In Character: Western’s Castrina, 30 total locals head to state tournaments

Photos by Bart Isley and Jack Isley

When Western Albemarle wrestling’s Collin Castrina steps on the mat, he has a sense of confidence that a lot of good wrestlers carry with them. 


But for Castrina it goes a step beyond that. For the Western senior, it’s something different. Something more evolved.


It’s a character. 


He’s actually someone different when he steps in the circle.  


“I’m able to be whoever I want to be on the mat until someone beats me,” Castrina said. “You can wrestle with a confidence and a style — you can mimic a Mike Tyson or a Connor McGregor who I really look up to. You can be your own character out there.”


The source of that confidence that toes the line of bravado is much more fundamental. To wrestle that confident, you’ve got to be able to back it up. 


“Collin is our most experienced wrestler we have in the room and he wrestles with great confidence but that’s backed up by his preparation,” said Western coach Adam Mulcahy. “I’m a firm believer that preparation yields confidence which leads to success and Collin is the perfect example of that formula.”


Castrina’s character on the mat has served him well. This season he became the No. 2 all-time wins leader at Western behind Warriors legend Nate Riley and is 38-7 on the season at 126 pounds. He’s the Region 3C runner-up and today he’s part of a contingent of 30 local wrestlers headed to three different locations across Virginia to compete for a state title. Western’s representatives head to Salem for the Class 3 state tournament. 


Castrina is one of hundreds of hopefuls who plan to stand atop the podium as a champion this weekend, and like many it has been his mission since day one this season.


“The best thing for me as a coach about him is that I don’t have to help him prepare mentally,” Mulchay said. “He does that himself.”


Castrina is a technically advanced wrestler with a wide array of moves and counters at his disposal. Combine that with the fact that he’s battle tested — he’s been wrestling at the state level since he was at Covenant and placed seventh in the state. He’s proven he’s not afraid to take risks, often unleashing advanced throws during matches. 


“I love trying to be like a cat, I like to feel like if you dropped me off a building I’d land on my feet assuming that situation ever happened,” Castrina said. “It’s fun to make people go ‘ooooh’ (during a match). I don’t want to be in a boring match or be a boring wrestler.”


Last season he absorbed a tough loss while wrestling at 120 in the first round of the state tournament, now he gets a chance to avenge that frustrating performance in Salem a year later. 


The Warriors have produced just a single state champion as a program when heavyweight Jake Jackson won a championship in 2018. But perhaps this is the year where Castrina breaks through, gets hot and makes a run through the winner’s bracket. 


“State champion. That’s the goal,” Castrina said. 


The two-day finish to a long journey starts Friday morning in Salem.


Local State Tournament Qualifiers by Class

Class 5 at Rock Ridge High

Albemarle: Nolan Pitsenberger (17-6) at 152

Class 4 at Tuscarora High

Orange County: Jose Kincaid (33-9) at 106, Wyatt Mills (19-7) at 113, Ethan Turner (27-8) at 120, Blake Wilson (24-15) at 126, K.J. Taylor (32-10) at 138, David Stiegler (32-4) at 145, Taylor Jenkins (34-11) at 160, Truth Wilson (32-5) at 195

Louisa County: Owen Greslick (39-2) at 113, Zion Villines (37-6) at 126

Class 3 in Salem

Fluvanna County: Jariq Henson (24-16) at 126, Aiden Valentine (24-6) at 138, Shawn Metcalf (22-5) at 152, Tyler Stoy (17-13) at 160

William Monroe: Kaleb Doshier (35-21) at 126, Connor Redieske (30-18) at 132, Chris Taft (31-19) at 138 and Connor Marcotte (34-19) at 220

Western Albemarle: Collin Castrina (38-7) at 126, Sam Duska (27-9) at 160 and Max Morrison (39-10) at 182

Goochland: Reese Vincent (8-7) at 138, Connor Duncan (10-6) at 220

Charlottesville: Pyi Khant (17-12) at 113 and Aiden Lewandowski (28-8) at 120

Class 2 in Salem

Madison: Sam Pequignot (26-19) at 113, Jack Bourdon (30-15) at 138, Christian Corbin (26-11) at 220, Jacob Sacra (39-3) at 285