NU wrestler racks up pins
By Brian Ortmeier Daily Nebraskan

Lincoln, NE (CSTV U-WIRE) -- Pins in wrestling are usually hard to come by, but Nebraska's Vince Jones has been making it look easy lately.

Through three tournaments this season, Jones has racked up 10 victories by pin to lead the Cornhuskers this season.

"I like to keep on working hard," Jones said. "Sometimes the opportunity comes up and I like to take it. I just keep wrestling until something happens. If I don't get a pin I just keep on working."

Jones's hard work is paying off. His record stands at 14-2, and is 9-1 in his last 10 matches. He also has racked up a third-, second- and first-place finish in open competitions.

Last Sunday at the UNI Open in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the Sicklerville, N.J., native tallied four pins.

"He wrestled real well," NU Coach Mark Manning said. "He's getting better. From two weeks ago at the (University of Nebraska at Omaha) Open to now he's just gotten a lot better."

This success is nothing new for Jones, who also had the knack for pinning his opponents in high school competition.

During his career at Winslow Township High School, Jones won 137 matches - 98 by pinfall - to set a school record.

Jones left his mark on New Jersey high school wrestling by ranking fifth nationally in his weight class while pulling in two state championships and finishing third his sophomore year.

Coming out of high school, Jones was highly recruited by teams such as Hofstra, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Penn, but in the end Nebraska won him over.

"I wanted to be a better wrestler," Jones said. "And at the same time I knew I could get good workout partners. And academics, (UNL's) pretty good academically, too. My parents liked that."

According to Manning, Nebraska's wrestling program appears to have been the right choice for Jones so far, as he is slowly making the transition into a well-rounded performer.

"He's just improving a lot on the little things that make the difference from being a really good high school wrestler to being a really good college wrestler," Manning said. "He's making that transition, which is good to see. Not every kid does that in college, and Vince is a very intelligent young man."

At the moment, Gary Albright holds the Nebraska record for total falls in a season with 36 in 1985-86.

With 10 falls under his belt, Jones sits just seven behind Albright (1983-84) and Travis Shufelt (2003-04) for 10th on the single-season list.

Jones might have to wait a year for his season stats to be official, though.

If he takes a redshirt this year, which is likely, his stats will not count toward season or career totals.

Either way, Jones said working hard in practice is more important than setting records.

"He's really smart," Manning said. "He's smart on and off the mat. Vince has a tremendous feel for the sport, and he's picking up all the little things he needs to do to be the best in his weight class. He's not there yet and he has a long way to go, but he's making a lot of improvement."

Manning said you can't make a wrestler become a great pinner. A skill like pinning must be developed as a sense, similar to that of a running back with great field vision.

"People start rolling around with Vince and he knows where he's at," Manning said. "He's working harder in the wrestling room, and that's only going to carry over into more victories, more success."

(C) 2006 Daily Nebraskan via CSTV U-WIRE

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