Flagler Palm Coast lacrosse assistant coach Katie Kastner made what she calls the hardest decision in her life when she walked away from Division-1 lacrosse at Jacksonville University. The only thing that could have helped Kastner be content with her decision was getting to spend time with and coaching her best friend, her sister Kelly.
“D1 lacrosse is a tough lifestyle,” she said, adding that she missed her family and seeing her sister, Kelly, play. “I told my family that I didn’t want to do it anymore, and they supported my decision, and I came back, and coach (Jim) Hackett put me on staff.”
Thinking that she would be playing college lacrosse, Kastner never expected see her sister play a game, much less coach her. Now, in her second year as the assistant, the former four-year FPC lacrosse player has lived her ultimate dream of playing D1 lacrosse, and now she’s living another dream, watching her sister play every game.
“Lacrosse is everything to me,” she said. “I remember standing on the field at the University of Florida, and I just started crying. I was like, oh my god, I’m literally living my dream, but it wasn’t a right fit, and after that game, I told myself that I had lived my dream, so I’m good now. I get to be with Kelly before she goes off to college. I know I’m going to cry a lot, when she leaves.”
Kelly Kastner has already signed to play college lacrosse at St. Leo University, which is three hours away from their home. Since moving to Palm Coast from Long Island at 8 years old, she has tagged along with her older sister everywhere she went, except college.
“Katie’s always been a big role model for me,” Kelly Kastner said. “Whatever she does, I do.” Katie’s the one who inspired Kelly to play lacrosse.
It was just two weeks ago in a game where the two found themselves bickering like typical sisters. When Katie was having difficulties adjusting Kelly’s stick, the younger sibling was yelling for her sister to speed up the pace of fixing it, referring to her as “Coach Katie.”
“She only calls me that, when she’s being nasty,” said a laughing Katie Kastner. “It’s weird to hear her call me coach.” Kelly Kastner agreed, only with the exception of her witty moments.
Kelly Kastner and five other the Lady Bulldogs will be honored at senior night Thursday, April 2. There, Katie, their parents, Michele and Chuck, who is also the announcer, will make one last trip to the field.
“It’s only right that we end this FPC tradition together,” Katie Kastner said. “Our parents always made us hang out together, and they would tell us that when everyone else leaves, we will always have each other. We have each other for life. I’m really going to miss her when she goes to college, but I know she’ll be awesome there.”
BOX: The Art of Giving
Kelly Kastner, a second-year painter, founded The Art of Giving, an artistic fundraiser for local, national and worldwide projects. She began her organization helping funs missionaries to Papua New Guinea. After making $1,000, Kastner donated all the money to the missionaries.
Since then, she has teamed up with Florida Hospital Flagler, where she is helping their Relay for Life campaign. For more information about The Art of Giving, visit facebook.com/artofgiving10.