Abigail Castonguay is back playing basketball this season for St. Dominic Academy after suffering an injury. (Sun Journal photo by Andree Kehn)

 

AUBURN — One of Abigail Castonguay’s fondest memories is the time she entered the weight room a few months after she had tore her ACL during soccer season for the first time without her crutches.

The rehab was going well. Better than well, even. St. Dom’s athletic director and girls’ basketball coach J.P. Yorkey said that Castonguay was working as hard at rehabbing as he’s seen a high school kid. When she walked into the weight room to the surprise of her teammates, they celebrated and hugged her. Everyone knew how hard she’d worked for that moment.

“They all started cheering and screaming because they were so happy for me and I was just like, ‘Please, stop, this is embarrassing,’” Castonguay said. “Just being in that atmosphere, it pushed me to work harder in my recovery, my rehab, so I could play with them again.”

Castonguay missed half of the soccer season her junior year, all of basketball and all but one game of lacrosse last year due to the ACL tear. It was a tough blow to Castonguay, especially since she had been working hard on her basketball skills in the offseason. Her excitement level for basketball was high.

“Going into my junior year I was super-pumped,” Castonguay said. “I was really working hard on going strong to the basket and working on my rebounding and outside shot. I put in a lot of time and a lot of work. Then soccer hit and then I got unlucky. It was kind of heartbreaking.”

Handed a bad hand, Castonguay made the most of it.

Every day she could be found in the weight room or the training room. Yorkey knows this because the rooms are on his way to the fields in the back of St. Dominic Academy, and he saw her there every day.

“On a day-to-day basis she was working extremely hard, as hard as I’ve seen a high school kid in rehab, with an eye towards participating in sports during her senior year,” Yorkey said. “… The work ethic she showed in rehab is the same she’s shown in basketball. She is our hardest worker and it’s not even close.”

During the 2017-18 basketball season, Castonguay showed up to every practice and every game. She was there to cheer on her teammates and help in any way she could.

“She was with them right through on a daily basis,” Yorkey said. “She was there physically and contributing in the ways that she could.”

“Even though I couldn’t play I loved just going and cheering my teammates,” Castonguay said. “They’re some of my biggest supporters.”

The rehab was grueling. Castonguay knew it would be difficult, but it wasn’t until she started that she knew just-how hard it would be.

“My body now had all these limitations,” Castonguay said. “I went from running four miles everyday and working out for two hours a day to, ‘Oh, you can only jump 10 times now, you can’t run, you can’t do the things you’ve been doing since you were a kid.’

“It was hard but it was just more motivation for me to get in the weight room every single day and get on the court whenever I could, even if it was just walking.”

Finally, Castonguay was able to see the lacrosse field once during last spring. It was a moment she won’t soon forget.

“We were up by 13 and it was for 30 seconds,” Casonguay said. “I went in and the buzzer sounded to end the game and my teammates screamed and hugged me. They were so happy for me and they were some of my biggest supporters in that sense.”

After a successful soccer season, Castonguay entered the winter thinking she would be in her second year under Chris Marston.

“We thought we were going to have Coach Marston this year,” Castonguay said. “We worked our tails off with him this offseason, and I am so grateful for that, and then getting into the regular season we thought, ‘OK, we know what to expect, how to handle our offense, we’re good.’ Then the bombshell is dropped on us with, nope, he can no longer coach the girls. That was kind of a big obstacle at first because we didn’t know what to expect, but I think we all handled it with grace and we overcame.”

Yorkey then took over as head coach. The team moved on and Castonguay started her first basketball season since sophomore year.

St. Dom’s finished the regular season 11-7 in Class C South. Castonguay was named a captain this season and became one of the Saints’ biggest leaders.

“Abby is, along with Dominique (Michaud), our common thread over the four years, where they’ve had three different coaches,” Yorkey said. “Coach Jon Berry freshman year, Coach Marston and then myself. I think throughout the changes she’s been a constant and has been one of those people who holds everything together with the continuity.”

For Castonguay, the coaching change didn’t change much. The senior really is just happy she can play one last season of basketball with her teammates.

“This season has meant a lot of things to me,” Castonguay said. “It’s my final season so I don’t want it to end. But, I kind of look at it as it’s my final time to get out on the court so I’m going to make the best I can with it. We have a solid group of girls, I enjoy playing with them and I want to keep going out there and keep on making all these memories.”


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