Jackrabbits’ Vega, Price lead way at U23 Nationals

AKRON, Ohio – South Dakota State University wrestlers Danny Vega and Zach Price each earned All-America status with top-eight finishes in the freestyle division at the 2019 UWW U23 Nationals over the weekend.

Vega finished as runner-up in the 57-kilogram weight class, while Price placed eighth in the 61-kilogram class. Both wrestlers competed as members of the Jackrabbit Wrestling Club.

Seeded fourth, Vega finished the weekend with a 5-2 record. He won each of his first two matches by 10 points before scoring a 15-6 victory over Benyamin Kamali of the Cavalier Wrestling Club in the quarterfinals. A native of Tucson, Arizona, and a transfer from Iowa State, Vega advanced to the championship round with a 7-3 win over Tommy Hoskins of Oklahoma.

That set up a best-of-three series for the title between Vega and Gabriel Townsell of the Stanford-California Regional Training Center. Vega held the upper hand in the first bout, scoring a 10-0 victory. However, Townsell came back with wins of 12-2 and 10-0 to win the 57-kilogram weight class.

Price, who redshirted during his first season at SDSU last winter, cruised into the 61-kilogram placing matches by outscoring his first three opponents by a combined 40-8 margin. In the quarterfinals, the eighth-seeded Price was upended, 6-3, by Charles Tucker of Cornell. The Johnston, Iowa, native turned in a 1-2 record in the consolation rounds to end the tournament with a 4-3 overall record.

Finishing one win shy of All-America honors was Kenny O’Neil at 74 kilograms. The Prior Lake, Minnesota, native, won each of his first three matches in the field of 102 wrestlers before dropping a 13-8 decision in the Round of 16 to Quentin Perez of Campbell. O’Neil’s tournament run ended with a 3-2 record following a loss to Taleb Rahmani of the Pittsburgh Wrestling Club.

A total of 15 South Dakota State wrestlers competed in the three-day event.

Full results can be found at FloWrestling.org.

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