Tenacious work ethic

Arnusch named 3A underclassman player of the year

Robert Galbreath
Posted 5/30/24

Lingle-Fort Laramie sophomore Anthony Arnusch received the Wyoming Coaches Association's 2024 3A underclassman of the year award following a record-breaking soccer season for the Torrington Blazers.

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Tenacious work ethic

Arnusch named 3A underclassman player of the year


LINGLE – Lingle-Fort Laramie sophomore Anthony Arnusch dedicated countless hours to improve his soccer game as a member of the Torrington High School (THS) Blazers throughout the year. 

During the spring season, Arnusch eats, breaths and sleeps soccer and the sport becomes a second full-time job in addition to school.

“I wake up at 5 o’clock every morning to work on my skills and work on dribbling,” Arnusch said. “Then I go to practice after school and work on my skills for two more hours. I stay for an hour after practice to work on all my moves.”

With five hours already carved out for soccer, Arnusch was far from calling it a day. 

In the evening, he settled in for what he called “mental time” – another hour or two spent “studying the game and studying opponents” at home.

Arnusch’s exceptional work ethic, combined with plenty of talent, is paying dividends as the athlete approaches the third year as a midfield for the Blazers. Arnusch is a two-time 3A all-state and all-conference honoree. 

The sophomore’s stats also speak for themselves. Arnusch broke the Torrington High School record for assists in a single season this spring, tallying 18. Arnusch netted 21 goals throughout the 2024 season, securing the third-highest scoring performance at THS.

Acknowledging Arnusch’s ability to coordinate attacks for the Blazers with speed and precision, the Wyoming Coaches Association took its recognition a step further this year, naming Arnusch the 3A underclassman of the year.

“It feels pretty good to get the award,” Arnusch said. “It’s nice being awarded for all the hard work I’ve put into the sport – the nonstop hours playing on the field, getting into the weight room and studying to get better.”

Developing the skillset

Arnusch kicked off his soccer career before he entered elementary school.

“I started soccer at a very young age,” Arnusch said. “When I started to walk, I was kicking a soccer ball around. We’d walk around town and I’d always be kicking a ball. Soccer was my life growing up and I had that natural ability to keep the ball on m foot.”

Arnusch joined a club soccer team from Goshen County and played for both the Wyoming and South Dakota state teams. He also snagged a spot on the roster for the Olympic Development Program.

“I was constantly playing on a team, trying to play whenever I could,” Arnusch said.

Arnusch realized from a young age that natural athletic abilities were not enough to attain his goal to “be the best soccer player I can be.” The task required significant blood, sweat and tears – hour upon hour of practice, practice, practice.

“Soccer is not something you’re going to get better at by showing up to practice for two hours during the spring,” Arnusch said. “You’ve got to work on it consistently in the on and off season.”

Arnusch credits his father for instilling in him a tenacious work ethic.

“I see my dad put in the work day in and day out,” Arnusch said. “He worked with me so much over the years and tells me to never quit and keep pushing myself.”

Arnusch also looked up to former Blazer Nathan Stitt (Class of 2018).

“I used to go to all of (Stitt’s) games and watch how he played,” Arnusch said.

Then there is Portuguese global soccer phenom Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I always wanted to be like (Ronaldo) and play like him,” Arnusch added.

Battling back

The Blazers finished the 2024 regular season with a 15-3 overall record and a nearly undefeated 9-1 conference record.

Torrington’s 3-2 overtime victory against Worland on April 12 stood out as a particularly memorable game.

“One of our biggest highlights was being the first 3A team to beat Worland since 2017,” Arnusch said. “It felt pretty good.”

Arnusch netted two goals against Worland to tie the game, 2-2, at the end of regulation. The Blazers prevailed against the Warriors in the overtime shootout, 6-5, including a penalty kick by Arnusch.

“Earlier in the game, we were down 2-0, but we kept fighting,” Arnusch added. “We were able to capitalize on our opportunities and take them to penalties. We knew we were solid in penalties, so we knew that we could win that game.”

Torrington’s victory against Worland demonstrated the Blazers’ ability to battle back from a setback that served them well throughout the season.

“This year, we were always down one, two points early in the game,” Arnusch said. “We learned how to play from behind and we were able to fight back. We had that fight in us to keep going to the very end – it was an all-around team effort.”

Arnusch often provided the energy on the pitch to rally the Blazers when the going got tough.

“I was kind of our guy to get things going, even if we were down,” Arnusch said. “I would say, ‘Come on. We’ll fight back. We’ve been through worse.’”

Arnusch excelled as a midfielder for Torrington, managing to be at the right place at the right time as a formidable force on the Blazer offense.

“I was able to get (the ball) in the dangerous areas and find teammates in front of the box,” Arnusch said. “For scoring, it was the ability to dribble and penetrate the defense and just being able to get inside.”

Arnusch specialized in delivering particularly powerful penalty kicks – a skill that took untold hours to perfect.

“I stayed after practice to get better at penalty kicks and that became a huge part of my game,” Arnusch said.

Arnusch plans to return to the pitch for the Blazers in 2025. The sky is the limit for Arnusch as far as soccer is concerned with two years of high school remaining.

“My goal is to get a better place at state next year,” Arnusch said. “Third was pretty good, but I want to help win a championship for the first time in the team’s history. I also want to work on my game and being a better player, personally.”

Arnusch is a multisport athlete and also looks forward to the Lingle-Fort Laramie Doggers football and basketball seasons, although soccer remains his favorite sport, “by far.”

Arnusch thanked his father for years of encouragement and his mother for “being there to support me.”

Arnusch also gave a shoutout to teammate and junior Kaiden Riggs.

“Kaiden pushes me day in and day out in practice and he makes me the player I am today.”