Omar Castruita, the Boulder standout who took the area and state by storm with skills beyond his years, added to his glossy soccer resume in December.
The Boulder star, and also Centaurus' Christian Nunez, found themselves on a short list of the best high school soccer players in the nation this past year.
Castruita, the Panthers' all-time leader in goals and assists, was Colorado's lone representative named to High School All-American Game, while Nunez was the only player from the state named to the Allstate's first-ever All-American list.
Castruita showed off his fancy footwork and high soccer IQ at the East-vs.-West Game in Winter Park, Florida on Dec. 1. He was named one of the best 11 players by Top Drawer Soccer, which picked the top performers from the game based on recommendations from the two coaching staffs.
Said Top Drawer writer Sheldon Shealer, "While he did not factor in the scoring, he was exceptionally dangerous in the attack."
Castruita primarily played the midfield in high school but excelled at the wing position for the West team in its 4-3 loss. The senior said the game featured more talent on the field than he's ever played with in his life.
"The front three forwards from the East team were insane," he revealed.
During the season, Castruita suffered a hamstring injury that cost him eight games. He returned for Boulder's semifinal against Grandview on Nov. 7 — a game it lost 2-0 in icy conditions in Parker.
The 2017 BoCoPreps.com player of the year finished his career with 40 goals and 53 assists.
"He elevates everybody," Boulder coach Hardy Kalisher said of his top player during the season. "It's not just that he's a good player, the players around him get better as well. He creates opportunities that other players at his age just don't see."
Fairview's Shane O'Neill participated in the All-American Game back in 2011, and overall just six boys from Colorado have participated in the game since.
Nunez, meanwhile, was one of 150 juniors named to the Allstate All-American list and could be invited to the Allstate All-American Cup at the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in Orlando. That roster was announced on MaxPreps.com back on December 5.
The junior scored 15 goals for a second straight season as the Warriors finished 10-6. Nunez and junior teammate Fernando Ruiz — arguably the best scoring duo in the state — led the way for the Warriors and have posted 74 goals and 41 assists over the last two seasons.
Nunez didn't forget his teammate's importance when given the honor.
"We are really close friends off the field and when we play on the field we still stick together," Nunez said. "I give him the ball, he gives me the ball back — it works out just fine."
Castruita said is undecided on where he'll play soccer next. Nunez is slated to return to Centaurus for his senior season.
Brent W. New: firstname.lastname@example.org and @brentwnew