Gumaro Benitez has developed as a tennis player very quickly. In less than three years playing the game at Harnett Central, he is ready to take the next step and move to the collegiate level at Pfeiffer.
A signing ceremony was held Wednesday in the Central media center.
Benitez, a goalie, also aspires to play soccer for the Falcons.
“I told him that playing two sports is going to be really tough, not only physically but academically,” said Trojans tennis coach Jay James. “He really buckled down on his grades his last semester. He’s got to continue that as he goes to college.”
Pfeiffer was 5-4 in tennis last season. The Falcons are coached by Justin Fainter.
“Coach Fainter said that (Gumaro) had very nice volley skills, good doubles skills and that’s very rare,” James said. “He said that most kids he has recruited are singles specialists. … He said he can put Gumaro with anybody and feel like that he can be successful.”
Benitez focused exclusively on tennis as a senior after compiling a 2.8 goals against average as a junior in soccer.
Fainter also has recruited Central’s Brittany Mills, who plans to play basketball and tennis at Pfeiffer. James has been actively involved in working to get Trojan tennis players to the next level. Anna Vreeling of the Trojans is heading to Hollins University in Roanoke, Va., to play tennis. Central senior Francisco Urieta is considering joining Benitez, his doubles partner, at Pfeiffer.
Urieta played No. 2 in singles and Benitez was No. 4 as Central went 8-4 in 2021.
Dan Cook, in the early 1990s, is thought to be the last Central tennis player to continue with the sport in college.
“It’s nice to play at a college level,” said Benitez, who wants to study Biology. “I’m going to miss playing here. Hopefully, I don’t do bad over there. I’m nervous. It’s far from home.”
The Pfeiffer campus is between Charlotte and Greensboro.
“The campus is nice,” Benitez said.