The Ohio State wrestling team enters its 100th season in a new training facility, in a new competition venue, and with a new tradition to signify an athlete is exhibiting the best traditions of the program: black shirts.
Similar to the football team's tradition of removing a black stripe from players’ helmets to signify that a team member has earned a certain degree of respect and stature within the program, the wrestler's black shirt "will signify a student-athlete is "conducting themselves in the right way on and off the mat," according to a release from the program.
All wrestlers will start the 2019-2020 by wearing gray shirts during official practice and training sessions. Once the athlete has exhibited what one staff member described as "elite discipline,grit, selflessness [and] excellence," they will shed the grey shirt and have the right to wear one of the new black shirts.
Captains Luke Pletcher and Kollin Moore were the first members of the team to earn the black shirt:
— Ohio State Wrestling (@wrestlingbucks) September 9, 2019
Kollin Moore, too, has earned the right to wear black inside the Jennings Wrestling Facility. Joins fellow team captain, Luke Pletcher, as the first Buckeye duo to secure black shirts. #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/Jl38srBHLN
Pletcher and Moore were named co-captains last week. The seniors have both qualified for the NCAA Championships in each of their three seasons at Ohio State and have combined for five All-America finishes.
The captains will join the coaching staff in determining which of their teammates will earn black shirts moving forward.