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Ken West’s Guarino now enjoying the moments

Sharon Guarino was waiting on deck for her next event to come up in the Kenmore West/Lockport track and field meet at Crosby Field on April 30.

But there was something a bit different about Guarino this time out. In years past, she might be so driven to win that she shut out everything around her.

This time, Guarino was wearing a content smile as she simply took in the moment of being a varsity athlete, and the lasting friendships she has made along the way in athletics.

“I can say that all of my true friends have come from some sort of sports team,” said Guarino, a Ken-West senior. “But now it’s time to just have fun and it’s time to really push those who are younger than me. It’s their time to shine...I’m just trying to spark a fire underneath all the young ones.”

Make no mistake, Guarino hasn’t lost her competitive edge. Far from it. Guarino still brings her trademark spark-plug energy that can will any team she is on to victory.

“I hate to lose,” Guarino said with a smirk. “And I want to come out of this season winning. I’d be disappointed in myself if it was any other way.”

But Guarino now sees the world in a different light. With the final weeks of her high school life fading into the history books, Guarino also wants to savor the moments before she moves forward to college and her adult life.

Talk about well-rounded. Guarino is not only a five-year member of the Ken-West varsity track and field team, she has played three years of varsity basketball and two years varsity soccer.

In fact, Guarino is one of the few, if not the only three-sport student-athletes at Ken-West who also excels in the I.B. program. Guarino has also played the trumpet with the Ken-West band and jazz ensemble.

“Not only does she have the work ethic but she’s a competitor. And that’s what I love about her,” said Ken-West girls track coach Mike Panepinto.

Not only the West girls track and field coach, Panepinto has seen Guarino up close for years as his daughters’ friend and teammate for West soccer and as the P.A. announcer at Lady Blue Devils’ basketball games.

Panepinto says, without question, Guarino is the kind of well-wounded student all kids should strive to be like.

“It doesn’t matter if she’s playing checkers or if it’s in a track meet, soccer game, a basketball game-she’s going to go out and compete and that’s all you can ask for,” said Panepinto. “And that isn’t just in a sporting event, that’s in the classroom as well.”

Competing in the pole vault and multiple other events, Guarino has been a cornerstone and fine leader for a young Lady Blue Devils team.

Guarino is at peace. She now gets it. She knows that while victory on the field of play is certainly the goal, it’s by no means the only thing she is taking away from her days at Kenmore West.

She knows that time with her teammates have produced the best memories, which will stay with her for the long haul.

“I would have to say our last soccer game my first year (on varsity) — we went all the way to the (Section VI Class AA) finals,” she said of one of her best memories. “It was one of the best games I ever played in. We lost by one then after that the buzzer sounded and we all just kind of stood there and looked at each other and started crying.

“But it was really the fact that we lost the game and we were done, it was the fact half the girls were leaving and we would no longer be that team,” she added. “That was probably the biggest family I ever had. That first year of soccer.”
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