One win from reaching his second consecutive Division III state tournament, Ready junior Aiden Aiello felt something in his right knee while wrestling Zanesville West Muskingum's Cullen Van Rooyen in a district semifinal March 7 at Heath.
Aiello ended up getting pinned in 6 minutes, 37 seconds to fall into the backdraw, but he mustered enough strength to edge Glouster Trimble's Todd Fouts 3-2 in the fourth round of consolation to earn another state berth.
Because of his injury concern, Aiello defaulted his final match at district and finished fourth at 132 pounds.
"He was doing well until he banged up his knee a little bit," said Anthony Aiello, who is his coach and father. "He won his first two matches by pin and was in the semis when he tweaked his knee and ended up losing in overtime because he couldn't take any shots. He battled back in the go-to match and won 3-2 and we ended up forfeiting his third-fourth-place match because we didn't want to risk it."
According to Aiden Aiello, his knee felt much better the next morning.
"It's a little bit sore," he said. "At first I did think (it might keep me from competing at state), but (two days later) I was lifting and it felt much better."
Aiello was 35-9 heading into the state tournament, which was scheduled to be held March 13 through Sunday, March 15, at Ohio State but was suspended until further notice by the OHSAA.
His opening-round state opponent, Troy Christian senior Ethan Turner, was 19-4 heading into state. He was third at 106 as a freshman, won state at 113 as a sophomore and was state runner-up at 126 last season.
The winner of that match faced Liberty Center's Dylan Matthews, who was seventh at 120 last season and entered state at 44-4, or Andover Pymatuning Valley's William Campbell, who was 33-7 heading into state.
Other top wrestlers in 132 were expected to have been two-time state placer Gavin Weaver of Newcomerstown and Milan Edison's Casey Barnett, who won state at 106 in 2018 and was fifth at 113 last season.
Aiello opened district by pinning Shenandoah's Wesley Guy in 5:45 and then pinned Waterford's Lane Cline in 3:19 before losing to Van Rooyen.
In the consolation final, Aiello would have faced Galion Northmor's Gavin Ramos, whom Aiello had lost to 6-4 for the sectional title Feb. 29.
Last season, Aiello entered state as a No. 4 seed at 120 and lost 17-2 to Xenia Legacy Christian's Camron Lacure before getting pinned by Apple Creek Waynedale's Seth Unkefer in 2:07. Lacure went on to place third.
"I felt the best I've felt (before the injury)," Aiello said. "It was a smooth first day at districts, with me pinning two kids, and I was wrestling really well."
Ready had two other competitors at the district tournament, which began March 6. The Silver Knights tied West Jefferson for 18th (35 points) behind champion Marion Pleasant (132.5) as 53 teams scored.
Sophomore Paul Martello (145) lost his opening district match to Barnesville's Jacob Boulet 6-3, but pinned Proctorville Fairland's Hunter Brewer in 2:55 and beat Magnolia Sandy Valley's Justin King 8-5 and West Lafayette Ridgewood's Xavier Lamneck 6-2.
Martello then was pinned by Richmond Edison's Hayden Johnson in 1:51 in his match to qualify for state before pinning Boulet in 1:23 to finish fifth and 37-11 overall.
Senior Jacob Robinson (220) opened district by beating Cadiz Harrison Central's Dillon Drapp 8-4. He then was pinned by Sandy Valley's Wyatt Moyer in 1:59 but beat Bainbridge Paint Valley's Shawn Stewart 11-4 and Martins Ferry's Zakary Dobson 7-5.
In his state-qualifying match, Robinson was forced to default against Madison Plains' Travis Reed. He also defaulted his next match to place sixth, as he finished 29-18 overall.
Both Martello and Robinson were district qualifiers last season as well.
"Paul wrestled really well," coach Aiello said. "He ended up losing his first match close, ripped off three wins and lost his go-to match to a kid that got upset earlier in the tournament. He ended up wrestling a kid that beat him and he pinned him for fifth-sixth so he was one match short.
"Jacob wrestled really, really well. He lost his semifinal match to a kid that beat him last year and in his go-to match, he dislocated his shoulder. He had to go to the hospital and ended up forfeiting fifth-sixth, so that was pretty rough with it being his senior year. I really thought he had a chance to make it, but he just landed on it wrong and it popped out."