PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Trojans celebrated another athlete deciding to continue their athletic and academic careers once their time at Portsmouth High School has been completed. Portsmouth senior Darray Richardson formally announced he would be attending Otterbein University, and would also become a member of the university’s track and field team.
Richardson sat down with his parents, track coaches, and other school officials last week to commemorate the young man’s decision to attend Otterbein University.
Darray’s father, Lance Richardson, was proud of his son’s decision to attend the university located in Westerville, Ohio.
“I’m very excited, Lance said. “He should be able to do very well at the collegiate level. He broke a few records here at the high school level, so it’s very possible he could do the same with Otterbein University. I just want to thank coach (Dara) Ford, and coach (Karl) Wunderle, for giving Darray the opportunity, and for signing him.”
The Richardsons were familiar with the university, as Darray had competed in an event held at the university, and attended a few camps there as well. Each time Darray was there, he, along with his parents, noted it felt like home.
Darray was accepted to over a dozen other schools, but chose Otterbein. One of the reasons he decided to become a Cardinal, was its close proximity to home.
“I had visited other colleges, and they were nice, and I appreciated them giving me the opportunity to come and visit, but when I went to Otterbein, there was just something about it,” Darray said. “It was just a really friendly environment. It was really nice, and it just felt very lively. I immediately thought this is the place I want to be for the next four years.”
Darray is excited to compete for the Otterbein Cardinals next year as a freshman, and has ambitions to make an impact in several events.
“The 100 and 200 (meters) definitely, but mostly the 200,” Darray said. “I like that one a lot better, and hopefully I can excel on that one, which I know I can, I’m a hard worker.”
While Darray is excited for the next step in his athletic and academic endeavors, he will miss his time at Portsmouth.
“I’m going to miss friends I grew up with, and teammates I’ve gotten chemistry with along the years,” Darray said. “I’m going to miss that, but I’m going to make some new ones now I guess.”
Darray’s mother, Amber Richardson was happy for her son, as he signed the paperwork to attend Otterbein.
“He has worked very hard, and we’re just very happy,” Amber said. “He has been determined, and has worked hard, and that has paid off.”
Both Amber and Lance are excited to watch their son compete for Otterbein, and hope to continue to support him at every event.
“We have never missed a track meet in these four years (at PHS), and we probably won’t miss one of those (at Otterbein) either,” Amber said with a smile on her face.
Realizing her son will continue his education, and still be able to compete in something he loves so much has Amber excited for this next step in Darray’s life.
Portsmouth track and field coach Chuck Burke had high remarks for the athlete he has coached the last four years.
“Darray has probably been the hardest worker we’ve had in the last four years,” Burke said. “Going back to junior high, coach Clifford had him in junior high, and told me he would be, and he sure has been. He’s been out there every day, and everything we do in practice, he goes as hard as he can, and has been a great example to the other kids.”
Burke believes Darray’s successes in the high school level will have him well prepared for the collegiate level.
“He’s had the experience of being up at the state track meet,” Burke said. “He has qualified for the regionals three years in a row already, and hopefully this year, as a senior. That’s the kind of leadership you just can’t create as a coach. That has to come from the kid, and he has just been a good inspiration for the other kids. I could always say Darray is fast, but look how hard he works besides that. That’s a good message for the other kids.”
The Portsmouth senior already has a major planned for his time at Otterbein.
“I’m going into pre-medicine, Allied Health,” Darray said. “I’m on the bridge between being a doctor or a pharmacist, so all that organic chemistry, and all that, either way will work out for me well in the end.”
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.