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Brown adds tennis to impressive sports resumé
Alex Brown
University of North Carolina softball signee Alex Brown is playing No. 1 doubles for South Effingham’s tennis team. It her first season of competitive tennis. - photo by Photo by Birk Herrath

GUYTON — Another sport has been tossed on Alex Brown’s raging competitive fire. 

After four seasons of burning brightly for South Effingham’s softball and track teams, the South Effingham senior is blazing an impressive trail in tennis, a sport she took up during the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

“My brother, my dad I and I would just go out and hit the ball around just for fun,” Brown said. “At first, it just started off as that. Then we started playing some family competitions because we are all competitive.”

Brown was overpowered initially but she improved as the family rivalries continued once or twice a week. Her progress caused her to ponder trying out for South Effingham’s tennis team.

“I was thinking about it but I wasn’t sure,” Brown said. “I was kind of iffy and going back and forth on it until right up until the tryouts. I waited until the last minute because I knew I was going to do track and I didn’t know how it would work out.”

Brown was concerned about scheduling conflicts because track and tennis seasons run concurrently.

“All the coaches try to figure out what is best for me to go with,” she said.

Mustangs tennis coach Kristen Finlen was surprised to be blessed by the Division I athlete’s arrival. A speedy, slick-fielding shortstop who covers ground like a human tarp, Brown is bound for the University of North Carolina this fall.

 “I’m excited she’s out,” Finlen said. “She’s a great kid, works hard. She’s a good team player.”

Brown won her first three matches as a No. 1 doubles player with left-hander Reese Heverly before falling Saturday against Savannah Christian. 

“When I heard she was my partner, I was real excited because I was like, ‘This girl is good,’” Brown said. “It’s been a good start for us and I think we work well together. It’s been fun and we are like the same.

“We are very competitive people. I love to watch her serve.”

Armed with a stellar serve and overhead game, Brown is set to play No. 3 singles Tuesday afternoon at Brunswick.

“The hand-eye coordination, the footwork, the speed (she has in softball) —  it all translates here,” Finlen said. “She’s quick. She’s a fighter.”

South Effngham track coach Laura Soles isn’t the least bit surprised by Brown’s tennis success.

“She is the most focused, self-motivated individual,” Soles said. “She does anything that I ask. She is the best girl that I have coached in my life.”

Brown is a superb high jumper and sprinter. She was the high-point winner in a track meet in Milledgeville on Friday.

“High jump is probably my best event,” she said. “I finished sixth in the state meet in my sophomore year. Last year, I (achieved a personal record) at (5-foot-2) and I’ve matched that this year but our season got cut short (because of the pandemic) around this time.”

Brown laughed after being asked if she had ever considered adding soccer or lacrosse to her sports resumé.

“No! No!  I have not,” she said. 

It sounds doubtful that Brown will ever wield a lacrosse stick.

“Lacrosse is tough. It looks hard,” she said. “I wouldn’t want that ball coming at my face — absolutely not!”

Brown is enjoying tennis to the fullest, however.

“I like being out here and I hope they enjoy having me around,” she said after a Thursday win over Glynn Academy. “I guess they wouldn’t keep me around if they didn’t.”