as a wrestling assistant.
The only loss from last season was Andrew Halko, a 2019 graduate who went 1-2 at state at 145 to finish 34-7 on the season and 132-40 for his career. He is now competing for Akron's club team.
"These new guys all came to open mats in the offseason," coach Aiello said. "We'll be competing Dec. 21 at (the Howard) East Knox (Invitational) and we placed third last year with five kids, so I'm really excited for that tournament with all these kids."
Season underway for bowling teams
There are 19 athletes in the bowling program, with both teams returning some of their top competitors after the boys finished 7-9 and the girls went 10-3 last winter.
The top bowler for the girls team is senior Mary Zerrien, who rolled a 509 to finish 37th in the Division II state tournament after rolling a 564 at district to finish fourth.
Zerrien averaged 173.9 in the COHSBC as Ready tied Hartley for second (8-2) in the COHSBC-D. She also earned first-team all-CCL honors.
Senior Maryann Rucker finished 18th (497) at district, and junior Emma Pond also is a key returnee.
Others looking to contribute are senior Steph Torsell, sophomores Allison Bair and Maddie Brewster and freshmen Cece Muraco and Jennifer Pond.
The girls opened Dec. 4 by beating Walnut Ridge 1,500-1,331.
After having no seniors last winter, the boys team has two in Finn Hardenbergh and Wesley Hendricks.
Junior Luke Jahn led the Knights with a 142.8 average in the COHSBC last season.
Sophomores Brady Hicks and Zach Jahn also are returnees.
Others looking to contribute are sophomores Thomas Hodge, Caleb Huerta-Henry and Ethan Perry and freshmen Luis Roque, Philip Ryan and Adam Schwab.
The boys opened by beating Walnut Ridge 1,761-1,499.
Both teams began CCL action Dec. 5 against Watterson.
"(We have) a lot of brand new bowlers just getting into the sport," 19th-year coach Russ Rehner said. "Success will be them improving from (now) until the end of February."
Three girls competing for swimming program
The swimming and diving program consists of three girls and no boys this winter. There also were no boys competitors last season.
Senior Katie Smith and her junior sister, Elaine Smith, are returnees who are joined by junior Michelle Vanegas.
The team is coached by Ann Smith, who is the mother of the Smith sisters.
Last season, Elaine Smith finished ninth in the 200-yard freestyle (2 minutes, 2.54 seconds) and 11th in the 500 free (5:35.21) in the Division II district meet. She had been fifth in both the 200 free (2:04.4) and 500 free (5:36.14) at sectional to qualify for district in both events for the second consecutive season.
Katie Smith was 19th in the 100 breaststroke (1:17.99) and 27th in the 200 individual medley (2:38.1) at sectional, missing a district berth in the 100 breast by one spot.
"Katie is hoping to make it to districts in the 100 breast and 200 IM," coach Smith said. "Elaine is hoping to place at districts in the 200 and 500 free. This is Michelle's first season swimming and she will start out doing the 50 free and hopefully be able to compete in more events as the season progresses."
Below are the coming schedules for the Ready boys basketball, girls basketball, bowling, girls swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Dec. 10 -- At Liberty Union
Dec. 14 -- At Canton Central Catholic
Dec. 12 -- Home vs. Fisher Catholic
Dec. 14 -- Home vs. Marion Elgin
*Dec. 11 -- St. Charles at Game of Western Columbus
*Dec. 13 -- Hartley at Game of Western Columbus
GIRLS SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 13-14 -- Ned Reeb Invitational at Ohio State
Dec. 14 -- Hamilton Township Invitational