Being the only senior on the Fairfield University women’s golf team has led Alexa Brown to take on extra responsibility this season, especially given the ongoing pandemic that continues to challenge the Athletics Department.

With the position of captain, Brown aims to set a good example by arriving at each practice on time, as well as being a valuable resource to the other team members by answering any questions they may have.

“It’s definitely different not having someone your age on the team,” Brown said, referring to her seniority on the team. “But we do have one junior [Riley Sullivan]. She’s my co-captain and we’re best friends.”

With the lack of traveling for tournaments and practices being canceled, Brown outlined that it has been challenging to fully bond with the first-years. As captain, she has made an effort to keep communication open with the younger players through Zoom calls and group chats, but there are some aspects of team building that are better suited for in-person. As the spring season begins, she hopes that these bonds will become stronger and the distance between the players will lessen.

Aside from team building, the lack of routine has also been a challenge presented by COVID-19. Prior to the pandemic, Brown’s athletic routine was packed with four hours of practice each day, lifting twice a week, conditioning, team yoga and frequent tournaments.

Now, the team is required to attend one mandatory lift and conditioning session throughout the week and aims to practice every day. However, practices are often left up in the air between contact tracing and the recent snow storms.

Brown described how the constant changes to their schedule have been difficult to those who are used to having a structured routine. As a way of combating these changes, the team has worked especially hard on their communication, ensuring all team members are kept up to date.

While the pandemic has not made anything easier for the golf team, Brown still tries to look at the positives. “It forced us to work a little harder and find ways around the changes,” Brown said. “It’s hard, but I think it’s a unique position to be in.”

Brown has also been looking forward to the team’s travel plans for the upcoming semester. The team hopes to begin playing smaller tournaments beginning in mid-March, before heading south for the 2021 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championship.

“We just found out the news that we will hopefully be playing in Disney [World] come April,” Brown said, referring to the 2021 MAAC Championship. “It was definitely great news because we were not expecting it, but we’re also focusing on not getting our hopes up knowing it can change.”

The hope of playing for a MAAC title this April has given the golf team something to work for this semester.

“With no tournaments last semester, there wasn’t something specific to look forward to,” Brown explained. “But this gives us something to work toward.”

In preparation for the championship, the men’s and women’s golf teams have started both lift and practice for the spring semester. Brown is happy to get back to practice for the season, but she is most excited to get the team back together.

“I can’t imagine not being a student-athlete,” Brown said. “My experience has been shaped around being part of a team and representing the University.”

She has been part of a golf team for all four years of college, having played for Central Connecticut State University her first year, before transferring to Fairfield University to continue her athletic journey.

Brown would advise any student looking to join an athletic team during the pandemic to continue working hard. While the pandemic has forced college as a whole to change, Brown emphasizes the importance of staying engaged with the school and present in the social life that is available at college.

“They should know that upperclassmen always have their back,” Brown said, addressing future student-athletes. “And they should know that we are working to give them the experience we were lucky enough to have pre-COVID.”

Brown is happy to announce that she has accepted her extra year of eligibility granted by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and will be returning to Fairfield next fall to continue playing golf while pursuing her Master’s Degree in social work.

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