By UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATIONS
FHSU men’s soccer starting forward Blake Arndt will cross the commencement stage this week, graduating with a degree in Business Management from Fort Hays State University’s Werth College of Business and Entrepreneurship.
While most seniors are moving on to graduate school or into the workforce, Arndt will return after graduation to complete additional certifications and play one more season with the FHSU men’s soccer team.
“I knew I had the extra year of eligibility because of COVID, but I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do after graduation,” Arndt said. He had considered moving on to a graduate program and playing somewhere else for his final season. “I’m excited it worked out, and I will get to finish up here at Fort Hays State.”
This year Arndt led the Tigers in goals scored with 6 in the fall season. Arndt has 24 goals and 7 assists over three seasons at Fort Hays State. Once again, he was selected by the United Soccer Coaches and the D2CCA for the All-Central Region Team and the All-GAC/MIAA First Team for the third year in a row. His other honors while at FHSU include being the 2020/21 GAC/MIAA New Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year.
Arndt didn’t start his college soccer career as a Tiger. He transferred to FHSU after a year and a half of playing Division 1 soccer at the University of Central Arkansas.
“I had a nice scholarship to go to Arkansas and wanted to like it there,” Arndt said. “But I realized by the end of the second season that it just wasn’t working out for me.”
Luckily, Arndt had a friend and former teammate of ten years from Wichita, Alec Bevis, who was already playing at FHSU and talked Arndt into trying out for the team.
“I called up Alec and asked him about Hays,” Arndt recalled. “He told me that Hays was great and said I needed to come check it out.”
It didn’t take him long to realize that FHSU was special and that he wanted to make the switch.
“Hays is such a great place to live,” Arndt said. “Everyone in town and on campus is so friendly, I have made great friends on the team and in my classes, and some of my best friends from home were already here. I could tell right away that Hays was the place for me.”
Arndt found success not only on the soccer field but also in the business management program.
“I feel like the business management program has taught me a lot not only about the technical aspects of the field, but the courses have helped me develop in many ways. The professors have helped me become a better communicator; through course presentations, in writing and email, I am much more comfortable speaking than I was at the start of my program,” Arndt said.
While he found all of his coursework and his professors helpful and encouraging, Arndt had high praise for one, Dr. Robert Lloyd. Discussion-based courses, and courses where students were asked to share their ideas as part of the learning process, had the most appeal.
“Dr. Lloyd is one of my favorite professors,” Arndt said. “Having classes where we were expected to give PowerPoint presentations over a problem or question connected to the current course topic, and doing this every couple of weeks really helped with my public speaking.”
Arndt hopes to take what he has learned in his business management program and build on that. He is looking to add some certifications through the Health and Human Performance department before going on to study sports management.
“I’ve had such a great time and made so many friends at Fort Hays State,” Arndt said. “The soccer team has been so supportive, like a group of brothers.”
The friendships Arndt made at FHSU are clearly important to him and are one of the things he will miss most once he is finished. He hopes to be able to travel and visit some of the soccer players from other countries once he has time.
“I’ve met a lot of cool people here at FHSU, and being on the soccer team has allowed me to meet people from all around the world,” Arndt said. “I’ve got friends from Chile, Japan, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Greece, everywhere. It would be great to just go visit them.”