By Thomas Sellers Jr.
When Onyx Magno steps foot onto the Millsaps College campus this fall, she will be representing her parents Maria Magno and Edward Baumann, Brighton High School, Lady Cardinal Basketball and Brighton Track.
The Brighton graduate will also carry the legacy of Elijah Damon Alexander. Magno joined the AAU track program based in Millington named after the late Alexander a couple of years ago. Becoming an EDA Flyer gave Magno exposure to the sport on a national level and sharpen her skills to earn a scholarship to the NCAA Division III school in Jackson, Miss.
“My AAU coaches, Coach Dennis and all of the other coaches I have to thank,” Magno said. “My Mom had driven me 10 hours across the country for me to compete one day. My high school coach, Coach (Courtney) McGinnis has been there since my freshman year letting me coach myself while being there. Then the basketball team and my best friend Kailey Hunt.
“To my development, if it wasn’t for EDA I probably would have had the want to go to the next level or college,” she added. “They organized themselves my sophomore year and I joined the team. I was the first girl for the EDA Flyers. Ever since then I’ve been an “Original EDA.” That’s what he likes to call me. He’s kind of put me on a pastel and that helps me out a lot.”
EDA founder and Head Coach Dennis Alexander was on hand May 9 in the Brighton Gymnasium lobby for Magno’s signing ceremony. EDA Flyer Coach Eric Sturdivant was present as well joining Magno, her parents and brothers Raymond Baumann and Hunter Magno.
“Starting with Onyx, she’s a good leader for the young ladies we have in our program,” Coach Dennis said. “She just took off like a wildflower. The girls we have in our program, there are a couple out there we have as leaders. She’s one of our team captains and girls just gravitate to her and love to be around her. She’s such a talent and good kid to be around.”
Alexander has been coaching youth in the Shelby, Tipton area for years in various sports. Along with help from former NFL standout Greg Hardy, the EDA Flyers were formed to pay tribute to his son Elijah.
The Flyers have become the latest avenue for Coach Dennis to impact area children. Onyx has made history running for EDA as the first girl in the program to sign a college scholarship. She joins 2017 Millington graduate Walter Miller as a Flyer to reach the college level.
“From where we started at the LSU meet, we have gravitated all across the country to Detroit, Mich., to Houston, Texas,” Alexander said. “Onyx has always been a part of that. For her to take his name and put it in a college, it started with her brother as well. He ran at Memphis in cross country this year.
“We’ve had four to leave us and run in college,” he continued. “With her being the first female to leave us and go to college, we hope she goes on to do some great things at Millsaps College.”
The Millsaps Track program is led by Head Coach Andy Till. He took over the Majors men and women programs in 2009. Till has coached 48 individuals to all-conference honors and eight all-conference relay teams.
McGinnis said Magno has the ability to fix into any role in Till’s program.
“When she runs AAU track, which has been super beneficial to her, she’s a hard worker,” the Brighton Head Coach said. “When she does put her mind to something, she’s going to go full force.
“The crazy part is she could have done the 400, 100 or the 200,” McGinnis added. “But I wanted her to feel comfortable once she competed in Sectionals. So she is running the 800m.”
Magno said her time in Brighton athletics has shaped her leadership skills.
“Coach McGinnis knows I run AAU,” she said. “She knows now that I am in love with the sport. She knows I’m just not going to let others slack off. She knows I want for the other runners what I have. They see that I’m being recognized and they want to be recognized too.
“They push themselves and they’re right behind me in practice,” Magno continued. “It makes me happy to see that. I don’t want to be the only girl from Brighton to go somewhere for track.”
Magno’s next home track will be Millsaps. Her new platform will help her validate all those who invested in her over the year on the track and in the classroom.
“The most important thing is my education,” she concluded. “Going there is an investment. It’s known for once you go to Millsaps College, you’re going to go into the profession you want. They’re going to get you there. To be able to go to a college that is going to better my future, not just these next four years, and still be able to run track is a dream.”
By Thomas Sellers Jr.