Burkheart Ellis, Jr has moved up in the world since his days leading Knightdale to high school national championships.
Burkheart Ellis, Jr. finished his career at Knightdale in fine style in June of 2011. At the 4A state championship, he claimed an individual title in the 400 while helping his team to the overall championship. Knightdale then went on to earn double national championships by winning the 4x100 and 4x200 relays at New Balance Nationals. Burkheart, known as B.J. to his friends and family, moved on to begin his college career at St. Augustine's in Raleigh, where he had the opportunity to train with legendary coach George Williams. He and his coaches decided he should redshirt this season, which means that he could train with the team but not compete (although he still retains four years of eligibility).
What many fans of the sport may not realize is that he also holds citizenship in Barbados. He moved there when he was 4 and was raised there until coming to the United States in 2006, in what would be his 8th-grade year. This summer, the former North Carolina star returned to the island to compete in their national championships. Showing that his St. Aug's training has paid off, Ellis clocked 20.96 for the 200 and 46.61 for the 400, winning both events to become a double national champion for the second time in as many countries.
(Photo by Sherrylyn Toppin via Facebook)
While he is just a bit too old to go to the World Junior Championships, and he fell short of the Olympic standard, B.J. will nonetheless have the chance to represent Barbados in international competition this weekend. He will compete in the NACAC U-23 Championship, held in Guanajuato, Mexico, starting Friday. The competition, whose full title is North American, Central American, and Carribean Under-23 Championship, will take place over three days (July 6-8).