LAURINBURG — Scotland coach Nicky Kee has accepted the fact that his team will most likely lose most overall team matches due to a lack of wrestlers, so he is concentrating on the individual aspect of the sport.
Scotland has a small roster, so Kee’s team often loses on total points due to several forfeits. That was the case Wednesday as they lost 45-30 to Lumberton and 48- 30 to Hoke County. However, Kee said he was pleased with the way most of his wrestlers fought.
“Anytime we have a dual meet we’re kind of expected to lose. We’re going to lose the duals but win our individual matches. Our core kids, Afiz (Lateef) Jessi (Kee) and Zitemus Henderson, all those are almost guaranteed wins in duals,” Kee said. “So I’ve come to accept that fact. I still recruit trying to build a team, but when it comes to duals we just go out there and wrestle.”
Lateef did not see any action on Wednesday as neither opponent had a wrestler in his 126-pound weight class, but Kee and Henderson both got to grapple against Hoke after winning on forfeits against Lumberton. Kee took on Mike Ramos and controlled the entire match, using her strength to move the Hoke County wrestler around until she was able to pin him and earn Scotland six points.
Henderson faced Hoke’s Paul Armstrong and won on a pin. Willis Benoit also picked up points for Scotland when he pinned Amer Shakir, and J’Quan Breeden also earned a pin. Heavyweight Jalex Scott was pinned by Hoke’s LaQuest Peterkin, and lost 4-3 to Lumberton’s Josh Strickland. Breeden also suffered a pin at the hands of Lumberton’s Jesse Oliver, while Benoit pinned Terrell Soler of Lumberton in the third round of the first match.
Nicky Kee said his wrestlers have been having good seasons, and the goal of reaching the state championship is still in reach for some of them.
“Right now three guys — Afiz, Willis and Zitemus — are ranked in the top four in the region. That’s not a guarantee that three are going to state but that’s a sign that we are doing something right,” Kee said. “We don’t worry about duals. It’s all about individuals right now. That’s where I push in our practice just to get better and work on your individual record.”