Former Donna High School track star Vince Castillo’s namesake and his accomplishments will be on display on the Benny LaPrade Stadium scoreboard later this year.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be in the history books,” Castillo said. “I’m honored that Donna ISD is recognizing my accomplishments and doing something like this. I couldn’t be happier.”
Castillo, a 2015 DHS graduate, excelled on the track during his high school career. He was a two-time champion in the 300-meter hurdles, a bronze medalist in the 110-meter hurdles and qualified for the state meet each of the four years he ran. “I was a regional champion, I was a district champion, and I was the area champion so I did accomplish quite a bit while in high school,” Castillo said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling. I worked very hard for a long period of time to achieve what I did.”
Castillo’s success and love of the sport followed him to Mississippi State University where he is a sophomore today. His accolades include NCAA All-American 1600-Meter Relay and Newcomer and Freshman of the Year. “I had an incredible season my freshman year,” Castillo said. “I participated in the open 400, 400 hurdles and the mile relay. Our mile relay went all the way to the national meet in Eugene, Oregon. We were in the finals and I remember anchoring it as a freshman. It was an incredible feeling to be at that level.”
Castillo said the transition from high school to college track was challenging but exciting. “Track and field was a big transition,” Castillo said. “The Mississippi State team was a lot bigger. I was training with guys who were as fast as me or faster. Being with them every day really pushed me. It was a bit different but it was a good different. I enjoyed being with athletes at that level.”
Castillo wouldn’t have it any other way. His goal is to work hard enough to make it to the Olympics. “It’s definitely in my reach,” Castillo said. “I believe I have about a three-to four-year window to be in the best shape of my life. I want to be able to say that I made it to the Olympics. It’s something that not many people can say especially here in the Valley. I know it can be in my reach. I just got to go get it.”
His father and two older brothers are among his biggest supporters. “They’re very proud,” Castillo said. “My dad tells me every chance he gets that he is proud of me for being where I’m at and for being at the college level.”
Castillo said they are the ones behind his love of the sport. “My dad was a great athlete in high school,” Castillo said. “His best sport was track and field. My two older brothers were incredible in track and field as well. I remember always wanting to top them. I was in 7th or 8th grade when I started running the hurdles and was a lot better than I thought. That’s when I realized I might be able to do something with this sport.”
Academics are important to Castillo as well. He plans to graduate from Mississippi State and someday become a teacher and coach. “I enjoy sports, especially track and field, and I want to be able to be around it as long as possible.” Castillo said.