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This is the second in a series of profiles on members of the 2017 induction class of the Fike High Athletic Hall of Fame that will be enshrined Oct. 21 in a ceremony at the school.
Stuart Walston was a member of Fike High’s track and wrestling teams in the 1ate 1960s but that’s not how he’ll be remembered as a member of the school’s athletic hall of fame 2017 induction class.
Instead, Walston’s well-deserved claim to fame will be as an integral component of two of Fike’s three consecutive state 4-A championship teams. As the inside linebacker responsible for calling the plays for head coach Henry Trevathan’s 4-4 defenses in 1968 and 1969, Walston, a 1970 Fike graduate, was an indispensable part of the Cyclones’ legendary championship run. Despite standing just under 6-foot-0 and weighing less than 190 pounds, Walston, who rose through the ranks first at Charles L. Coon Junior High and then with the Fike junior varsity team, epitomized the tough-as-nails Cyclone that Trevathan prized in an era that defense definitely won championships.
Walston wouldn’t complain when his head coach furiously broke a clipboard over his helmet as the Fike players came off the field during a loss to Winston-Salem Reynolds in the 1968 season opener — one of just two times Walston and his classmates would suffer defeat.
As one of the Cyclones co-captains in 1969, Walston didn’t back down from a knee injury in the regular season and started every postseason game game, heavily taped.
Walston, who will join 13 of his former teammates in the Fike Athletic Hall of Fame, was the linchpin of Fike’s stirring come-from-behind 21-7 victory over archnemesis Durham in the 1968 state 4-A semifinals. That win, against a team that had beaten the Cyclones during the regular season, allowed them to seize state title No. 2. Fike was rarely challenged as it stormed to a third straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association 4-A championship — becoming the first school to do so — in unbeaten fashion Walston’s senior season in 1969.
“This is truly an honor to be inducted into this hall of fame,” Walston said. “I didn’t achieve any real accolades, certainly not anything that would cause me to be recognized like this. That is why I really do feel like I represent the teams that I played on, especially the 1969 team and all of those players I represented as a captain, and the commitment that they had.”