Sessoms to play college tennis

Rashon Sessoms, a 2017 graduate of Albertville High School, signed to play tennis for Gadsden State Community College. He was the Aggies’ No. 1 singles player as a senior. Front row, from left are Rachelle Sessoms (sister), Lisa Gladden (grandmother), Rashon Sessoms, Mike Gladden (grandfather) and Ramel Sessoms (brother); back, from left, Albertville coach Greg Henderson, Mickie Streitmatter (mother), GSCC coach Buster Stewart, Albertville coach Jeanne Rains and AHS Principal Dr. Deidra Robinson.

Rashon Sessoms’ contributions as a sophomore and junior helped the Albertville High School boys tennis team win back-to-back berths in the AHSAA Class 6A State Tournament.

As a senior in the 2017 season, Sessoms played No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles for the Aggies under coaches Greg Henderson and Jeanne Rains.

Next season, Sessoms will utilize his skills for the Gadsden State Community College tennis program, as head coach Buster Stewart signed him during an April 27 ceremony in the AHS library.

“Gadsden State is close to home and I’ve only heard good things about the coaching,” Sessoms said. “It seemed like the perfect place to take my game to the next level.”

Sessoms said he enjoyed the family atmosphere in the Aggie program. He expressed appreciation to Henderson for helping mold his career. Henderson, an Aggie tennis legend, is a member of the Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame.

“I couldn’t have made it here without Greg,” Sessoms said. “He was always supportive and helped me with getting to where I am today. He’s done more for me than I can repay.”

Henderson recalled his first meeting with Sessoms.

“The first time I met Rashon was in the summer before his seventh-grade year,” Henderson said. “He was playing tennis with his friend Caylor Slivka.

“Now if I remember correctly, the future all-county offensive lineman and Birmingham-Southern signee Slivka defeated the fleet-footed Sessoms.

“I am not sure Caylor has ever let Rashon forget that, and for some reason has avoided Rashon’s request for a rematch. Now don’t get me wrong — I would have loved for Slivka to join the tennis team, but I think we wound up with a mighty fine tennis player in Rashon.

“Now that is a fun story to tell on Rashon, but truthfully he has been a great part of Aggie tennis success over the last three seasons, as he has helped us to two state tournament appearances.

“On a personal note, very few young men have touched me like Rashon. He is an absolute joy to be around. He was the first at practice and always asked if I could stay and play another set when practice was over. His dedication to being the best he can inspires me.”

Henderson said Sessoms reached his goal of receiving a tennis scholarship while maintaining a strong grade-point average and working two jobs.

“He would go to school, go to practice and go to work at either McDonald’s or Johnson’s Lumber Company, wherever he was scheduled that day,” he said.

“Rashon is respectful and well-liked. I mentioned to Coach Stewart of Gadsden State that he is the kind of young man you want to represent your school.”

Henderson considers Sessoms an all-court player. The coach said he can play the baseline and run down shots with “incredible speed,” or he can get into the net to finish a point.

“Rashon is not very big, but he can hit a powerful serve and hits a sneaky hard forehand,” Henderson said.

“I think Coach Stewart has recruited a hidden jewel in Rashon. His best tennis is ahead of him. Man, I am going to miss him.”

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