The Mustangs of Western Wyoming Community College have wrestled their way to the NJCAA National Tournament.
Six Mustang wrestlers will compete at nationals in Des Moines, Iowa, after having qualified during the recent West District Regional Tournament, which was held Feb. 13 in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. Students making the trip include two second-place regional finishers: Ronald Wardleigh (125 lbs), of Ogden, Utah; and Colby Barlocker (174 lbs), of Enterprise, Utah; three third-place finishers, including Brett Jones (133 lbs), of Fallbrook, Calif.; Ryan Slaugh (157 lbs), of Rock Springs, Wyo.; and Aspen Naylor (197 lbs), of Syracuse, Utah; and one fourth-place finisher: Brenn Schiess (141 lbs), of Pocatello, Idaho.
Western finished third as a team in the region tourney with 104.5 points, behind host and second-place finisher North Idaho College and region winner Clackamas Community College out of Oregon. Western finished just ahead of in-state rival Northwest College, in fourth place with 92.5 points.
Mustang head coach Art Castillo said he likes his team’s chances in Des Moines.
“I like where we are at in terms of our preparation,” he said. “Physically, we are very healthy, and mentally I think we are ready to go.”
Northwest College’s Jeff McCormick was named the West District’s Outstanding Wrestler for 2014-15, but Coach of the Year honors went to Castillo. He gave much of the credit for that recognition to his coaching staff.
“I may have received the award, but this is a product of the hard work of my entire staff,” Castillo said. “We wouldn’t be where we are right now without Coach Josh Nacey and Coach Rick Yoak, that’s for sure!
“It was an honor to be awarded the Coach of the Year award in our region,” he added. “Every year, we have teams competing for national titles coming out of our region. There are some excellent coaches and staffs who have won several national titles. Considering the quality of our region’s coaches, it was pretty humbling for these guys to vote for me.”