SYRACUSE – Wawasee celebrated a big day for the wrestling program Monday evening the the National Letter of Intent signing for two of its senior stars.
Both Alex Castro and Raymon Torres held their signing ceremonies at the high school surrounded by family and friends. Castro signed with Defiance College in Ohio and Torres to Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting.
Castro was a factor for the Warriors all four years. After working a 12-11 freshman campaign that included a regional qualification, Castro jumped to 27 wins as a sophomore and another regional spot. As a junior, Castro was 35-6, finishing third in the regional and advancing to his first semi-state. As a senior, Castro was a sectional champion at 182, fourth at the regional and reached his second semi-state.
For his career, Castro was 100-37, earning his 100th win in the regional this past February. Castro also was named a 2018 and 2019 All-Northern Lakes Conference Honorable Mention, a 2018 Team State champion, a 2019 Team State runner-up and was a Scholar Athlete.
Castro also took part in football and Unified Flag Football at Wawasee.
At Defiance, Castro will wrestle for coach Tony Guerra and the Yellow Jackets, which is a NCAA Division III program. He plans to study criminal justice.
“This past season didn’t end how I wanted it to, with some injuries and sickness and stuff like that, but this is a great thing for me,” Castro said Monday after his ceremony. “I wasn’t ready and mentally prepared, and that’s on me. I wasn’t on the right track. This has me on the right track. I’m ready to go to college and see what I can do. This is really exciting and glad coach Guerra saw me and happy that coach (Wawasee assistant Jamie) Salazar got a hold of them and believed in me.”
Torres powered his way through a high school career that had him miss much of two seasons to a knee injury, including the end of his junior and senior seasons. A collective 63-29 record at Wawasee had Torres qualify for the regional after a third-place finish at the Plymouth Sectional as a sophomore.
Torres gathered Scholar Athlete accolades at Wawasee, and was also a member of the Wawasee Team State champions in 2018 and runner-up in 2019.
Torres also took part in football and Unified Flag Football at Wawasee.
At Calumet, Torres will wrestle for coach Bobby Maldonado and the Crimson Wave, which is a NAIA program. He plans to study biomedical science.
“Really it was coach Jamie (Salazar) who got me in touch with them,” Torres said Monday night. “After I tore my ACLs I didn’t think anyone would want me on their team. It just boosted my confidence and want to get better faster. When I went there to check them out, it felt like a hometown college, felt like home.
“After the Wawasee December Duals, I felt like I was getting back into rhythm. Then after Fort Wayne’s Team State, it just didn’t feel right in my knee. When the doctor told me I tore my ACL again, I was bummed. Nobody was going to want me after this, and then this happened for me and I started to feel way better about things.”
Added head coach Frank Bumgardner on his two athletes, “This is a true testament to what hard word and dedication does. In the case of Raymon, he has what’s coming to him now. He earned this. Whether or not it showed in accolades, he ended two years with knee injuries. Being the great human being he is, he’s getting what he deserves. Alex, same thing. The amount of work he’s putting in and he’s still working tremendously hard, and he’s going to get that opportunity. Even though it wasn’t the end result he wanted in high school, he’s still getting the opportunity because someone saw what he’s capable of.”