Freshman outfielder Denzel Clarke became a member of the Canadian Junior National Team at the age of 16 (Courtesy of CSUN Athletics)

Although he is just starting off his college baseball journey at California State University Northridge, baseball has taken freshman outfielder Denzel Clarke to various destinations.

At the age of 10, Clarke first began playing baseball. Six years later, he was a member of the Canadian Junior National team.

“I was lucky enough to participate in a world championship and a qualifying tournament,” he said. “I got to meet people from around the world … Japan, Korea, Nicaragua, and Belize. It was just a great overall experience for me.”

Team Canada would also go to the Dominican Republic to play against their Summer League teams. This gave Clarke a chance to participate in the UA Pan Am championship.

“That served as a qualifier for the world championships which is gonna be this year in Korea,” Clarke said. “Being able to help the players who were younger than me, having experiences like that was a lot of fun and Panama itself is amazing too.”

Clarke has been contributing to the team with 90 at-bats so far this season. In a series against Gonzaga, he earned three RBIs and hit his first collegiate home run.

“Continuing into college, I knew it’s going to be tough and I have had some struggles,” Clarke said. “I believe in myself, people who helped me get here believe in me as well, so it’s knowing that, believing I can do it is probably the most important thing.”

Clarke is a business major; CSUN provides advisors to student athletes like him to assist them with their workload.

“We also have friends who been here before, gone through this whole process,” Clarke said. “There’s a lot of resources you can use and trust around CSUN that will really help,”

Athleticism runs in the family for Clarke, his uncle played pro football and he has a cousin that was a sprinter in the 2012 Olympics.  His mother, Donna, competed in the heptathlon event in the 1984 Olympics.

His mother taught him the importance of taking care of your body.

“She’s always worked hard, she’s done her best to provide for my sister and I,” Clarke said. “Just watching her work hard inspires me to work hard and be the best that I can.”

Clarke’s advice for young student athletes is to strive to perform well on the academic level.

“It seems like the population of kids these days are not liking school more and more, but you have to work hard in both,” Clarke said. “It builds character, it builds good work ethic; school is very important so make sure you stay on top of your school work.”

Do you know an athlete on honor roll who is a leader at their school? Email [email protected] to nominate your student. Cheerleaders and dance team members also qualify.