LAURINBURG — Scotland High School senior Brenton Thomas admitted it took him a long time to grow up and find his way.
Once he did, he excelled on the field, in the pit, on the court and in the classroom.
On Monday, Brenton signed his letter of intent with the University of North Carolina Pembroke to continue his track career in the fall wearing the black and gold.
“When I took my visit with my parents it felt really comfortable. The environment was great, I loved the coaching staff, the campus and the way the track felt — it felt like home,” he said.
Brenton participates in the field events at Scotland competing in the triple jump and long jump. He isn’t ruling out getting on the track and racing though.
“We’ll just have to see when I get there,” he said.
The UNCP track teams are a NCAA Division II program that competes in the Peach Belt Conference. The conference features teams from Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. UNCP is the only school in North Carolina that is a member of the conference. Schools include Francis Marion University, Augusta University, University of North Georgia and Young Harris College.
The men’s team has competed in 12 events this season finishing second in the Peach Belt Conference Championships that were held in Pembroke last month. The Braves will compete in the NCAA Outdoor Championships on May 24-26 in Charlotte.
Brenton has competed at UNCP during his high school career because that is where the Southeastern Conference and now the Sandhills Athletic Conference championships are held each year.
After advancing to regionals as a sophomore, Brenton set his mind to becoming a force in the long and triple jump pit. In 2017, he was crowned the conference champion in the long jump.
“After my sophomore track season I went to regionals and I realized I might be good at track, so I stuck with it and ended up loving it, but basketball will always be my first love” he said. ““When I was younger that was the dream, I wanted to go to school and do some kind of athletics. I’m glad I can do it.”
The Scots senior was a three-sport athlete at Scotland playing football, basketball and running track.
Brenton started the year playing wide receiver before he was moved to corner back to help out the Scots defense. He then transitions inside to play basketball. On the court, Brenton averaged 5.1 points per game hitting 23 three-pointers during his senior campaign. He also had five steals and forced 22 turnovers.
After basketball, he moved back outdoors and got into the pit honing his triple and long jump skills. At the SAC-8 Championships, Brenton finished fourth in both events to qualify for regionals.
The senior just missed qualifying for the NCHSAA 4A state meet in the triple jump over the weekend. He finished fifth at the 4A Mid-West Regionals and only the top four advance to state.
Brenton plans to major in sociology and wants to pursue a career as a social worker or guidance counselor. The senior said the encouragement he received from his parents, Franky and Sonya Thomas, was above and beyond and he can’t wait to make them proud.
“They are extremely proud, they stand behind me no matter what I do,” he said. “I can’t do anything but be thankful for them.”
Amber Hatten-Staley can be reached at 910-506-3170 or [email protected]