Smithtown East’s Gerard Arceri owns the center circle and his 83-percent faceoff win percentage is proof.

Being the best, however, does not come without tireless dedication and countless hours in the gym for Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.

“During the offseason I am in the gym at 5 a.m. before school begins, attempting to build up my strength and increase my speed,” Arceri said.

In addition to being a gym rat, Arceri spends time in the offseason training with Lizards midfielder Greg Gurenlian at the Faceoff Academy in Syosset. Gurenlian, who set the Major League Lacrosse single-season faceoff win percentage record with 73.1 percent, said of Arceri, “He is a rare combination of a person. It is hard to find someone that has such a gifted natural ability and is also the hardest working guy in the room.”

Smithtown East coach Jason Lambert believes Arceri has potential to be even better than last year.

“He is bigger and stronger and has really worked on being able to protect the ball after faceoffs,” Lambert said. His skill set is at a higher level than anyone I have ever coached.”

A typical day during the season for Arceri consists of a three-hour team practice, followed by another hour of strength and agility work at his local gym. On most nights, Arceri said that he does not arrive home until 8 p.m.

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“He works his tail off, he trains year round and puts a ton of time, energy, and effort into his craft,” Lambert said.

Early in to the season, Arceri is on pace to win 87 percent of faceoffs.

Arceri won 28 of 35 faceoffs Saturday in the season opener against Massapequa. He followed that performance by winning 25 out of the 26 faceoffs he took Tuesday against Half Hollow Hills East.

“I worked harder this past offseason than ever before,” said Arceri, who is committed to Penn State. “Every time I step onto the field I know that my opponents are going to give me their best effort. Knowing that I am going to get their best has made me work twice as hard. I want to be the best player from the Island and the best in the entire country.”