Cary News: Sports

Five enter Cary High Sports Hall of Fame

Cary’s Melissa Council, center, leads Southeast Raleigh’s Jasmine Burch, left, and Green Hope’s Althea Baily, right, in the girls 100 high hurdles competition on April 5, 2003 at the Wake County Track and Field Championships held at Cary High School. Council won three state championships in 2003 for Cary High.
Cary’s Melissa Council, center, leads Southeast Raleigh’s Jasmine Burch, left, and Green Hope’s Althea Baily, right, in the girls 100 high hurdles competition on April 5, 2003 at the Wake County Track and Field Championships held at Cary High School. Council won three state championships in 2003 for Cary High. The News & Observer 2003 File Photo

State champions lead the way for this year’s Cary High Sports Hall of Fame class.

Five individuals combined for six individual state titles for the Imps in their time at Cary. The class also includes an All-South soccer player and a former NFL offensive lineman.

Melissa Council Howald, Kirk Hudgins, Scott Kooistra, Mike Robertson and Anthony Walton will be inducted at halftime of Friday’s home football contest against Green Hope.

Melissa Council Howald: Melissa Council (class of 2004) lit up the state track meet her junior year at Cary.

She was the 2003 4A MVP after winning N.C. High School Athletic Association state titles in the long jump, 300 hurdles and 200 meter dash. She also held conference records in those three events.

Council was The News & Observer’s female athlete of the year in 2003, and she was a two-time conference MVP. She won eight conference titles and four regional titles during her sophomore and junior years.

Council also played basketball for Cary. She went on to compete for Wake Forest University in track and field where she was all-ACC in two events.

Kirk Hudgins: Kirk Hudgins (class of 2006) wasn’t just an all-state soccer player at Cary High, he was one of few North Carolina high school players to be named All-South by the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association.

During his years on the soccer team, Cary went 71-18-8 overall with a 42-9-1 record in conference play. The Imps won two conference titles as Hudgins scored 26 goals and notched 30 assists.

Hudgins was also a two-time conference champion in the pole vault.

He went on to play four seasons at UNC-Wilmington, starting all but a handful of games.

Scott Kooistra: Scott Kooistra (class of 1999) had the longest NFL career of any former Imp. He played 84 games in nine seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens before a neck injury ended his playing days in the preseason with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.

At Cary, Kooistra started on the offensive and defensive lines in his final two years.

As a senior he had 110 tackles and eight sacks, scored a touchdown on a blocked punt and played in the N.C. Coaches Association’s East-West All-Star Game.

Kooistra went on to start three seasons at N.C. State, where he was team captain on the 2002 team that won a school-record 11 games.

Mike Robertson: It’s hard to have done more than Mike Robertson (class of 1999) did as a wrestler in 1998.

The Cary wrestler went undefeated – a perfect 51-0 – during his senior year en route to a state championship in the 103-pound class. He was named the NCHSAA’s most outstanding wrestler in the 4A championships.

Robertson was a national runner-up that year in one tournament and was third in the freestyle nationals. Both finishes gave him All-American honors.

He finished his Cary career with more than 125 victories and went on to wrestle at UNC-Pembroke.

Anthony Walton: Known as “PhatCat” by many, Walton (class of 1998) is one of about eight Cary wrestlers who can say they’ve won more than one state title.

As a junior, Walton won the 1997 145-pound championship, and he defended that title as a senior in 1998. He is also one of a handful of Cary wrestlers who were four-time state qualifiers or a three-time regional champion.

Walton was 137-23 in his four years at Cary.

He also played football for the Imps, starting at tailback and cornerback for three seasons.

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