Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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Versailles’ Carson Bey and New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel have been chosen as the 2022 Press Pros sponsors’ scholar-athlete award winners, and their case for consideration was hard to ignore.

It’s hard to argue that any two area athletes had more memorable senior seasons, accomplished more, and earned more respect from teammates and opponents alike than Versailles High School’s Carson Bey and New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel.  To crown their busy and productive year, they’ve been chosen as the Press Pros sponsors’ Scholar-Athlete Award winners for 2021-’22.

Carson Bey is a three-sport participant for the Tigers – football, wrestling, and baseball – but gained the most recognition for being the quarterback on the Tigers’ 2021 OHSAA Division V state championship team in football.  It was the Tigers’ football first title since the Al Hetrick era, in 2003, and most who followed that team acknowledged that for his leadership, competitiveness, character and experience, Carson Bey was an indispensable figure in their success.

For the regular season, he rushed for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns, and threw for 1,100 more yards and another nine scores.  In their Div. V title game with defending champion Kirtland, he rushed for another 86 yards and 1 touchdown, and threw for 129 yards and another touchdown in the Tigers’ 20-16 win

He balanced his leadership in competition with that in the classroom, ranking 14th in his class, compiling a 3.95 GPA, and scoring 29 on the ACT.  His next challenge will be to succeed as an architecture major at Ohio State in the fall.

Carson Bey led Versailles to its first OHSAA football title since 2003. His teammates call him ‘Pizza’. He always delivers.

In his personal essay, Bey wrote of the importance of representing yourself and your team on the field and in the classroom with dignity, respect, and leadership.

“I felt like my sports teams, and classmates, looked to me as a leader.  I have dedicated myself to perform at an elevated level in both.”

The numbers bear him out, as well as his list of post-season accolades:  1st Team All MAC defense…Southwest District Defensive Player of The Year…and Div. V All Ohio Co-Defensive Player of The Year.

As a side note, we discovered during the year that his teammates and friends call him ‘Pizza’.  “Why”, we asked?

Because he always delivers…was the answer!

New Knoxville’s Ellie Gabel becomes the first from her school to be selected for the Press Pros sponsors’ honor.

A two-sport standout in both volleyball and basketball, she helped lead the Rangers to the Division IV OHSAA volleyball title in November, then nearly pulled off the competitive perfecta as a member of the Division IV state runners-up in Division IV in basketball, in March.  One of a remarkable group of all seniors to play both, she credited their small community togetherness and friendship since elementary school as a big factor in their success.  Their win over MAC rival in the Div. IV title game stands as the first volleyball championship in the history of the school.

In basketball she averaged 13.5 points per game during the Rangers’ 20-2 season, and her outside shooting was a prominent factor in their perfect 9-0 conference mark…again as part of a senior-group that impressed for their ability to be more than just 20 win basketball team.  Teammates and foes alike were known to single out Gabel for her selflessness, and attitude for caring about others.  It’s not surprising, then, to learn that she plans on attending Tiffin University in the fall to major in Special Education, her next step in caring about others.

What Ellie Gabel (center) has learned from her high school experience:  Take nothing for granted…one day at a time…and spend time with the people you love.

From her personal essay: “We played through the tragedy of losing our coach’s husband the week of the state finals.  Everything inside of me broke.  I fell to my knees when I heard the news, and just cried.  Our hearts hurt for Meg and her daughter, Bradie.  So we decided to come together as a team and play to bring joy and some light to them…and our hurting community.”

“Losing to Waterford in the state finals (basketball) hurt so bad because we had worked so hard, came so close, and lost.  It was the last time to wear a Ranger jersey…the last time playing with my dad…and the last game for our coach, Tim Hegemier.  We wanted to win for him.  It’s a feeling that I’ll never forget.

“Here’s what I took away from these past two seasons (volleyball and basketball):  Never take anything for granted…Take one day at a time…Live in the moment…Spend time with the people you love.”

Recipients’ applications are ranked by panel of independent retired teachers and guidance counselors, based on grade point average, ACT/SAT score, athletic accomplishment, and personal essay.  Carson Bey and Ellie Gabel will each receive the Stan Wilker Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $2,500 to help further their academic pursuits this fall.  The Press Pros sponsors MAC scholar-athlete awards are made possible by the following area companies and contributing sponsors:

Lefeld Welding Supply (Coldwater), Wagner’s IGA (Minster), Edward Jones Investments (Andrew Stewart, Sidney), Midmark Corporation (Versailles), Keyhole Pizza (Newport), McSobers (Coldwater) Leugers Insurance (Maria Stein), Kremer Roofing (Versailles), The Mr. Shoppe (Coldwater), 49 Degrees (Coldwater), St. Henry Bank, Carriage Werkes (St. Henry), Moeller Trucking (Maria Stein), Phelan Insurance (Versailles), VPP Industries (Versailles), Greenville Federal Bank (Greenville), Kaup Pharmacy (Fort Recovery), H.A. Dorsten Construction (Minster), Minster Bank, Schwieterman’s Pharmacy (Minster), Westrich Furniture (Delphos), Minster Dental, Moeller Brew Barn (Maria Stein), Knapke Kitchens and Baths (Versailles), Direct Tooling Concepts (Versailles), Homestretch Sportswear (St. Henry), Park National Bank (Greenville, Versailles, Celina), Wilson Sports Medicine (Sidney), Logan Services (Vandalia), People’s Bank (Coldwater), presenting sponsor, Securcom.com (Minster), and the Massey Trust (Portsmouth).

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