Photo: NJCAA

Castillo repeats as NJCAA Men's Coach of the Year

The Open Mat presents awards annually in three categories for each division of college wrestling at the conclusion of the season. Awards are presented for Freshman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Wrestler of the Year.

Western Wyoming head wrestling coach Art Castillo has been named NJCAA Men's Coach of the Year by the Open Mat for the second straight year.

Two weeks after winning the Plains District title by 54 points, Western Wyoming captured its second consecutive national title. The Mustangs won the national championship by 21.5 points on the strength of 10 national qualifiers, seven All-Americans, three national finalists and a national champion.

Western Wyoming was led by national champion Cody Phelps at 133 pounds. Phelps dominated at the 2024 NJCAA Men's Wrestling Championships, winning by technical fall in his first four matches to reach the national finals. In the finals, Phelps cruised to a 17-4 major decision over Cesar Avelar of Clackamas. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the event.

Bridger Ricks (125) and Darion Johnson (184) also reached the national finals for Western Wyoming, both finishing second. Other All-Americans for Western Wyoming included River Wardle (141) Chris Lopez (157), Jayden Luttrell (165) and Dmarian Lopez (285).

Castillo, a native of Green River, Wyoming, has served as head wrestling coach at Western Wyoming for 15 seasons. The NJCAA Coaches Association Hall of Famer has coached seven national champions and over 70 All-Americans during his time at Western Wyoming.