|High Desert Tennis Association|
Panjwani en route to Duke
by Tim Haran
Neil Panjwani’s stack of college acceptance letters read like a who's-who of top-tier universities. Nearly every school in the University of California system accepted the Apple Valley senior, as did Southern California, Northwestern, Cornell and Johns Hopkins, according to his father, Ash.
But Panjwani, who recently finished runner-up in the Mojave River League tennis finals, chose Duke, primarily for its biomedical engineering program and the campus atmosphere.
"The campus was really beautiful,” said Panjwani, who scored a 2,320 out of a possible 2,400 on his SAT. “And the level of students I'll be around will be very high."
Panjwani, who said he’s tied for first in his class with another Sun Devils athlete — softball player Sharon Carmona — and was teammates with two others in Apple Valley’s academic top 10, qualified for Friday’s CIF Individual Sectionals.
He will not be able to play. Instead, Panjwani will be taking an advanced placement microeconomics test.
"I wish I was able to do both,” he said. “But the regular testing date for the economics test was already on the same day as another tennis match. This is the last chance I'll get to take it."
Throughout high school, academics and athletics always took up significant chunks of his time, but Panjwani credited time management with allowing him to fit everything in.
"I sacrificed some TV,” Panjwani said. “I still didn't let anything get in the way of watching '24,' but 'House' and 'Prison Break' suffered."
Now on his way to Duke, Panjwani said he'll at least play intramural tennis and see what sort of opportunities are available to play intercollegiately.