The Ready wrestling team battled through a string of injuries during the final few weeks of the season.
One of the competitors who had hopes of going far in the postseason was sophomore Evan O'Connell, who was a Division III district qualifier last season and was the champion of the East Knox Invitational at 120 pounds on Dec. 21.
In early February, however, he injured his right meniscus and could not compete at sectional Feb. 28 and 29 at Morral Ridgedale.
Then in late February, senior Cameron Jones (126) sustained a shoulder injury. He competed at sectional and managed to win three matches but was pinned by Pleasant's Spencer Steed in 1 minute, 12 seconds in his district-qualifying match and ended up defaulting his final match to finish sixth.
An injury in a consolation semifinal at district ended the season for senior Jacob Robinson.
Then there was junior Aiden Aiello, who hurt his right knee while wrestling Zanesville West Muskingum's Cullen Van Rooyen in a district semifinal March 7 at Heath. He lost that match by pin in 6:37 but beat Glouster Trimble's Todd Fouts 3-2 in the fourth round of consolation to earn his second consecutive state tournament berth.
Aiello defaulted his final match at district and finished fourth. But according to his coach and father, Anthony Aiello, there was optimism that Aiden could finish in the top eight to make the podium at state, which was scheduled for March 13-15 at Ohio State.
The state tournament was postponed and later canceled to help limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
"With the younger kids (in the postseason), I think the atmosphere caught up with them, but they all wrestled better than they have all season," coach Aiello said. "I'm very optimistic about them for next year."
Aiden Aiello won his first three matches at sectional before falling 6-4 to Galion Northmor's Gavin Ramos in the championship match. He was 35-9 heading into state.
"Up until the injury I was wrestling my best," he said. "I've gotten a lot more comfortable in my shooting and more confident in my matches. It (felt) good (to qualify for state) knowing all the work I've put in since last year. All of it pays off."
Aiden Aiello, who was a district qualifier as a freshman and went 0-2 at state as a sophomore, will enter his final prep season with a 90-31 record.
"Once things open up again, we'll get back to working out as there will be lots of offseason tournaments that we'll attend," coach Aiello said. "Definitely bummed there's no state tournament. We thought Aiden had a good shot at the lower half of the podium this year."
Aiden Aiello was named first-team all-CCL.
Jones (second-team all-league) and Robinson (third-team all-league at 195) were the only seniors. Jones finished 19-15 and Robinson finished 29-18.
"Cameron Jones ended up tearing his shoulder a couple weeks before sectionals but battled through it and won three matches," coach Aiello said. "It just caught up with him. Being his senior year, he went out with a bang and showed a lot of heart."
Robinson was third at sectional at 220 and sixth at district. His injury forced him to default his final two district matches.
The other all-league honorees were O'Connell (second team), sophomore Paul Martello (first team at 145) and freshman Jerad Koboi (third team at 170).
Martello was fifth at district and finished 37-11.
Koboi won 14 matches and freshman Brian Fitzsimmons (160) won 12.
Sophomore Zac McAndrew (152) and freshmen Noah Hamilton (138) and Dylan Melrose (heavyweight) also were in the postseason lineup.
"A couple of our younger guys won a couple matches, but our sectionals got a lot tougher this year since they combined (all of the Central District teams into one) sectional," coach Aiello said.