NIU captured two big wins, Jan. 12, 2007. First, the Huskies beat Buffalo 25-12, then they defeated Findlay 32-6.
Few represent the heart of NIU Wrestling better than assistant coach Pat Castillo.
The Western Springs, Ill. native was a four-year letterwinner at NIU from 2005-08, where he compiled 100 wins in the Cardinal and Black, and went unbeaten in Mid-American Conference competition for the last two years of his career.
As a senior, Castillo earned his second Mid-American Conference Most Outstanding Wrestler Award after dominating the field en route to his second consecutive conference title. He led the nation with 16 major decisions and compiled a 31-7 record. The 133-pounder qualified for the NCAA Championships for the third time as a senior, where he came up just one match shy of earning All-American status. Also in his final season, Castillo placed at the Midlands Championships for the third time, with a fifth-place finish.
During his junior season, wrestled at 125 pounds, he won his first MAC Championship, and his first MAC Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. Castillo made his second trip to the NCAA Championships and finished the year as the 15th-ranked 125-pound wrestler in the nation.
Castillo had a breakout season as a sophomore. He had the best finish of his career at the Midlands Championships, taking second, and earned the tournament championship at the Steven's Point Pointer Open. After going 27-8 and finishing second at the MAC Championships, Castillo earend at at-large berth to his first NCAA Championships, where he finished 2-2.
During his first year of full competition, Castillo earned 12 wins, and finished second at the Pointer Open. He defeated opponents from Kent State, Northwestern, and Eastern Michigan.
Castillo was a two-time all-state honoree while wrestling at Lyons Township High School.
He will graduate from NIU in December, 2008 with a bachelor's degree in physical education.