For Keene State College first-year Hunter Arnold, the transition from high school athletics to college athletics went as smooth as possible. Arnold hails from Boxborough, Massachusetts and is studying Safety and Occupational Health at KSC.
Arnold played attack for his high school team, but the roster at KSC didn’t allow for anymore attackmen to start, so Head Coach Mark Theriault decided to try Arnold at midfield.
“He was an attack in high school, but we have our starting attackmen, so we switched him over to midfield,” Theriault said. “I knew it was important to make sure that he sees the field because he’s such a talented player.”
Arnold plays on the first line of midfield for the Owls, which relies on their chemistry to be as successful as they have been this season.
“It’s a very cohesive unit all around in every aspect,” Arnold said. “We fight for each other.”
Arnold also said that he does whatever he can to contribute to the team’s success. “I’ve had a couple big games, it’s a lot of little things,” Arnold said.
“He [Arnold] fit right in and instantly had good chemistry,” Mike Curley, a captain for the Owls, said. “He’s just a great player in general.”
Curley said that Arnold is fitting right in with his fellow midfielders, who are both returners from last year’s team, one of whom is senior Ryan Hart. Hart has been a starter for the Owls since his first-year at KSC.
Arnold is one of two short-stick midfielders, and Theriault said that Arnold really shines in this position.
“He also has a really uncanny ability to invert his man,” Theriault said.
“He’s scored a ton of goals beating his man and he wraps around the net. He gets goals from behind the net and really untraditional angles.”
In 14 games played this season, Arnold has registered 20 goals and 17 assists.
Being on the first line of midfielders as a first-year, Arnold has plenty of time and room to grow and mature into an even
better player, especially with the seniors he has surrounding him.
“He’s a pretty mild-mannered kid to start with, so he’s more of a sponge. He’s learning from them,” Theriault said.
He continued and said that Arnold is more than willing to take the initiative, which is rare in most first-years.
Theriault said that usually first-year players will take their time to figure out the way things work, but not in Arnold’s case.
While the older players have an impact on Arnold’s game, he also has impacted the other first-years on the squad.
“I think they’re all trying to be a Hunter,” Theriault said when asked about his influence on the other first-year players.
Theriault said he is excited for the future of Owls lacrosse if Arnold is in the picture. “For me as a coach, it’s really exciting, because I have three years and playoffs left with him as well,” Theriault said.
Arnold did not hesitate to compliment his teammates and their work ethic, even when referring to his own game.
When asked about his season so far, Arnold discussed his team’s undefeated LEC record so far this season, and their long-term goal of winning an LEC championship.
Arnold’s impressive play has not only gained him the respect of teammates and coaches alike, but could quite possibly land him in the position of rookie of the year for the LEC.
“There’s a pretty good chance that he could be the rookie of the year for our conference this year,” Theriault said. “The way he’s been putting up points and doing things I think he’s a great candidate for that.”
Ed Messer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org