Ready Roundup: Silver Knights' Aiello, Martello close wrestling season at state
With several of its athletes sidelined with injury, the Ready wrestling team entered just six competitors in a Division III sectional Feb. 27 and 28 at Madison Plains.
The Silver Knights, who had just one senior in three-time state-qualifier Aiden Aiello, are hoping for an offseason of fewer interruptions and that their youth program produces enough to have a much bigger group battling for spots in next year’s lineup.
In addition, Ready’s other state qualifier, junior Paul Martello, is among those eligible to return.
“I’m looking at about 20 kids next year, which is huge,” coach Anthony Aiello said. “I gain about six middle schoolers who have wrestled with me since they were little. Next year is the first year my feeder program guys will be in high school. Once my middle school team gets a little fuller, we’ll find them a more set middle school schedule.”
Aiden Aiello went 0-2 at state as a sophomore and qualified for state last season before the tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In this year’s postseason, he won a sectional title at 138 pounds and was runner-up in the district tournament March 5 and 6 at Coshocton to advance to state March 13 and 14 at Marion Harding.
At state, he opened with an 8-7 victory over Massillon Tuslaw’s Joe Viront before being pinned in 2 minutes, 33 seconds by eventual champion Casey Barnett of Milan Edison.
Then in the second round of consolation, Aiello was pinned by Covington’s Cael Vanderhost in 4:03 to finish 25-3.
Aiello, who will play football for Otterbein, closed his prep career with a 117-33 record.
“It was definitely a tough environment (at state),” he said. “It was a learning experience. ... I think it was really fun to have a weekend with a lot of tough competitors. I’m really proud to be there.
“Next year I’ll definitely come back to Ready and help coach with my dad, but as far as me competing, I’m ready to move on and be a football player. Everybody else that wrestles is coming back and they’ve got two really good eighth-graders coming in so they should be pretty good.”
Martello was sectional runner-up at 145 and finished fourth at district to advance to state for the first time. At state, he lost to eventual runner-up Austin Shepherd 11-4 in the first round and Norwalk St. Paul’s Will Stieber 6-2 in the first round of consolation to finish 22-7.
He was a state alternate last season.
“Making state this year means a lot to me,” Martello said. “Being one spot out from state last year put at bad taste in my mouth. I put in a lot of work in the last offseason and felt a lot more confident that I could be at the same level as the top guys in the district and state. The competition was a lot different this regular season only going to duals. Everyone just tried to make the best out of the situation. Personally, the lack of competition due to COVID made me more eager to wrestle going into the postseason.”
Ready, which went 0-3 in the CCL as Hartley (3-0) won its eighth consecutive title, also was represented at sectional by juniors Noah Hamilton (126) and Evan O’Connell (132) and sophomores Dylan Melrose (heavyweight) and Aiden Montgomery (220).
O’Connell finished 8-8 and Melrose and Montgomery both finished 8-10.
Sophomores Brian Fitzsimmons (182) and Jerad Koboi (195) missed most of the season with injuries, and junior Devin Malone (heavyweight) missed the entire season with injury.
Junior Ricky Schnarr (138) and freshman Ryan Schnarr (126) are others eligible to return.
“Aiden wrestled really well (at state) and Paul wrestled really well,” coach Aiello said. “(We’re) hoping to get a couple girls out and start pushing that girls program out a little bit. It was so hard this year because half the kids were hurt half the time. Thank God we had a season.”
•CCL standings: Hartley (3-0), DeSales (2-1), Watterson (1-2), Ready (0-3)
•Senior lost: Aiden Aiello
•Key returnees: Brian Fitzsimmons, Noah Hamilton, Jerad Koboi, Paul Martello, Dylan Melrose, Aiden Montgomery and Evan O’Connell
•Postseason: 14th (54) at sectional behind champion Marion Pleasant (220.5); 18th (34) at district behind champion Barnesville (175); tied for 73rd (2) at state behind champion Xenia Legacy Christian (128)