AMES – The distance proved to be too much for Iowa State redshirt freshman wrestler Danny Vega.
Wrestling coach Kevin Dresser said on Monday the Tucson, Ariz., native left the wrestling team. On Tuesday, associate coach Mike Zadick said Vega, a 125-pounder for the Cyclones, left due to homesickness.
“He decided that the distance away from home was a little too much for him,” Zadick said. “We went through a lot of discussions about his motivation in wrestling, his academics and it kept coming down to distance and being homesick.”
Vega was a top-100 pound-for-pound wrestler coming out of high school. He had a record of 14-7 as an unattached wrestler last season.
“We tried to encourage him to stay and gave him every opportunity,” Zadick said. “His parents came up here off and on and supporting him and being good parents but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough and he decided to pick up and go.”
Vega’s departure leaves Iowa State with just two 125-pound wrestlers: redshirt junior Jon Marmolejo and sophomore walk-on Jakob Allison.
Marmolejo saw action in two events last year, posing a 5-3 record.
While Marmolejo is the obvious choice to fill Vega’s shoes, he’s being held out of competition due to a violation of team rules. He missed the Cyclone Open and will miss the Drexel dual meet on Sunday.
That leaves the Waukee native Allison as the only 125-pound wrestler on Iowa State’s team for the time being.
“Right now, we’re looking at Jakob Allison and he’s a two-time state finalist and he definitely has work to do but he’s been doing a good job here,” Zadick said.
Allison placed third at the Cyclone Open in the freshman and sophomore division. He was pinned by Northern Illinois’ Bryce West in his first match.
“He probably didn’t have the results he wanted this past weekend,” Zadick said. “But he threw it all out there and he’s a guy that will go out there and at least attempt and hit holds. You can work with a guy like that, that’s a positive.”
Allison spent last year wrestling for the Iowa State wrestling club before walking onto Iowa State’s team.
Zadick has liked what he’s seen from him in a short time.
“You never know what you get with walk-ons all the time and you’d like to see how they make through the first four years because usually reality sets in that this is pretty tough, Division I athletics. Right now, I look at him, has he struggled? Yes. Has he fought back in a positive way? He has. Is he really a believer in himself yet? Probably not, but I think that’s our job as a coaching staff to make him really believe in what his potential could be.
“Right now, we’re starting to get him to believe you belong in Division I athletics and you belong on the mat wrestling for Iowa State and you deserve to have your hand raised based on what you’re doing here.”
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