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Arner Returns to International Field Hockey Competition
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            For the second time in three years, Toni Arner is representing the United States in an international field hockey tournament. Arner, a teacher at Marlborough

Toni Arner, a teacher at Marlborough Elementary School

is competing at the EXIN Masters World Cup as a member

of the U.S. Over-50 Women's Master Team.

Elementary, is currently playing in the EXIN Masters World Cup.

            Arner and her teammates on the Over-50 Women's Masters Team have combined competition and sightseeing during their time in Terrassa, Spain. The unit opened the tournament with a 2-1 victory Chile over July 28. The following day, the team dropped a 1-0 decision to Argentina. On Monday, the team continued pool play with a 2-1 loss against Ireland.

            "Our bracket is one of the toughest in the tournament," Arner wrote in a series of text messages.

            After making her initial foray into international competition in 2016 on the Over-45 team for the FIH Master's Word Cup, Arner trained seriously for a year to make another national team. This time around, with more than 200 women trying out, the head coach of Upper Perkiomen's middle school field hockey team was named to the training squad last September, and later named the first alternate. She was added to active roster when a regular member could not make the trip.

            In Spain, Arner is playing offense and came off the bench in the initial two games. Her playing time amounts to a third of the game. "I'm happy with that as offensively it takes a lot more running," she wrote, adding that she started in the loss to Ireland.

            On Tuesday, Arner's second goal in international play helped lead the Americans to a 3-2 victory over South Africa and reach the tournament's semifinal round.

            After arriving in Spain a few days early, the team held a handful of practices and scrimmages. Arner said the schedule allows for sightseeing. Initially, she went to the Dali Museum near the border with France and a monastery called Monserrat. "Just awesome," Arner wrote.

            The Spinnerstown resident said she would like to drive into France, see the Pyrenees Mountains and check out La Familia Sagrada and more.

            "I've seen so many neat things," Arner wrote over the weekend. "Hoping to get to see more." 

            A 1983 graduate of Souderton High School, Arner hasn't every stopped playing field hockey. She immediately joined Bux-Mont – a club team based at Christopher Dock High School in Towamencin – in the Philadelphia Field Hockey Association.

            "I still love it," she said two years ago.

            In her mid-30s, while raising three children, Arner competed with Kutztown University's varsity team. During those years, she considered playing for her country an impossibility.

            "I was in a different place," Arner said previously. "It was a dream."

Prior to her first international experience – in the 2016 FIH Masters World Cup in Canberra, Australia – the elementary school celebrated the accomplishment.

            "It's the most amazing thing I've ever done," she said prior to the trip. "I'm pretty proud and honored to represent my country. To think about wearing USA on my jersey, it's amazing."





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