Connor Kruse has been setting records and milestones even before he started playing lacrosse at Orange.

In his last middle school game, he scored a goal right off the faceoff in a blowout win at Roxboro Community School. That was the final game before the pandemic set in, leading to middle school athletics being shut down for nearly 18 months.

No one knew it at the time, but it was also the final game in the long, storied athletic history of Stanford Chargers athletics before the name of the school was changed. It would be rebranded Orange Middle School in February 2021.

Kruse is now a senior and he owns almost every offensive record in the Orange lacrosse record book. On Monday night, he entered his name in a national record book.

Kruse tied the American record for most assists in a game with 16 in Orange’s 18-5 win over Southern Alamance at Redmond Stadium in Graham. The only other high school player in American high school history to have 16 assists in a game is Ryan Stadelmaier of Midland-Dow High in Michigan. In 2021, Stadlemaier had 16 assists against Linden High on May 20, 2022.

Stadelmaier is now playing lacrosse at Air Force, a member of the Division I Atlantic Sun Conference.

Kruse, the son of former North Carolina and Johns Hopkins lacrosse player Travis Kruse, became the first Orange lacrosse player to surpass 400 points in his career.

Last week, Kruse became the first Orange player to reach 200 career assists in a 14-1 win over Northwood at Auman Stadium in Hillsborough. Kruse’s feed to Gray Crabtree with 2:07 remaining in the second quarter put the Panthers ahead 7-0 and earned him another milestone in Orange history. Kruse finished the night with one goal and three assists.

“I’ve played with a lot of guys here who have done some great things,” Kruse said after last Thursday’s win over the Chargers. “There’s a lot of guys who have contributed to that. Ryan Merrill (who graduated in 2022) all the way to today with Brett (Clark) and Brandon Williams, there’s just a lot of guys who have helped me get to that point. I’d just like to thank them for helping me.”

Kruse also owns the Orange record for 170 goals coming into this season.

Kruse is after more than just records in his final games at Orange. The Panthers are 10-0, 7-0 in the Mid-Carolina Conference. Kruse was a member of the first Orange lacrosse team to win a conference championship in 2021. Since then, Orange has added two more league titles to its collection and has hosted the 3A/2A/1A Eastern Regional championship game each of the last two years.

Now, Kruse is hunting for a regional championship. It appeared that last year would be Orange’s time when they faced Northwood at Auman Stadium, a team the Panthers had defeated five straight times. But the Chargers came away with a 10-8 victory in Hillsborough.

Under head coach Chandler Zirkle, the Panthers are off to its best start in team history. They have wins over 4A teams Apex, Pinecrest and Jordan.

“Those 4A games at the beginning of the year helped us,” Kruse said. “We’re just focused on trying to get better every day.”

The win over Southern Alamance on Monday night ended a stretch of four games over six days for the Panthers. On Friday night, Orange defeated Western Alamance 17-5 at Primm Stadium in Elon. Kruse finished with six goals and three assists. Clark came away with four goals and one assist.

Last December, Kruse officially signed to play with Lenoir-Rhyne, which won the Division II national championship last year. The Bears defeated Mercyhurst 20-5 in Philadelphia to win the first national championship in team history.

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