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article by Shannon J. Allen in The Sand Mountain Reporter

When Will Siskey made a commitment to become the best tennis player he could be, his career took off.

Siskey played No. 1 singles for the Albertville boys as a senior, earning All-Marshall County honors.

He also teamed with classmate Trent Lynn to win the Marshall County Tournament championship at No. 2 doubles.

On May 14, Siskey launched the next phase of his career by signing a letter of intent with LaGrange College, an NCAA Division III institution in LaGrange, Ga.

Founded in 1831, LaGrange is the oldest private college in Georgia. It’s affiliated with the United Methodist Church.

Siskey had more than 10 college offers before deciding on LaGrange.

“When I was going into the recruiting process, I wanted to go to a school where I could not only pursue tennis, but further any other talents God has given me,” Siskey said.

“I wanted to attend a school that would allow me to grow in every area equally, and overall, LaGrange is the best place for that.

“I’ll play No. 1 or No. 2 (singles) for them and get great experience right away, and their coach (Matt Donnett) is a great Christian guy who will hold me accountable.

“It’s a good place to grow as a person, a player and a student.”

Siskey said he always thought he wanted to go “far away” from home to attend college. He considered two schools in California before he started looking at schools closer to Albertville.

Siskey made the initial contact with LaGrange. He sent the Panthers an email, and they promptly began to recruit him.

“It came down between LaGrange and UNA (North Alabama),” Siskey said. “At UNA I’d be playing 5 or 6, and at LaGrange I’d be playing 1 or 2.”

Siskey believes in clean, healthy eating.

He eats nonprocessed foods, and he’s closer to a natural foods store in LaGrange than he would be in Florence. That was another key factor in his decision.

Albertville boys coach Greg Henderson is excited about Siskey’s opportunity.

“Will has hit more balls than anybody we’ve had in the last several, several years,” Henderson said. “He has almost impeccable technique.

“He’s learned from some of the best coaches around down in south Florida at the Rick Macci Academy.

“Hats off to Will for all the training he’s done. It’s paid off. He’s also a guy that wants it so bad he’ll even do the extra stuff, like the conditioning workouts, the regimented diet … Will takes care of his body, takes care of himself, and it’s paying off for him.

“Two years ago, he was probably a little bit behind some of the other players his age as far as where he was in the rankings, but he has skyrocketed up the charts, and he’s going to make a very good player for LaGrange.

“Will had other options. He was heavily recruited by some other schools. It was Will’s choice. I think his grandmother lives close to the Auburn area, so it might be a fit for him to be down in that area of the country.

“And when I met LaGrange’s coach in person, I was just very impressed, so I could see why anybody would want to play for him. He’s a real good man.

“I think Will will fit in well. I think the future is bright for Will.”

Siskey said a motivational speech Henderson gave him during his freshman season changed the direction of his career.

“He told me he believed I could be such a better player than what I was,” Siskey recalled. “He told me I worked hard when I was in front of him, but what was I doing at home.

“When I was in ninth grade, I actually thought I was good. Greg told me I wasn’t, but he did it in a good way.

“God opened the door for us to go to Florida for a year and then come back.”

Siskey attended the Rick Macci Tennis Academy in Boca Raton, Fla., during his junior year, where instructors sharpened all aspects of his game, including mentally.

“It was definitely a blessing. I can’t describe how awesome it was,” Siskey said. “Rick took me in and calmed me down a whole lot.

“He knew I was an Auburn fan, so he called me Bo Jackson when I first went down there because I would overrun everything. He told me I was trying to play football on the tennis court.”

Siskey’s mother, Rebecca Rogers, said Macci coached tennis greats like the Williams sisters, Maria Sharapova and Andy Roddick.

“He’s had a huge influence on Will by teaching the role of persistence and positive thinking in every area of your life,” Rogers said.

Siskey said, “I didn’t win a whole lot of matches down there, but I learned from Rick to take something away every time.

“I was blessed enough to be able to come back and finish at Albertville.”

Siskey is sharing his knowledge of the game this summer by teaching lessons three days a week at Terrapin Hills Country Club in Fort Payne.

 


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