Bethel track star set to wrap up storied high school career before heading to SEC

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — Lashawn Merritt and Francena McCorory are not only two of the biggest track names in the world, they’re two of the biggest names ever to come out of Hampton Roads.

A graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Merritt went on to win world championships and Olympic gold medals, as did McCorory, who graduated from Bethel High School in Hampton.

EJ Richardson intends to put his name right next to Merritt’s and McCorory’s. 

“I feel like I can get there — winning Olympic medals, having records, beating some of the fastest on the planet. I think I can get there,” said Richardson.

A senior at Bethel, Richardson owns 11 indoor state championships, and the second-fastest outdoor 400-meter time in the nation. Not only has he won the indoor 500-meter title every single year he’s competed as a Bruin, he’s broken the state record in each of those meets. 

“I thought I could do something great, but I never would have believed I could do something like this,” said Richardson, who will compete in his final state meet this weekend. 

With a 4.0 grade point average, Richardson will also graduate with an advanced diploma, and is headed to the University of South Carolina on a full track scholarship. He fully intends to compete against, and beat, the best the world has to offer. 

“When people mention Michael Norman, or Wayde van Niekerk I want my name to be there,” said Richardson, who added he wants to be one of the greatest collegiate 400-meter hurdlers in history. 

“I know he’s going to go off to college and do bigger and better things,” said Bethel head coach Nannette Gaines. “No doubt.”

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