Castello will be disappointed if NYU does not retain its two major titles. "I don't guarantee we'll win," he says, "but it will be close. As usual, Navy, Penn, Notre Dame, Columbia and Princeton are strong. The Midwest is getting there, too." During a regular season match, Navy took a 13-10 lead over NYU but the Violets won the last four bouts. "I had to do a little coaching in that one," Castello says. "I pretend I'm mad, but it's all calculated." Castello calculates a lot. Much of NYU's strength is its depth, which Castello begins to plot out as many as five years from the bout he happens to be watching. Depth will be a big factor in the IFAs, where the top nine fencers count in the team score, but will be less important in the NCAAs, where the top three determine the results.
Hugo Castello has perpetuated his father's approach to the sport: a relentless devotion to fundamentals. There are times when an entire practice session will be devoted to the execution of the lunge—500 times per fencer. A reporter once called Castello the Vince Lombardi of fencing. Hugo prefers the reaction of a woman he met at a Greenwich Village cocktail party:
"What do you do?"
"I'm the fencing coach at NYU."
"That's nice. But what else do you do?"