Scholar Athlete: ACCS junior thrives in pressure-packed situations

Published 12:05 am Thursday, May 7, 2015

Adams County Christian School’s Sneh Patel plays tennis for the Rebels while also remaining a stellar student. Patel boasts a 4.0 GPA. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

Adams County Christian School’s Sneh Patel plays tennis for the Rebels while also remaining a stellar student. Patel boasts a 4.0 GPA. (Sam Gause / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — Many athletes find themselves crumbling in pressure situations.

Adams County Christian School’s Sneh Patel doesn’t, and he is staring down pressure-packed situations daily.

With a 4.0 GPA, which ranks him as the top junior at the school, and the all important role of No. 2 boys singles player on the ACCS tennis team, Patel has little room for mistakes. However, he constantly finds himself thriving with whatever challenge he is presented.

Patel said grades have always been an important part of his life and he believes they are his key to where he wants to go.

“I’ve always kept up with my homework and done well on tests,” he said. “I know that the grades I get now are going to get me into a better college.”

Patel has a broad vision for college now, but hopes to narrow it down as he moves towards his senior year.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about out of state colleges,” Patel said. “Maybe somewhere not too far, but I’m keeping my mind open. I like Texas, it’s not too far, and if I stay in state maybe somewhere like Ole Miss. I may look into Georgia or even beyond that.”

For now, though, Patel is focused on his upcoming senior year, and ultimately remaining at the top of his class and graduating as valedictorian.

“That would be a huge honor,” he said of being valedictorian. “I just know, not only would it help me going into college, but it would also be another memory here at AC for me.”

Patel’s ACCS athletic career has also provided some sweet memories for him, especially on the tennis court, when the overall match came down to him winning individually.

“It is crucial because sometimes the match comes down to me,” he said. “When the score is 4-4, I have to get the win.”

But Patel finds himself handling the situation calmly just like anything else.

“I’ve grown a lot and I know the game better than I used to,” he said. “I don’t feel much pressure.”

Patel said his serve is a major factor in his success on the court.

“When I get that in, a lot of times people don’t return it on the first serve,” he said. “That took me a while. At first, I started off with the basic serve and then transformed it into more of a professional serve. I just had to keep practicing every day, get the form right, and continue to practice that.”

His tennis development has also caught the eye of ACCS head tennis coach Jimmy Allgood.

“Sneh is a top-level skilled player,” Allgood said. “He is an all-around great kid. He is a team player, great athlete and has a bright future hitting a tennis ball at Adams Christian.”

Patel has the same mindset and said next year, he is setting lofty goals.

“Next year, I want to go further,” he said. “I want to get into the state tournament.”

And for Allgood, that idea carries some weight.

“He has the potential to be a state champion and get a ring,” Allgood said. “But that is up to him. Does he have all the tools to do it though? Absolutely.”