Plainfield North High School science teacher and wrestling coach Jeff Kastel has been inducted into the Elmhurst College Bluejay Backer Hall of Fame.
Kastel graduated from college in 2008 and is in his second year at PNHS. He taught physics and chemistry last year, and chemistry again this year.
Kastel is one of three alumni honored for their athletic accomplishments at a special ceremony on Oct. 5. He holds two Elmhurst wrestling records and achieved All-America honors during his senior year. He won 50 matches in his first two seasons competing at 133 pounds.
He missed the 2005-06 season because of illness, but returned the next year and won a CCIW Championship. He also qualified for the NCAA Championships at 149 pounds and finished the season with a 28-12 overall record.
Kastel returned in 2007-08 and became the first Elmhurst wrestler to record over 40 wins in a season, setting a single-season record of 42-6.
He won his second consecutive CCIW title at 149 pounds and went on to place fifth at the NCAA Championships, earning All-America accolades in the process. He set a new Elmhurst career record for victories by closing out his career with a 127-44 overall record.
It looks like Kastel is laying the foundation for a strong program at PNHS as well.
"In his short time here, Coach Kastel has improved our program tremendously, and is building a program that will be successful for years to come,” said PNHS Athletic Director Ron Lear.
“We are all extremely proud of Coach Kastel for receiving this award and we are also proud to have him on our coaching staff here at North,” Lear said.
Kastel is surprised and humbled by the honor, and appreciates the impact that his success on the mat has had on the rest of his life.
“My career at Elmhurst as a wrestler, and student, has forever changed my life,” Kastel said. “It allowed me to move on into the next phase of my life. I am now striving for excellence as a science teacher and coach at Plainfield North High School.”