Orange’s Kruse, Cedar Ridge’s Oguntoyinbo named All-Americans

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Updated: August 3, 2022

Collectively, last spring may have been the greatest season in the history of Hillsborough lacrosse.

For the first time ever, Orange hosted the 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional title game after winning its second consecutive conference championship. At Cedar Ridge, the Red Wolves won a state playoff game for the first time since 2017, when they won the Eastern Regional Championship. Under first year head coach Cole Churchill, the Red Wolves finished third in the Mid-Carolina Conference.

Now, the top scorers from each of the two teams have been named All-Americans by USA Lacrosse.

Orange sophomore Connor Kruse and Cedar Ridge’s Roman Oguntoyinbo, who graduated in June, received the honors following a vote by coaches in the geographic region. Over 500 players from across the country earn All-American status. Kruse and Oguntoyinbo, who both played for the Carolina Hilltoppers club lacrosse program, were among eleven players from North Carolina public schools named All-Americans.

Kruse, who was named the Mid-Carolina Player of the Year in July, set school records with 77 goals and 136 points in 2022. He led the most successful team in school history, which set a new mark for wins in a season (17), conference wins (11) and winning percentage (.850). The Panthers reached the state semifinals for the first time ever.

Kruse, the son of former UNC and Johns Hopkins midfielder Travis Kruse, opened the season with hat tricks in each of Orange’s opening three games. He scored five goals in a season-opening 19-5 win over Vance Charter, then scored another five goals in a 14-11 win over East Chapel Hill at Dave Thaden Stadium in Chapel Hill. It was Orange’s first-ever win over the Wildcats, a traditional power that Orange head coach Chandler Zirkle played for in high school.

Kruse had a career-high seven goals against South Brunswick in the opening round of the 3A/2A/1A State Playoffs on May 5. He followed with four goals in an 17-10 victory against Walter Williams.

Oguntoyinbo finished his Cedar Ridge career scoring 78 goals, the most in school history for a single season. It was the only time in his high school career where Oguntoyinbo played a full season after the pandemic cut the 2020 season short after just three games. In 2021, Oguntoyinbo scored 26 goals in a season limited to nine games.

In his final game inside Red Wolves Stadium, Oguntoyinbo scored a career-high nine goals as the Red Wolves rolled past Western Alamance 18-5 in the second round of the state playoffs. In his final game, Oguntoyinbo scored two goals and two assists against First Flight, who would go on to win the Eastern Regional Championship.

Oguntoyinbo had 13 hat tricks in the 2022 season. He opened the campaign with four goals in a 10-8 win over Jordan at Claude Currie Stadium in Durham on March 1. Two nights later, Oguntoyinbo scored a hat trick in a 6-4 victory over J.H. Rose in Greenville.

For his career, Oguntoyinbo scored 119 goals and 214 points. If he had had standard-length sophomore and junior seasons, he likely would have broken the career school record of 146 goals and 245 points set by Sean Tobin, who played from 2013-2017. Tobin and Jack Widman (59 goals in 2017) was the 1-2 scoring punch that led the 2017 Cedar Ridge team to the 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional Championship, still the only lacrosse team from Hillsborough to reach the state championship game.

Oguntoyinbo earned an invitation to play in the Bull City All-Star Game at Koskinen Stadium at Duke University in June. After graduating from Cedar Ridge, his family moved to Andover, Massachusetts this summer. Roman will play for Northfield Mount Herman Prep in Gill, Massachusetts for a season of postgraduate lacrosse this winter. His brother Leo, who played goalkeeper and wrestled at Cedar Ridge during his freshman year in 2021-2022, is now at Phillips Academy in Andover, MA.

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