Kollin Moore became Ohio State's eighth four-time All-American Friday when the National Wrestling Coaches Association named six Buckeyes to the 2020 Division I All-American teams. Luke Pletcher, Sammy Sasso and Kaleb Romero joined Moore as first-team honorees.
"Each year the NWCA recognizes the outstanding work of the DI Student-Athletes by naming the All-Americans based on their achievements in the national championship, however, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic the championships were canceled," NWCA said in a statement.
Wrestlers traditionally earn All-American recognition by finishing in the Top 8 of the NCAA Wrestling Championship tournament.
With this year's tournament precluded by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan pushed for the organization to recognize wrestlers based on what they accomplished during the regular season and conference tournaments.
"I’m gonna be really outspoken about my opinion on this, and I have been really outspoken about it, and that’s because I think there’s a right and there’s a wrong," Ryan said in early April.
Lets end the NCAA winter season w/ the best option we can for these student-athletes. I hear heart breaking stories of businesses lost after years of hard work. My guys & others have spent 12-15 years of their life tirelessly working on their craft. Equally hard to imagine.— Thomas Ryan (@Buckeye158) March 29, 2020
Six of his starters made at least Honorable Mention status. NWCA said it bestowed All-American honors this season "based on each wrestler’s overall body of work through the conference tournaments and up to the national championships."
Pletcher, Sasso, Romero and Moore were among the eight wrestlers in each weight class named first-team All-Americans. Ethan Smith earned second-team honors and Rocky Jordan was named Honorable Mention.
Moore joins rarified air as a four-time All American. Tommy Rowlands was the first Buckeye to make the podium all four years of his career, with Lance Palmer, Logan Stieber, Bo Jordan, Kyle Snyder, Nathan Tomasello and Myles Martin adding their names to the record books over the past decade.
Luke Pletcher joins the likes of Kevin Randleman, J Jaggers and Mike Pucillo as a three-timer. Like Moore, he was ranked No. 1 in the country after winning the Big Ten Championship in early March, and was slated as the No. 1 seed to the aborted NCAA tournament.
Sasso and Romero each earned their first All American honors. Sasso was ranked as high as No. 1 in the waning months of the season, and Romero was the No. 6 seed in the country at 174 pounds.
Ethan Smith was the No. 12 seed to the NCAA tournament after finishing fourth at the Big Ten Championships. Rocky Jordan placed fifth at the Big Ten tournament and earned the No. 14 NCAA seed at 184 pounds.
Ohio State will return four All Americans to the lineup next season, with Moore and Pletcher graduating this spring. Moore will remain at the Ohio Regional Training Center in preparation for the Olympic Trials, while Pletcher will join the coaching staff at Pittsburgh.
Additionally, the team will add first-team honoree Tate Orndorff to the roster. The heavyweight announced earlier this month that he would transfer to Ohio State from Utah Valley; he was the No. 8 seed to the NCAA tournament.
“During difficult times there are always people who rise to the occasion and I’m proud of the action that the NWCA Division I Leadership Group in providing direction for honoring the 2020 Division I All-American team," NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer said. "It’s important that these athletes’ efforts and successes during the season are recognized. Congratulations to each of this year’s honorees and National Qualifiers.“