IOWA CITY — Aaron Costello is just waiting for a chance to showcase once again what he can do.
After putting together one of the most dominant heavyweight seasons in Iowa prep history as a senior at Western Dubuque, Costello has been a reserve and spot starter for the top-ranked Iowa wrestling team since arriving in Iowa City four years ago.
Despite not getting a regular opportunity in the starting lineup, Costello has never wavered in his commitment to the Hawkeyes wrestling room. In an age where college athletes can operate like unpaid free agents with the help of the transfer portal, Costello has never seriously considered leaving Iowa.
“It’s just a lifelong dream to wrestle here,” Costello said prior to Iowa’s win over Purdue on Sunday. “I don’t regret one thing. I made some of the best friends, teammates, the coaches, everybody, all the staff. It’s just been an overwhelmingly good experience. I still feel like being here gives me the best chance to accomplish the goals I ultimately want to accomplish in this sport and in life.”
Costello has already graduated with a degree in sports and recreation management and is currently pursuing a Masters in sports administration.
After this season, he will have one year of eligibility remaining, and after that he said he expects to return home and help his father, Leo, farm with an eye on potentially becoming a coach or athletic director someday.
“I’d love to help out with a high school program when and if I’m back in the area. But right now I’m just solely focused on doing what I can for this team and pushing myself every day,” he said.
Costello finds himself in one of the country’s most talented wrestling rooms these days. He’s behind All-American Tony Cassioppi on the Iowa depth chart, but placed fourth at the prestigious Southern Scuffle earlier this month.
“I’m just training every day with guys like (Jacob) Warner and Cassioppi and staying the course,” Costello said. “Obviously I’m not in the starting lineup right now, but there’s a lot of season left and there’s going to be opportunities and just capitalizing on those opportunities.
“Every day is a different day and every day is a different challenge, but if the opportunity comes, I’m not going to pass it by and have regrets and wish I did stuff different.”
Costello finished as state runner-up at the 2016 Iowa Class 3A state tournament, then came back and won all 53 matches his senior season, including a Western Dubuque-record 44 pins. A two-time folkstyle nationals runner-up, he allowed just six points to his opponents during his senior season with the Bobcats.
He is 11-2 for the Hawkeyes this season and 39-12 for his career.
He still has some lofty goals on the table.
“Obviously the benchmark of the program is to be a national champion. I still believe in my heart and deep in my soul that I can become a national champion,” he said. “But that’s just going to happen by stacking days like bricks. Just doing it right and taking every day as another opportunity and just staying the course.”