Athlete profile: CLARENCE POWELL
When you think of the high jump, long jump and triple jump, not many things come to mind, other than maybe a pole that is set very high, a mat, maybe some sand and a skinny kid in spandex. But outside of that, there is really nothing that identifies it. But at Liberty University that is not the case. Only one name comes to mind when it comes to track and field jumping prowess.
Born Aug. 15, 1988, Clarence “Bruskee” Powell had the dream of becoming a track star at a young age.
With several Liberty records already under his belt, including the indoor triple jump record, which he broke on Jan. 22 at the Hokie Invitational with a jump of 50-6, the junior from Marianna, Fla., has solidified himself.
Powell is affectionately known as “Bruskee” on campus, a nickname given to him as a child when he used to wear a perm.
“In middle school I had a perm, and people said that I looked like Bruce Lee. And eventually my cousin started calling me ‘Bruskee’… and it just kind of stuck with me. It’s funny because professors call me by my nickname,” he chuckled.
Believe it or not, breaking records is not what Powell sets out to do, so sometimes it catches him by surprise. Powell did not know that he broke the previously mentioned record until coach Brant Tolsma told him on the bus.
“I really didn’t know that I broke it,” he said. “It felt great. But at the same time, I knew I had more in me.”
It is that non-complacent, never satisfied attitude that pushes Powell over the top, giving him the edge to outperform and dominate in his events.
A product of Cottondale High School, which Powell attended his senior year after attending Marianna High School prior, he came into the spotlight after breaking a record his senior year. A record that no one, not even himself, thought he was capable of breaking — a record set by professional triple jumper Brandon Roulhac. After accomplishing that, it was clear that Powell’s talent was special.
With such an exciting talent coming out of high school, a number of programs were interested in Powell. He received offers from schools including Florida, Florida State, Clemson and Georgia Tech. Powell’s desire to become a better person, as well as a warm reception from Liberty recruits, led to his decision to attend Liberty.
“I came and visited and liked how the people were in athletics. I wanted to be a better person,” Powell said.
“Without God none of this would be possible. I couldn’t imagine competing without doing it for him. When we get to track meets, often as a team or with our competitors, we will pray before the event,” he said.
His family also motivates him to be a better athlete as well.
“What motivates me to do what I do and work as hard as I work is the fact that no one makes it out of where I’m from. Especially the fact that I’m pretty much the only one in my family that is going to a four-year university and actually graduated from high school other than my mom and aunts. So I just really want to represent them well,” he said.
With one year left in his career, Powell is dedicated to becoming the best athlete he can be, and reaching his ultimate goal of becoming a professional.