PHOTO BY GRACE GREER
PHOTO BY LISA McGINTY | LMc Photography
By ARIEL STAHLER
Gazette & News sports writer
Kole Miller has been recognized for his efforts on and off the baseball field by being awarded the Roy Bates scholarship. The 2022 Dalton High School graduate was one of eight finalists who received $2,500. Looking back to when he received the news of being awarded the scholarship, Miller said he was surprised and proud to be one of the athletes selected.
“I was very surprised,” said Miller. “It was later in the night when I got the call. It was really encouraging and surprising. It took a lot of pressure off of paying for college. I was proud to get the phone call.”
The scholarship selection criteria consisted of references, a short essay written by the student-athlete and a minimum 3.0 grade-point average. Finalists also had to be a senior at a Wayne County high school and be a member of the basketball, baseball or softball teams.
This is the 29th year the Roy Bates scholarship has been awarded by the Bates Foundation, which is part of the Wayne County Community Foundation. Bates, who died in 2004, was a basketball and baseball athlete at Chester High School. He later served as coach at Chester and Northwestern.
In addition to Miller, the other seven finalists were: Shayna Allshouse (Northwestern), Hailey Massaro (Triway), Luke Meech (Smithville), Isaiah Portis (Norwayne), Josiah Raber (Waynedale), Amari Slaughter (Orrville) and Jack Williams (Wooster). Massaro was awarded Bates Player of the Year award.
Miller joins a talented group of Dalton athletes who have received the Bates scholarship. In 2021, three-sport standout Tess Denning was awarded the scholarship. Kelsey Shoup was Dalton’s 2020 Bates scholarship recipient. Kennedi Siders was awarded the honor in 2019.
Miller will be attending Cedarville University to major in nursing. He decided not to play organized sports in college so he can focus on academics.
“I prayed about what I should go into a lot and I looked into a lot of different job opportunities, a lot of different majors I could go into,” said Miller. “Nursing seemed like something I would be good at, I would enjoy and it was something I found myself getting excited about going into. That ultimately made up my mind.”
Miller participated in three sports during his career at DHS: baseball, football and cross country. Of those three sports, Miller noted baseball is his favorite, which he has been playing since T-ball when his father was his coach.
His father, Jason, teaches Biology I and II at Dalton High School. He also coaches baseball and middle school football. Kole’s mother, Krista, teaches kindergarten at Dalton. He has two brothers: Kade will be a junior and Micah will be an eighth grader in the fall.
One of Miller’s top baseball memories from high school is when the Dawgs walked off against Waynedale to win the WCAL championship.
Dalton’s head baseball coach Scott Huth praised Miller for his leadership during his time with the team.
“Kole has been a very good leader for us over the past few years,” said Huth. “He is very vocal, but also leads by example. He makes great choices not only on the field, but in the classroom and in his personal life, as well. He is a spiritual, upstanding young man that we will miss as he graduates. His greatest strengths are his work ethic, determination and never-give-up attitude, and as he carries that on to his college life and into his profession, I am sure he will be very successful.”
Sports teach so many lessons to the athletes who dedicate their time, effort and energy to athletics. Hard work is one of the lessons sports has taught Miller.
“The biggest thing is how to work hard and not give up and not let anyone beat you out,” said Miller. “This far, I’ve worked extremely hard for everything and sports has really played a big part in teaching me how to do that.”
Miller said he will miss his teammates now that his high school athletic career is completed.
“I will definitely miss them probably the most,” said Miller. “Just going in there with a bunch of guys that you’ve known for a very long time and are great friends with and playing with them and having fun with the guys.”
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