ROCK SPRINGS – The holidays look to be very happy for Mustang Wrestling at Western Wyoming Community College.
The most recent NJCAA rankings place Western at #13 in the nation, a seven-place jump from its previous ranking at #20. Two Mustang grapplers, freshman Cole Verner, of Green River, and sophomore Adrian Mack, of Colorado Springs, rank third and fourth in the 125-pound and 184-pound divisions, respectively.
“Our ranking means that the country is recognizing our team’s progress,” Mustang head coach Art Castillo said. “It also means that we have to move up 13 spots by the end of the year, so we have plenty of room for improvement. But it is good for our guys to be recognized. They are doing a good job this semester, and we look to make an even bigger impact down the stretch.”
The rankings are a boost for Western as the squad heads into one of only two regular-season home matches this year. Northwest Kansas Tech will be on campus Friday, Dec. 18, for a 4 p.m. dual meet. The Mustangs prevailed over NWKT 33-13 earlier this season in a dual on the road, but Castillo said his wrestlers cannot afford to take the visiting Mavericks lightly.
“We have a pretty solid NWKT team coming on Friday,” Castillo said. “I hope the guys can stay focused on performing on the mat and not look ahead to the holiday break.”
The wrestlers will have 10 days off for the holidays following Friday’s meet, after which they will prepare for an important road meet, the National Duals in Ft. Wayne, Ind., on Jan. 8 and 9.
The Mustangs’ only other home meet this season is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22, at 7:30 p.m. versus Northwest College. The Trappers are currently tied with Harper College in Illinois for #14 in the NJCAA national rankings, one spot behind Western.
This year’s NJCAA West District Championships will be held in Des Moines, Wash., on Feb. 13. The NJCAA National Tournament will be held in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on Feb. 26.