Congratulating Kaden Keelance, second from left, after he clinched the victory for the Tigers are, from left, Lucas Scheier, Brady Kissinger, assistant coach Ty Bradley, Joe Kain, Alex Button, Tucker Bender, assistant coach Derek Krage, Ryan Cody, Teagan Foth and Adler Keenlance. The wrestlers are seen wearing their new, two-piece uniforms.
Congratulating Kaden Keelance, second from left, after he clinched the victory for the Tigers are, from left, Lucas Scheier, Brady Kissinger, assistant coach Ty Bradley, Joe Kain, Alex Button, Tucker Bender, assistant coach Derek Krage, Ryan Cody, Teagan Foth and Adler Keenlance. The wrestlers are seen wearing their new, two-piece uniforms.

   Anyone attending last week Thursday’s conference dual between the Ripon and Berlin high school wrestling teams may have noticed something different.

   And no, it wasn’t just a new head coach for the Tigers.

   Ripon also debuted a new, two-piece uniform that featured a compression shirt and MMA-style shorts — which was made legal by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) after last season as an alternate to the traditional singlet.

   The move was made in hopes of attracting new athletes to the sport, who may be scared off by the one-piece uniform. In my mind, it’s absolutely the right one.

   When I started covering wrestling in 2010, I knew very little about the sport — aside from what I saw while watching the WWE and Monday Night Raw, which is far from real wrestling.

  I didn’t know many of the “real” wrestling moves and what constituted as an infraction or points — and still don’t understand everything — but I enjoyed the combat of the sport and the fact that the match could turn or be over in a matter of seconds.

   One part of wrestling that didn’t really get me excited, especially as somebody who is tasked to take photos of the action on the mat, is the uniform.

   The tight-fitting singlets do very little for the appearances of the wrestlers, so when I saw the new two-piece uniforms last week Thursday they caught my eye.

Read the full column, which includes reasons why I am for the uniform change, in the Jan. 11, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.