SOUTHERN PINES — The Fighting Scots wrestling team wrapped up their season on Saturday at the 4A East Regional tournament at Pinecrest High School.
The Scots had six wrestlers qualify for the tournament, but none were able to advance to the state level after two days of wrestling. The young team struggled in the first round as juniors Dakota McLean and Deante Harrington were the only two to remain in the winners bracket. McLean picked up a pinfall victory over Ashley High School’s Jon-Luke Horne at 2:12 in his 152-pound bout.
McLean dropped in the consolation bracket after losing an 11-7 decision match to Cape Fear’s Jared Barbour. The Scots junior went up against Seventy-First’s Yomar Machin and quickly found himself at a disadvantage. McLean was forced to use an injury timeout because Machin pulled on his shoulder and popped it out of place. McLean winced in pain, but after being looked over by a trainer was cleared to finish the match. Trying to protect his shoulder, McLean wanted to end the match quickly and picked up the 6-4 decision victory.
The Scots junior then took on a familiar opponent in Lumberton’s Terrell Soler. The two had several good matches during the season and Saturday was no different. McLean got out to an early lead, but Soler was able to hang around and forced the Scots leading wrestler to earn his win. McLean was able to hold of Soler for the 5-4 win to advance to Saturday’s consolation semi-finals.
McLean found himself facing off with D.H. Conley’s Jarod Ruffing, the junior had a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. Ruffing got his shots in during the second period to take a 2-1 lead before getting McLean up on his shoulder with his feet in the air for the pinfall with 21 seconds left in the period.
Harrington moved ahead in the winner’s bracket in the 220-pound bracket with a first-round bye before getting pinned by Seventy-First’s Frankie Vega at the 2:44 mark. After the loss, Harrington quickly bounced back on Saturday with a pinfall over Hoggard’s Eslyn Gonzalez-Bautis in the first 52 seconds of their match. Harrington then took on Ashley’s Elijah Robinson in the third round. Harrington started the match strong with an early take down but Robinson managed to jump on top of Harrington and picked up the pinfall win at the one-minute mark.
The other four Scots wrestlers freshmen Seth English (113) and Ethan Tone (132) and sophomores Jeremiah McCrimmon (160) and Quazay Pearson (132) all fell in their first-round matches, but some found success in the consolation bracket.
English, Pearson and Tone all lost their first matches by pinfall and McCrimmon lost in a tech fall, 22-7 to Cape Fear’s Joey Saldana. After the loss, McCrimmon was able to pick up a 7-2 decision win over South View’s Ryder Keeny to advance to the third round of consolation matches. With 15 seconds left in his third round match, McCrimmon was ahead of Richmond’s Kemoni Styles, 9-8. It looked like McCrimmon was going to pick up the win, but out of nowhere Styles managed to pin him for the victory.
In the 113-pound bracket, English earned a bye in the first round of consolation matches before pinning New Hanover’s Daniel William at the 2:41 mark. The Scots freshman then faced off with South View’s Hunter Hanson in the next round. English was disqualified from the match and Hanson was awarded the win after English was called for locking his hands, which is a technical violation in wrestling. After being whistled for the violation three times the match was stopped and English was disqualified.
Pearson had a tough go in his 126-pound weight class, not advancing to the second day of competition. Pearson was pinned in his first match with nine seconds left by Ashley’s Jaske Stewart. Pearson’s luck didn’t improve in the second round as he was pinned in the first period of his match against Jack Britt’s Caleb Ling.
The Scots other freshman wrestler, Tone, fared somewhat better in the consolation bracket of the 132-pound weight class. After getting pinned by Lumberton’s Yakemiean Johnson, the eventual winner of the weight class, at 1:24 Tone bounced back with a major decision victory over D.H. Conley’s Michael James, 15-1.
Tone earned a forfeit victory over Richmond’s Tommy Shelton to advance to the third round of consolation matches. The Scots freshman then took on South View’s Dustin Eldridge, the two were evenly matched through the first period, but Eldridge overpowered Tone to pick up the pinfall at 2:13.
It’s the first time in three years at the Scots wrestling team hasn’t sent a wrestler to the 4A state tournament. Head coach Rangel Moore is confident his young team will make waves next season as they return 12 of their 14 wrestlers.
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.