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Roberson signs with Hampden-Sydney tennis, 7th RMA senior to sign commitment

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Rocky Mount Academy had seven seniors sign commitments to play sports in college out of the 44-student 2019 class. From left, Woodall Rose (Methodist University, baseball), Barrett Eidson (UNC Asheville, soccer), Kayla Miller (University of Utah, swimming), Isaiah Thomas (UNC Pembroke, baseball), Will Stewart (UNC Chapel Hill, baseball), Tiffany Chandler (Livingstone College, volleyball), Chuck Roberson (Hampden-Sydney, tennis).

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By PATRICK MASON
Sports Writer

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Tennis was one of the few sports that connected with Chuck Roberson. And for the past four years he has been chasing a goal of playing the sport in college.

The Rocky Mount Academy senior signed on Thursday to play for Hampden-Sydney College next season. Currently battling a high ankle sprain and out for the season, Roberson showed enough during the first five or six matches of the season for colleges to take notice.

“I was happy to be looked at by some colleges and I was happy to be talking with the coaches at Hampden-Sydney,” Roberson said after a signing ceremony at RMA. “I kind of started thinking about college tennis my freshman year and I focused on it from then and there on.”

Roberson played nothing but tennis by seventh grade, and played it year-round. He worked on his serve, and paid special attention to his return game. He estimates he double faults just once a match now, trimmed from double faulting on serves once per game.

And he doesn’t let large deficits or a string of losing games ruin the rest of the match. A new attribute he unveiled this season had to do with his mental toughness a discovered during a challenge match with a teammate. He faced a three-game deficit at 5-2, and instead of spiraling out of control, he battled back for a two-set win.

“That challenge match, while it didn’t count for anything, it proved to me that I can beat anybody even if i’m down,” Roberson said. “It was a proud moment of mine. If you get it back over the net you can beat players that are better than you.”

At Hampden-Sydney, Roberson will join area athlete Tyler Brice, a Rocky Mount High grad and 2018 Telegram boys’ tennis player of the year, in the Tigers’ lineup. Brice is in his freshman season playing for the college.

Roberson attended RMA until fifth grade before his family moved to another part of the state. Roberson returned this school year and hoped he would be recognized in a more visible tennis scene than up in the mountains. Hampden-Sydney found him and asked him on a visit. There, Roberson watched a match against N.C. Wesleyan and liked what he saw.

“I loved the school and academic opportunities, and being able to play tennis is the cherry on top,” he said.

He plans to study business and economics, or maybe psychology.

Roberson was the seventh Eagles senior to sign with a college, brining the total to seven out of the 44-student 2019 class. The sports range from baseball, volleyball, tennis, swimming and soccer.

Woodall Rose (Methodist University, baseball), Barrett Eidson (UNC Asheville, soccer), Kayla Miller (University of Utah, swimming), Isaiah Thomas (UNC Pembroke, baseball), Will Stewart (UNC Chapel Hill, baseball), Tiffany Chandler (Livingstone College, volleyball) and Roberson comprise of one of the more successful athletic classes at the school.

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