Glenmour Leonard-Osbourne hears the starting pistol. Within seconds he is starting to separate himself from the competition. He crashes through the finish line first and has broken yet another record.
Osbourne broke the record in the 100m dash on April 1 with a time of 10.50 seconds. Eight days later, on April 9 broke it again, posting a time of 10.39 seconds. On April 29, he broke his own record once again with a time of 10.36 seconds. On top of these most recent successes, Osbourne won the 2022 IC4A Men’s 60m dash and set the fastest 60m dash time in the MAAC with a time of 6.69 seconds. At the MAAC Championship, Osbourne won gold in both the 100m and 200m races. Osbourne has accomplished all this and the season isn’t even over yet. He continually finds ways to separate himself.
Separation is something Osbourne has worked to achieve his whole life.
If you asked Osbourne while he was in high school where he would be at this point in his life, he would have never guessed that he would be at Marist College, a dual-sport athlete, breaking track records, excelling in academics, and creating a better future for himself.
Osbourne grew up in White Plains, New York – a city that has a higher poverty rate than the national average. He lived with his family in the Winbrook Project building and attended White Plains High School. During his four years, Osbourne had to manage a lot more than the typical high school student. On top of his academics, football commitments, and his social life; Osbourne had to work a job at Burger King to help his family financially. As the oldest of seven, Osbourne was essentially another parent in the house and always helped care for his siblings.
These additional responsibilities placed upon Osbourne, combined with a high school environment that made it easy to “slip through the cracks” added even more difficulty to an already challenging situation. White Plains High School is a large school district with a large student population. Osbourne rarely met with his guidance counselor. He felt that there was no one to give him direction and in his community, he felt that he was with “the wrong crowd and did not have a lot of role models or hope.”
A positive in high school for Osbourne was football. He was a very talented player and excelled at the sport. His play on the field earned recognition and attention from college coaches.
Junior season was when Osbourne began to pop up on recruiting radars. He started receiving calls from college coaches. Osbourne’s high school football coach, Mike Lindberg, helped mentor him during this process. This was when he first considered the possibility of attending college. However, the recruiting process would go smoothly for Osbourne up until coaches would ask about his grades. Something had to change for Osbourne if he wanted to play college football.
Osbourne’s mother wanted to get her family out of White Plains and jumped at the chance to do so. She grew up in that area herself and knew she wanted her kids to have a different experience. For his senior year of high school, Osbourne and his family moved to Ardsley, New York.
Going from White Plains High School to Ardsley High School was a culture shock for Osbourne. His new high school and this group of students were polar opposites from White Plains. Ardsley was affluent, academically rigorous, predominantly white, and filled with students who plan on attending big colleges.
Another key difference between the two high schools for Osbourne was the guidance counselor. At White Plains High School, Osbourne rarely met with his advisor. When he did, her advice was far from encouraging. The best option his counselor could suggest, someone who barely knew him because of their lack of meetings, was an alternative school. The idea of an alternative school made Osbourne feel like giving up because he knew he did not belong there.
Ardsley High School’s guidance counselor, Erica Hezi, recognized that there was more potential for Osbourne. She was determined to convince him that college was still a viable option.
Naturally, Osbourne was guarded with Hezi at first because of his previous experience with guidance counselors. Hezi worked to earn Osbourne’s trust and she considers her work with him, “to be the highlight of her career.” The idea of college came to life for Osbourne as he slowly began to trust Hezi and the advice she gave him.
The two of them got to work. Each day after football practice, Osbourne and Hezi would meet to work on college applications. During these meetings, Hezi would help Osbourne write his college essays, stay on top of his high school courses and provide him with food. As Hezi learned more about Osbourne she realized, “how special of a person he is – not many can grow up the way he did and be so focused on their goals.”
Hezi’s favorite part about her job is, “infusing faith and hope into her students.” That is exactly what she did when she introduced Osbourne to the Higher Education Program at Marist. The program allows students to attend Marist which they otherwise might have not been able to due to educational and financial circumstances.
The HEOP program was the perfect opportunity for Osbourne. He already had interest in Marist due to football recruiting. Hezi took Osbourne and his parents to Marist for a tour. The visit was all Osbourne needed for his mind to be set on Marist. There were two other colleges that offered HEOP programs and Osbourne was accepted into both. Osbourne had not heard back from Marist yet but he knew that was where he wanted to go. He declined the other two colleges and waited for his letter from Marist. Osbourne, “did not care what any other campus looked like, he didn’t want to go look at other schools, this was the place for him.”
Joy and relief washed over Osbourne when he received the large envelope from Marist. His acceptance into Marist was a day that changed the course of Osbourne’s life for the better. It was an incredible personal achievement for Osbourne but also for the whole family.
He became the first person in his entire family to ever attend college. Now, Glen set a trend in his family for his younger siblings. Jalen Osbourne, the second oldest, has followed in Glen’s footsteps and became the second Osbourne to attend college.
Hezi, who was considered family at this point, dropped Osbourne off the first day he started HEOP at Marist. Osbourne has continued to improve academically each year since his transfer to Ardsley. Prior to his senior year of high school, Osbourne had never written a paper. In his first year at Marist he earned a 3.5 GPA and made the honor roll.
The growth that Osbourne has made in the classroom is just as impressive as the growth he has made in his athletic career. During his freshman year, he was not allowed to play sports due to HEOP rules. Osbourne appreciated this rule and it allowed him to, “form a base as a student so that when he became an athlete he knew what to do.”
When sophomore year came around, he was able to play football again. Although Osbourne came to Marist for football, he was encouraged to join the track team. Osbourne ran track in high school so knew he was capable but felt rusty. The rust came off quickly as Osbourne immediately started seeing success on the track.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down just as fast as Osbourne runs. The uncertainty of the Marist track team and football team being allowed to compete pushed Osbourne to enter the transfer portal. The success he had on the track in a short span of time got the attention of many recruits. Osbourne decided to go to the University of Louisville for track and field to ensure that he would have a season in which to compete.
His time at Louisville would be short-lived. He spent the Fall semester of 2021 there but found that life at his new school just, “wasn’t really clicking.”
Osbourne had been through the process of transferring in high school and had experienced drastic changes in his environment. Moving from New York to Kentucky was a different type of culture shock. This combined with the stress of knowing that his father was experiencing health complications made it clear to Osbourne that he wanted to return closer to home. Osbourne realized this just in time. Right before he was about to compete in his first track meet, he told the Louisville coaches that he needed to transfer back. If Osbourne had competed in that meet, then he wouldn’t have been able to return to Marist.
Osbourne was back in Poughkeepsie by the spring semester of the same academic year. The skills and training he learned at Louisville have elevated his performance at Marist. Osbourne continues to break records and almost every single meet leads to a new personal record. The Marist record holder of multiple events continues to separate himself from the track competition and in the classroom at Marist.
Finding ways to gain separation in life can be such a valuable lesson. Making it possible to separate yourself from a community that is preventing you from reaching your full potential can be life-changing. It was for Osbourne. He believes, “If you feel like you are alone in an environment like that, you should try and separate yourself even more – don’t try to find comfort with negative influences.”
This summer Osbourne, interned with the NFL before returning to campus to take part in pre-season workouts for the football team, where he will compete for carries at running back. Taking on the challenge of being a two-sport athlete, Osborne is still finding ways to separate himself.
Edited by Jonathan Kinane and Andrew Hard
Photo from Marist Athletics