For a split second, Castellano considered giving up a sport, maybe two, possibly all three.
"It became overwhelming," said Castellano, who earned 12 varsity letters as a member of the Scarlet Knights' soccer, basketball and softball teams. "I wanted a break. All I wanted to do was go home and rest."
However, Castellano didn't give in. She fought off the notion of taking off a season and regained her mental toughness. Soon, basketball faded into memory and, within two days, Castellano was on to softball.
"I've been tired a lot throughout high school," she said of keeping up with a hectic schedule. "Sometimes, I'd get done with practice or a game and I'd sleep. I think I could've studied more. Playing three sports dragged down my studies a bit. Still, I don't regret anything."
What the 17-year-old Castellano accomplished is unique, considering most scholastic athletes choose to specialize in one sport. According to Bill Nieman, who heads the basketball and softball programs at Morris Hills, Castellano is the third girl to attain 12 letters during his lengthy tenure at the high school. The other two are Kim Jackson and Kris Self.
"It's very unusual to play three sports now," Nieman said. "It's hard. You just have to program yourself. Dana is able to switch gears. She's been fortunate to be healthy. She's like Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse."
She was a starter in all three sports. In soccer, Castellano was a forward for three years before being moved to stopper. During the winter months, she served as a guard for the basketball team. Each spring, she roamed center field.
Castellano estimates she's played in close to 300 games and attended 600 practices on the high school level.
"Dana balanced everything very well," her father, Pat, said. "She somehow succeeded in getting everything done. Dana would go to the games her brother, James, played in. She always really liked sports."
Getting homework done was a constant challenge. Castellano would do the majority of it during the school day. She kept her grades up, getting mostly As and Bs.
While in second grade, Castellano served as a cheerleader for the Junior Knights. That was her fourth activity as she already was participating in the other three sports.
"I just like to be out there," Castellano said. "I'm not a quitter. If I get taken out of a game, I want to go right back in. I worked my butt off every day. I'd like to see younger kids play this many sports but most don't play this many anymore."
Castellano, who enjoys physics because "it's interesting," enjoyed every minute of the action. She admits that her favorite sport was softball.
"It was the environment, the girls, the fact that it's in the springtime," she said. "In all of the sports, my teammates helped make me who I am. They got me through everything."
Nieman says Castellano, a .505 hitter with 26 stolen bases as a senior, is probably the best center fielder he's ever coached. A slapper, Castellano, wearing No. 1, led off. She covered a lot of ground in the outfield, making many difficult catches.
"I saw Dana play in grammar school and she was a good hitter," Nieman said. "With her speed, we made her into a slapper and she excelled at it. She's tough and is a big-time threat on the basepaths."
During the Morris Hills Tournament in April, Castellano rapped out her 100th career hit, getting a single in the seventh inning against Hanover Park. She finished that game an impressive 4 for 5 and had five stolen bases.
She was the second-leading scorer for the Scarlet Knights basketball team.
An NJSIAA Scholar-Athlete honoree in May, Castellano plans to be an occupational therapist. She has no plans to play sports yet is considering being a walk-on for the softball team.