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College Commitment
Countdown: Blue Chip Turewicz Selects Blue Devils

When Monica Turewicz took an unofficial visit to Duke University in May, she felt an instant bond. Although it was the first of three such visits she was planning to make, her experience in Durham "really set the bar."

"They were really welcoming. They're all so together and the team spirit's really good," says Turewicz, a blue chip ranked third in the class of 2011. "They all seemed so happy there, so pumped to go to practice every day together. It's like a family. They were really nice, showing me around, it was really comforting."

Heeding Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth's advice, Turewicz also visited UCLA and Stanford, the other two schools high on her list. But despite being more geographically challenging for the California resident, Duke stayed at the top, and she verbally committed to signing a National Letter of Intent with the Blue Devils.

The 17-year-old, originally from Lake Forest, Ill., is in her third year at the Weil Academy in Ojai, Calif., with Laurel Springs School providing her online academics. When her father Mark was transferred to Northern California, Turewicz began looking for a full-time training option, and the family selected Weil, a five-hour drive from her parents' home.

Turewicz may do without some of the typical high school experiences while at the academy, but points out the advantages of the arrangement for her.

"I think every tennis player has to sacrifice those kind of things," Turewicz says. "I do miss the social stuff, but in the long run it was easier, because before, I always had to make up a lot of schoolwork coming back and I'd get behind. With home schooling, I just take my stuff with me and it's a lot easier."

Also pointing out the benefits of playing the sport competitively, Turewicz adds, "Tennis really shapes you as a person, on and off the court. I feel you're so much stronger in life after tennis. It's an individual sport, so it's really mental. You have to be really tough mentally and that carries through to your whole life."

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