Next Flight: Millington’s EDA Flyers will send dozens of athletes to Houston for Nationals

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

Onyx Magno-Hester, Ciara Potter, Walter Miller and many more have worn the colors of the EDA Flyers since the creation of the AAU Track program in 2016. 

Named in honor of the late Elijah Damon Alexander, his father Dennis Alexander found the perfect way to keep his son’s memory alive and continue his mission of serving the area’s youth through track and field. 

The year 2021 will go down as another successful year for the Flyers after sending 65 athletes to Regional in Knoxville June 23-26. When the Regionals wrapped up, the EDA Flyers qualified 50 children in 68 events for Nationals taking place in Houston, Texas July 30-Aug. 8. 

“There will be more than 22,000 kids there from all over the United States,” Coach Alexander noted. “Everybody is going to be there. So to just make the medal stand as top 8 means you’re All-American.” 

The roster heading to Texas for Millington is highlighted by four-time National champ Ejeh Aigbomian. Nursing an injury, she won’t compete in her signature event the long jump but has qualified in the triple jump. Alexander noted her sister Efe Aigbomian will be an athlete to watch out for as well. 

Other Flyers expected to soar in Houston are LaMarcus Blades, Jaden Boyd and Ezekiel Miller. 

Alexander said the hard work of all the children played a huge part in the comeback year of the Flyers after a COVID-19 suspended 2020. 

But the veteran track coach noted local businesses like Boatwright’s and Olympic Steak and Pizza helped the financial burdens. He also noted the Kiwanis Club for its support for the children in multiple aspects. 

“Also great support from Millington Municipal Schools, Jones Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Atoka,” Alexander added. “I want to thank Shelby County Commissioners, Bethlehem Baptist Church family, the Millington Navy Base, military civilians and retirees.

All the contributions helped the EDA Flyers become the 2021 Southeastern AAU District Champions. 

Team success and plenty of individual honors over the past 5 years, the EDA Flyers have made the name of Elijah Damon Alexander a gold standard in the AAU ranks across the nation.

Closer to home, the man known as “Coach Dennis” is like gold to generations of athletes from Brighton to Memphis. Since 1995 he has been associated with training athletes in multiple sports. 

“I do this because when I was a kid so many did it for me,” the Odessa, Texas native said. “Men and women took the time to teach me and now I am doing the same thing.

“If they hadn’t taken the time with me, I don’t know where I would be today,” he concluded. “They saved my life and kept me on the right path in life. I want to do the same for the kids in my community, give them that chance. I will always help these kids free of charge.”