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More than 2,800 miles separate Manasquan (N.J.) and St. Margaret's Episcopal (Calif.), but the two coastal schools were joined over 24 hours by two players becoming their respective state's first.
It started on Tuesday, May 7 when Canyon Birch scored seven goals to become New Jersey's all-time goal leader with 363 and breaking a record that stood for 17 years. Over the past week, the Penn State commit also became the first player in state history to score at least 500 career points, becoming the 23rd-known player to reach that mark.
One day later on May 8, Kevin Groeninger tallied three assists and two goals in the Orange County Championship game to surpass 400 career points, becoming the first person in California history to reach that mark. He became the 100th-known player to reach 400 career points*.
"It's surreal. When I started high school I was just a freshman playing attack with two senior leaders," Groeninger told LaxRecords.com earlier this season. They helped mentor me," Groeninger said. "After all these years, it's surreal to think that I have a shot at it. My teammates have helped me so much."
It's not that uncommon for state No. 1s to change hands in multiple states in the same year. Last year, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, and Virginia all had new scoring leaders by seasons end. But it is rare for two states to get a player to become the first to break a new century mark in the same week. Since LaxRecords has been tracking this information over the last five years, such an achievement has never been reported.
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Birch and Groeninger have gotten to their career marks in different ways.
Birch is one of the more prolific scorers in lacrosse history. He is already in the Top 5 all-time and with at least one game to go, and possibly a few playoff games, Birch has the potential to pass Connor Fields (Bishop Timon-St. Jude) and Bryce Clay (Forest Hills Central) on the list to become Top 3.
"I'm more concerned about our team goals and leaving Manasquan as the best lacrosse team to ever play in the Shore Conference," Birch said in an earlier interview with LaxRecords.com. "I want to raise the bar for all our younger Manasquan players coming up."
Groeninger's skills are more balanced. With one game remaining on the season, the Bryant commit has 202 career goals and 202 career assists. In both 2017 and 2018, the midfielder had only one more goal than assist. This season, he has 56 goals and 51 assists.
Birch and Groeninger will be separated by only 523 miles starting next season as both players head off to their respective colleges.
*Ben Hull from Kennesaw Mountain (Ga.) was reported to have reached 400 career points last week, but season totals have yet to be submitted and verified.
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