HOPE MILLS — Scotland High School will send a pair of wrestlers to this weekend’s North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4A wrestling championships.
Willis Beniot and Zitemus Henderson qualified to compete in the state tournament after putting on strong performances in last weekend’s NCHSAA 4A East Regional at Jack Britt High School. Beniot captured the 152-pound championship, and Henderson placed third in the 126-pound bracket.
Beniot, who improved to 14-0 after the tournament, defeated New Bern’s Nick Morris in a thrilling sudden-victory match, winning 9-7 in the championship bout. He advanced to the final round with a victory by pinfall in his opening match followed by two technical fall wins.
Henderson’s bid for the title came to an early end when he was pinned by Laney’s Cael Willis in the quarterfinals, but the senior bounced back with a strong finish to the tourney, winning his next four matches. Henderson defeated New Bern’s Jacob Smith by 15-4 major decision in the third-place tilt. The senior is set to enter the state tournament with a 14-1 mark.
The duo of Beniot and Henderson helped the Scots finish with 56 team points, which placed Scotland in a tie for eighth-place with Richmond Senior.
21 schools competed at the East Regional, and Jack Britt took home first place with 190 points. New Bern was the runner-up with 177 points, and Laney placed third with 167.5 points.
Elsewhere in the Southeastern Conference, Lumberton was 11th with 50.5 points, and Purnell Swett came in 13th with 47 points. Hoke rounded out the SEC schools in 17th-place with 28 points.
At 138 pounds, Ethan Locklear was pinned by New Hanover’s Lawrence Cuba in the opening round. After advancing through the consolation bracket when his opponent, New Bern’s Hunter Thome, forfeited due to injury, Locklear’s tourney run ended when he was defeated by Pinecrest’s Adam Robins by major decision.
Dakota McLean (145 pounds) advanced to the quarterfinals of his bracket but was pinned by Oscar Ybarra of Pinecrest. McLean came back to score a pinfall win over Hoke County’s Trent Lee, but he was eliminated after dropping a 3-2 decision to eventual third-place winner Nick White of Jack Britt.
Deandre Benoit (160 pounds), Myzhene Brown (170) and Johnaton Carmichael (285) also competed at regionals for the Scots, going 0-2 during the tourney.
The 4A first round begins Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro.
Logan Martinez can be reached at 910-506-3170. Follow him on Twitter @L_Martinez13.