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Guldin makes grade in hoops, on links


What is more stressful: a 6-foot par putt or free throws with the whole gym watching you?

“That’s a really good question,” mused DeSales senior Christian Guldin.

Guldin would know.

The versatile Pennridge grad is a two-sport athlete for DeSales University. It is rare to be a quality starter on two collegiate teams, yet there are some obvious overlaps with certain sports. Track and football for instance. Womens’ lacrosse defensive principles translate seamlessly to basketball.

But Guldin, a starting guard on the basketball team, is also a strong contributor to the Bulldogs’ golf team. (His answer, by the way, is the putt. “If you miss it and have a 5-foot comeback, it’s even more stressful,” he responded. “And I’ve practiced a lot more free throws in my life than 6-footers.”)

Guldin followed in his older brother Mike’s footsteps by coming to DeSales for basketball. In his sophomore year Christian, who lettered in both sports at Pennridge, learned that there were spots open on DeSales’ golf team.

“I tried out to see if I would like it or not and I loved it,” Guldin said.

Guldin has missed just two contests in his hoops career during which DeSales has gone 61-16. He scored nine points in just 12 minutes in DeSales’ first-round 2022 NCAA game.

“The NCAA Tournament, down at Randolph-Macon, was a great experience,” Guldin described. “Unfortunately we lost but as we were leaving, Randolph-Macon came on the court for their game and it was the coolest atmosphere. As a team, we are pursuing getting back there and experiencing the NCAA Tournament, which is something I’ll never forget.”

Junior Guldin was a super-sub for a 21-win Bulldogs squad. He ranked second on the team in threes and fourth in both points and minutes. Guldin scored 16 points in the MAC Freedom championship game against Arcadia.

As a senior, Guldin has started every game for 9-2 DeSales. He is third on the team in scoring and likely to break Mike Guldin’s 467 career points this month.

“Christian has exemplified how hard work and dedication pay off,” Pennridge basketball coach Dean Behrens shared. “He has earned every minute at DeSales and I know he does not take that for granted.”

Mike, nine years older than Christian, was a big influence on his little brother. “I always grew up with a ball in my hand, whether it was football, basketball or baseball,” Christian recalled. “I gravitated more towards basketball than the others, especially watching Mike and my sister both play for Pennridge. When Mike played at DeSales, it was a great experience to watch him and I wanted to be a part of that myself when I grew up.

“I found golf when I was 10 or 11. It would be on TV and I would always want to skip to the next channel because who wants to watch golf?” Guldin smiled. “But once I got into it, it became very interesting. It is a rewarding sport when you play well and it can be very, very frustrating when you are not playing well. It is a sport you can play in your 70s or 80s.”

In April 2022, Guldin finished 23rd with a two-day total of 173 at the MAC Freedom Men’s Golf Championship.

Golf “is a physical and mental break from basketball in the spring and the fall. I enjoy being out on the course. You have a beautiful day and you’re playing free golf with your buddies,” Guldin opined. “Both are very rewarding emotionally and mentally.”

Guldin can drive into the fairway as easily as he can drive a lane. In an era when many young athletes are encouraged to specialize, Guldin’s versatility is refreshing. “You learn different life lessons between each sport. Basketball is a team sport. You have five guys on the court. You rely on every single guy out there and each guy brings something different to the table,” Guldin explained. “If one guy is having a great day you can lean on another teammate and they can help you out.

“As far as golf goes, it’s just you and the course. If you have a bad hole, you’re going to have to figure out on your own how to pick yourself up,” Guldin continued. “You can’t let your emotions bring the rest of the team down. And on the golf course, if you let your emotions get the best of you, you can turn a low 80s score into high 90s.”

Golf takes a back seat during basketball season although Guldin always works on putting in his room. In the fall “we have golf season and then we also have pickup games and lifting for basketball,” Guldin stated. “That is the busiest time. I would go to lift and then go right over to the course and play nine holes. I liked staying busy between the two.”

Despite the busyness of being a two-sport athlete, Guldin is a double major in finance and accounting who has been on multiple MAC academic honor rolls.

Guldin has applied learnings from one sport to not only the other but also to life. “That is what is really cool about playing an individual sport. You rely only on yourself and it’s interesting the way you have to overcome the mental challenges on the golf course. Then you can take these lessons and bring them to your team sport,” Guldin shared. “That is really beneficial.”

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