Anyone living in New Rochelle for any length of time, would know of the Remington Flyers. SO, it was no surprise to have seen a lemonade stand within the local Shop-Rite store on Palmer Avenue a while back raising money for their upcoming Florida trip and competition. Not wanting any lemonade, but having my check book handy, I made a very small contribution , and was thrilled to not only receive a thank you note, but also a lovely photo from their trip.
Knowing Quay Watkins (the Executive Director), I was invited to pop by the Remington Boys and Girls Club the other night to see the Remington Flyers celebrate their recent successful trip to the National AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Championships which were held at the Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida from July 7-15, 2012.
It was such a lovely night as Mr. Walter Brown, Coach (extraordinaire) made every single athlete, coach, volunteer, chaperone (and me!) within the room feel very special. HE is special (I hope to see the Walter Brown Highway one day to commemorate the speeds he generates from his athletes! Ha! Or at the very least the Walter Brown Boulevard – come on, New Rochelle). Coach Walter’s program has been a great feeder program for our High School Track Team, and his former athletes have gone onto obtaining college scholarships and more. A representative from the City of New Rochelle, Councilman Jared Rice, was also there, as was the new President of the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle -Mark McCabe (we all know and love Mark!) Four of Mark’s children were Remington Flyers, and Mark’s daughter Maura will be running track at Stonybrook University this fall.
The Remington Flyers was founded in 1986 by Coach Walter, who thought it a good idea to start a running program for girls 6-12 after school. Little did he know that within a few months, there would be 25 athletes in the program, and it just took off from there – but it wouldn’t have without Walter’s devotion, dedication, and patience. There are approximately 75% girls in the program and 25% boys, and as someone commented to me “the athletes really listen when Walter speaks. They are respectful.” Coach Walter has such a low-key and calming influence way about him (perhaps it is all of that running), but his easy-going manner has a wonderful affect on his athletes, and the success of the program speaks for itself).
19 athletes (16 girls, 3 boys) went to Florida to attend the AAU Championships, and they returned with 2 National Champions (Sabiha Dodd and Ilenn Soto) , and 30 medalists. What is so amazing are the stats. Approximately 205 teams participated, and when you compare a team from Puerto Rico who arrived with approx. 125- 150 athletes, compared to the Flyers’ 19, and from those 19 athletes, you have one athlete, who returned ranking Number One, and a team that ranked in the Top 10 in team scoring, and was one of the top 25 teams, it is pretty amazing.
The tables were nicely decorated, and the athletes, while waiting for dinner and the delicious looking cake, couldn’t wait to see some videos of their two week trip, and hear the stories recapping it all.
I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Angela Ayala, age 11, who participated in the 11-12 sub midget category. Angela came in 7th in Turbo, 6th in High Jump, 7th in Discus and her medals sure looked quite heavy , but Angela wore them with pride.. I then had the privilege to speak with Ilenn Soto, age 10. Ilenn obtained six medals , coming in 1st in the girl’s bantam Turbo Javelin, 2nd in Shot Put, 4th in the triathlon (1st in the triathlon shot put) and 7th in High Jump. Pretty impressive? Well, there is more, Ilenn is now a National Champion.
Sabiha Dodd, just 7, was another National Champion, won turbo javelin in her age division. Sabiha also medaled in hurdles and the shot put. Linise Greene took 2nd in the Team Division (Bantam, 10).
Other medalists were Ayana Champion, Linise Greene, Jarron Greene, Jada Dieudonne, Eko Dodd, Tehya Rose and the 4×100 relay (Eko and Sabiya Dodd, Aleigha Thomas, Ron-Niah Wright). Other athletes who helped in the standings were Angela ALaya, Shane Jacobs, Ebony Ayala, Tanjiha Maxwell, Eurasia Bryan, Mariah Latty, Max Lantigua and Deanna Kerr.
The team stayed in townhomes to offset the huge costs of going there, but were under the watchful eyes of the chaperones whose days started at 5:30 a.m. preparing breakfast for all. It was noted that 1,000 miles away from home, the tooth fairy visited three times whilst the team was away, their favorite dining spot was “The Golden Corral“ and their favorite ride was at Magic Kingdom – Space Mountain. Swimming was a daily event with the weather permitting, and the Faith Harvest Worship Center hosted a special dinner for the athletes one night.
Funding has always been an issue, and they were basically $5-6,000 short prior to the trip commencing, but through Herculean efforts, they came through. Awards were given to the Remington Men’s Club, the Smith Family (Marcia and Kevin) and the New Rochelle United Methodist Church as well as the Remington Women’s Auxiliary whose special and generous donations helped make the trip possible.
Donations are always welcome, and sorely needed, and their old van can no longer be used for long distance trips. Checks can be sent to the Remington Flyers C/O Walter Brown, Remington Boys Club, 116 Guion Place, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801.
Winter Season: First week of November through end of February
Spring/Summer season: Mid March through July
New Rochelle is GREAT!