By Jocelyn Rowley 

Student-athlete of the Week: Kamran Elahi


Photo by Jocelyn Rowley Niwot senior Kamran Elahi competes in the 800M at the St. Vrain Invitational on May 11.

Niwot IB valedictorian Kamran Elahi said he was thrilled when he learned early in the 2017-18 school year that he had earned the top rank amongst his talented cohorts.

“I had an idea I was up there,” the senior said. “Obviously there’s a ton of really, really smart, really nice kids that I go to school with, so I was a little bit unsure. It was probably one of the happiest moments of my high school career to find that out.”

Elahi was quick to dispel the notion that students in Niwot’s exclusive college prep program are ultra-competitive. In fact, he said, without the help of his “super supportive” classmates, it would have been harder to earn the IB class of 2018’s top ranking.

“There’s definitely a culture of helping each other learn,” Elahi said. “People want to see their friends succeed, and be surrounded by intelligent, high-performing classmates.”

Elahi earned another hard-won accolade in his final month of high school: Class 4A state track qualifier. After an intensive “two-year process” with distance coach Kelly Christensen, the senior took more than nine seconds off of his average 800M time, and late last month, finally broke the two-minute barrier to punch his ticket to Jeffco Stadium for the first time ever as an individual competitor.

“It’s tough, because every year there’s a new standard, a new top 18,” Christensen said. “For him to get in, it’s a testament to his work ethic and his trust in the process, especially for a kid who, for most of the season, did everything on his own.”

Indeed, Elahi often missed track practice this season due to his academic obligations, which usually meant lonely nighttime workouts long after the rest of the team had called it a day. Though juggling track and his coursework wasn’t easy, Elahi said fear of letting his teammates down kept him committed to the grueling schedule.

“I had to hold myself accountable and be honest with myself,” he said. “If I hadn’t been taking it so seriously, I would not be able to compete at this level.”

He also credited his long stints with the track and cross-country teams for forcing him to become adept at time management and self-discipline.

“I had a pretty intensive course load from year one, and I don’t think many people realize how demanding athletics are,” Elahi said. “In the early years, I feel like if I had more free time, I would not have gotten into the groove of starting work as soon as I needed to.”

Elahi will be heading to the University of Pennsylvania next fall, where he hopes to tackle the big questions about human consciousness while earning a degree in neuroscience and economics. Though he has always considered himself a “math and science person,” Elahi said it was actually two humanities-focused IB classes—economics and psychology—that set him on his future path.

“There are so many unanswered questions in neuroscience,” he said. “It’s understanding who we are, so there are a lot of metaphysical components to that, as well as the actually hard science. It’s so important to understanding us, and it’s really kind of cool, because it’s the brain studying itself.”


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