An exemplary student-athlete, Aiden Moore will continue his education and wrestling career at Simpson College in Iowa.
The Ceres High senior signed a national letter of intent with the Storm on March 30.
He'll major in political science.
"The recruiting process was really fun," Moore said. "I had options all over the place. I weighed my pros and cons. I wrote a list 15 times. I got an offer and made my final decision three weeks ago. Simpson felt right to me. I'm getting 75 percent of my tuition paid for through academics. Division-III colleges don't offer athletic scholarships."
Family members, coaches, teammates and friends attended Moore's signing ceremony inside the Ceres High Wrestling Room.
Aiden thanked his parents (Randy and Lisa), brother (Austin), coach (Steve Festa), training partner (John Alba) and karate instructors (Miguel Duran Jr. and Mike Duran III).
Aiden presented a customized plaque to Austin, a 2013 CHS grad.
"He's my inspiration," Aiden said. "He's the big reason why I wrestled. I watched him all three of his years at Ceres High. He pushed me harder to set my goals higher than his."
Aiden and John did wrestling and karate together for 12 years.
Moore wrestled for Festa for a total of six years, including two seasons at Mae Hensley Jr. High.
"He's a mentor and role model," Aiden said. "Having him since junior high prepared me for high school. The training was tougher and more intense. He has a unique way of making things competitive, fun and easy to understand. He also got coached by Glen Nowicki just like my dad did."
Moore enjoyed a memorable career with the Bulldogs.
"I was really timid at the start," Moore said. "Coach Festa compared me to a robot. As I got more mat time, I was able to develop a flow and be less rigid. If you're one-dimensional, you're not going to go anywhere in wrestling. You have to be open-minded. You have to add new moves. I wouldn't say I exceeded my expectations. My goal was state. I handled myself with class and represented Ceres well."
Aiden posted a 31-9 overall record, placed first in the 160-pound division at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships and claimed his second straight Western Athletic Conference title this past winter.
He won all eight of his conference matches.
Moore went 1-2 at Masters for the second year in a row.
Ceres High enjoyed a breakthrough season by winning the blue Division-IV championship banner. The Bulldogs also dominated WAC competition by winning overall, tournament and dual-meet titles.
"Added pressure was there for all the seniors," said Moore, who was slowed by shoulder and knee injuries during his final season. "We wanted to leave our mark. We helped each other climb the mountain. We reached our goal. It's a great feeling."
Aiden has also experienced academic success.
He accomplished a first in school history by being named a 2016-17 Sac-Joaquin Section Male Scholar-Athlete.
"It's a big honor," said Moore, who has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.95. "I never expected to get it. But it makes sense to me. I did well in my sport. I was a four-year varity wrestler. On top of that there was my GPA and community involvement. My goal going into high school was to keep my GPA as high as possible. I was always thinking about college. Without the support, I wouldn't' have achieved any of my goals."
Prior to deciding to commit to Simpson College, Moore considered attending Luther College.
He visited both schools in Iowa last November.
"I liked the campus," Moore said when asked why he signed with the Storm. "I liked the small feel. The coach was an All-American. I could see myself with that program. I'm going to try to get a starting spot as a freshman. I always wanted to do a sport in college. I didn't know which one until sophomore year in high school. It (wrestling) turned from a hobby into a passion. I can still improve."