East Jackson High School golfer Alexis Brzezinski concentrates on a shot during practice in the fall of 2019. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
(April 18, 2020 5:24 PM) If there is one athlete who could weather the winds of change caused by the coronavirus pandemic it would be East Jackson High School senior Alexis Brzezinski.
Consider the last four years.
Brzezinski has gone from a novice golfer to a two-time all-state player.
She helped lead the Trojans to a district title in softball for the first time in a quarter century.
And the Trojans advanced to the state semifinals in Division 4 bowling this last winter.
All the while she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average in school and learned a few things about being a leader from a class.
But Brzezinski and a number of seniors won’t be able to defend that district title in softball this season. The spring sports season was canceled after schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“What was happening in China caught my attention in January,” Brzezinski said. “I thought we could come back (to school) for sure, but I guess we underestimated the problem.
“I am disappointed, but understand that (current procedures) will save lives.”
The soon-to-be class valedictorian – one of six – is trying to stay busy with her dual-enrollment class at Jackson College and hitting golf balls into a net. She wasn’t the kid who started golf at a young age and has kept playing.
“My grandfather took me to a fun clinic a couple of years ago taught by EJHS Coach Ray Hill,” Brzezinski said. “I thought it was fun, but I was more into softball.”
Hill kept working on Brzezinski and convinced her to give golf a try in ninth grade. As a sophomore Brzezinski helped lead East Jackson to a 10th-place finish at the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 golf finals.
Since then, the Trojans have been on a roll winning a number of tournaments, conference titles and finished seventh overall in the state golf finals this past fall.
Brzezinski finished fifth overall in the state this past season with a two-day total of 173 and was fourth as a junior at 171.
She will take her golfing talents to Saginaw Valley State University this fall to study engineering.
“The Saginaw Valley golf program is relatively new, but have great facilities,” Brzezinski said. “I felt comfortable there.”
She plans to study mechanical engineering as a major and minoring in electrical engineering.
Brzezinski was part of the Trojan team that won its first district softball tournament in 25 years last spring. She said a group of seniors helped the Trojans get over the hump.
“I told them I didn’t want them to leave,” Brzezinski said.
East Jackson qualified for the team bowling finals this past winter in the Division 4. The Trojans qualified second as a team in Division 40, won their quarterfinal match against Fowler, but lost to Bronson in the state semifinals.
All that winning has helped East Jackson move up a couple of notches in the eyes of area sports fans in Jackson County.
Brzezinski and the classes of 2019 and 2020 have brought pride back to EJ. She participated in the school’s first leadership class this year and learned a few things about success principles.
“We learned in our leadership class that in order to be considered a leader you can’t tear one another down,” Brzezinski said. “I think that we have created a better culture for our school.”
The senior said some of the projects that helped included posters with inspirational saying placed in the hallways; working as mentors through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program; and organizing pep assemblies to celebrate success.
“It has been great being part of a small school,” Brzezinski said of EJHS. “Everyone has your back here.”
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