Gene's Blog: Fearless freshman brings lively resume
March 08, 2012
The reigning MIAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Week, St. Thomas freshman Brittany Alexander, brought an impressive resume with her from Rochester Lourdes High.
Alexander is off to a 5-1 start in singles and 4-0 record in doubles in her college career and is unbeaten against D-II and III players. Her Tommie team is 5-1 on the young season (3-0 MIAC), with its lone defeat coming against Division I Creighton.
Alexander was named Lourdes High’s Triple A award winner for Arts, Athletics and Academics.
On the court, she was a member of Class A state champion teams in her eighth-grade, sophomore and senior seasons. She was a state doubles champ as a senior and region individual champ as a junior and senior. She also lettered six times in golf.
Alexander had something else that doesn’t show up in grade-point averages or tennis records –- enough moxie to try out for American Idol.
“I have been singing for a long time, and it’s something I really enjoy,” Alexander said. “I have done a few plays, but it has mainly just been singing. I was in Lourdes High School's concert choir and a member of my high school's vocal jazz a cappella ensemble.”
Alexander was 16 when she drove with her mother to Chicago and take part in one of the Idol’s mass tryouts.
“There were more than 10,000 people at the Chicago auditions,” Alexander recalled. “My mom and I waited in lines for the wrist bands on Friday for about two hours. Then we were up the next morning waiting in line at 4 a.m., and I got in to sing around 10 a.m. From there, the actual singing in front of producers lasted only about four minutes. You walked up in groups of four (I knew no one in my group), and they literally had us sing half a verse of the song. They then said sorry and that ‘We all needed more confidence.’
“I found it a bit perplexing because the three singers in my group were three of the best singers I had ever heard in my life.”
The sheer numbers at Idol’s tryouts make it difficult for people to stand out, unless they have some over-the-top costume, gimmick or unusual style. Alexander said only 150 of more than 10,000 hopefuls would advance to the second round to get a chance to sing before the judges.
“They definitely had a set image of who they wanted to bring into the second round,” she said. “This is why shows like "The Voice" are so much more popular and up-and-coming because they set aside the notion of fulfilling a set image.
“Overall, it was a fun experience, and I met a lot of great people in line. Sadly, none of us made it, but it was an experience that I wouldn't take back. In the future, I hope to continue with music and always keep on singing.”
Alexander seems mature beyond her years. She’s already busy at St. Thomas chasing career aspirations and is on the Dean's List.
“I plan on obtaining a Communications-Journalism degree (public relations) and a minor in Psychology,” she said. “Ideally, I would love to work for a sports team in its PR department, or also, I could see myself working directly with a business to plan its events. I've always loved planning events, so I wish to continue some form of career path in this direction.”
In the meantime, Alexander is part of a young St. Thomas tennis team -– 12 of the squad’s 14 players are freshmen and sophomores. The women are 3-0 in the conference with wins over Concordia, St. Catherine, and Macalester. Hamline is up this weekend, and later Gustavus, Carleton, St. Olaf and St. Ben’s will provide especially tough tests.
Junior Mary Allen (shown at right) is UST’s most experienced player. Allen has a two-year 15-12 singles record, and a 23-11 doubles mark.
Sophomore Anna Wright had a 13-4 record in singles matches, including a 7-2 record in conference matches. She also was 7-1 in doubles matches last spring that included a undefeated record against conference foes with a 6-0 record.
Sophomore Rachel Wright, who made All-MIAC in both singles and doubles last season, went 12-5 in singles (7-2 in conference) and 13-5 in doubles.
Men’s Tennis Starts Well
The 2012 Tommie men’s tennis team (5-2 overall) opened up its season with a non-conference victory over UW-LaCrosse. The Tommies are 3-0 record in conference play with wins over St. John’s, Concordia, and Macalester.
Their lone loss of the season thus far came at the hands of Division II St. Cloud State.
The St. Thomas men were 15-4 last season, with all four defeats coming against ranked opponents. They finished third in the MIAC with a 7-2 record. They graduated two starters, but return a good nucleus, led by senior Dan Cooper (shown at right), and juniors Brian McCarthy and Brendan O’Connell.
Cooper went 9-5 in singles and 6-3 in doubles last spring. Cooper, who was named All-MIAC in doubles as a sophomore, has a three-year 32-17 singles record and a 28-13 career doubles record.
McCarthy, who was All-MIAC in doubles last season, had a 10-8 overall record in singles matches and 12-6 in doubles matches last spring.
O’Connell, who made All-MIAC in both singles and doubles his freshman year, went 10-5 in singles and 9-5 in doubles last spring. He is 22-8 in career singles matches and 20-9 in doubles matches.
Sophomore Grant Bakke was named All-MIAC in singles as a freshman last spring. Bakke has a 13-3 singles record, including a 7-1 singles record against conference opponents. Bakke also had a 10-2 record in doubles matches, which included a 6-1 record in conference.
Other seniors back are Henry Mandell (Career: 6-0 in doubles, 9-6 in singles) and Peter Wright (Career: 1-0 in doubles, 7-0 in singles).