From a way to make friends to a way of life Keith Guintotook up lacrosse in order to meet people at a new high school. Now he's hooked on the sport.

April 25, 1996|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Lacrosse was something that kind of sneaked up on Keith Guinto.

After going to St. Anthony's in Baltimore throughout grade school, he was a high school freshman at a new school, North Carroll, and thought it would be a good way to meet people. Now a junior midfielder at Goucher College, Guinto plays as if he's been around the sport all his life.

"I wish I would have started earlier. I love the game -- every part of it," Guinto said. "Coming from a private school, I wasn't used to going to a public school when I got to North Carroll and didn't get completely adjusted until I started playing lacrosse. I was in a new area trying to make new friends and lacrosse gave me something to cling on to."

And now the Goucher program, in its fifth year, is clinging to Guinto.

After Guinto led the team in scoring last season as an attacker with 31 goals and 16 assists, first-year coach Jim Lyons needed Guinto to be around the ball more this season, prompting a move to midfield.

"We needed his athleticism and lacrosse savvy at midfield where he could do some grunt work and create some things in transition," Lyons said. "We made the switch because we wanted him on the field more in all the different situations. He's handled it very well."

Said Guinto: "It hasn't been that dramatic a change, except I have to be in a lot better shape. I get to spend a little more time at both ends of the field. I just love being out on the field."

After playing three years of varsity at North Carroll, Guinto started out at Towson State, an NCAA Division I power in lacrosse, trying out for the team as a freshman and making it to the final cut. Towson coach Carl Runk recommended Guinto to former Goucher coach Steve Hornish and it was a good fit from the start.

"I got a call from [Hornish] to come over and just check it out," rTC

Guinto said. "I did and liked everyone's attitude and still do."

Goucher (2-11) is rebuilding with a new head coach and five freshmen starting this season. With 18 goals and eight assists this season, Guinto has 80 goals and 42 assists for 122 points and is already the school's all-time scoring leader. He was a goal-scorer from the start with an ability to move without the ball and finish well once he got it.

"I've always had a knack for cutting to the goal," he said. "For some reason, I know when the defender on me has his head turned and I can make the good cut to the goal."

Guinto knows the team won't likely get things completely turned around before he graduates with a degree in consumer psychology. But, he's doing everything he can to point things in a positive direction.

"Everyone realizes its a rebuilding year and we still need to get some more players. It's rough, but we're getting better every week and as long as we're getting a little better all the time, I'm happy," he said.

Guinto takes a lot of night classes, giving himself time during the day. Chances are you'll find him somewhere on the Goucher campus with a lacrosse stick in his hand. Lacrosse has been more than just a sport to him.

"It's the most important part of my life right now," he said. "Once I graduate, I know, one way or the other, it will still be part of my life, whether I'm playing on a club team or coaching."

Pub Date: 4/25/96

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