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Rich Pete continues to show that freshman can contribute immediately. He rushed for 753 yards and nine touchdowns on 100 carries in his first season as a Buffalo State Bengal.
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Rich Pete finished his indoor track season with Buffalo State’s top long jump score of 6.89 meters and finished third on the Bengals in triple jump with a score of 13.40 meters
Being a freshman can be overwhelming, but imagine trying to be a two-sport athlete without your parents to help you deal with a heavy workload and the daily stresses of college.
Ask anyone on the Buffalo State football team or track team though and they’ll tell you they know one person who can handle it and his name is Richard Pete, a business major from Utica.
Pete is a Thomas R. Proctor High School alum who was regarded as a big-time track kid and a very talented running back. In fact, he was a Class AA all-state running back, but he decided to take his talents to Buffalo State because he wanted to help rebuild the football program and join a winning track team.
“I decided to come to Buffalo State because on my visit, I really felt a connection with the players and I felt that they had the same goal that I had,” said Pete. “We basically all had the similar mentality of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to take the program and rebuilding it. For track, I really liked the coaches. On the boys’ team, they had just come off a SUNYAC championship, so I thought it was a great program to be at for me.”
Despite his small frame of five-foot-six, 150 pounds, Pete has shown that size doesn’t matter with his achievements thus far in his freshman year.
Pete thrived in his first season with Bengals, rushing for 753 yards and nine touchdowns on just 100 carries. He also caught 13 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns. He finished up with four NJAC Offensive Rookie of the Week Awards and was given an All-NJAC team Honorable Mention.
Pete began the season as a backup to Ismail “Manny” Brooks, but when an injury began to hamper Brooks, Pete had to step up in the Bengals’ first home game against Western Connecticut and he didn’t disappoint, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Pete would continue his success at home as he rushed for 436 yards and four touchdowns on 46 carries in Buffalo State’s four home games.
Brooks is the player whom Pete credits as the person who made his transition to Buffalo State the easiest.
“All I told him was that college was going to be quite the experience, but it’s what you put into it as far as your books and your football career and the profession that you’re going to eventually pursue,” said Brooks. “Basically I told him, if you’re not here for yourself, you’re here for your future family and I just introduced him to a couple guys around campus whom he was able to rally around.”
In indoor track, Pete had similar success as he finished the season with the Bengals’ best long jump of 6.89 meters and had the third best in triple jump with 13.4 meters.
“He’s a very solid jumper,” said track head coach Eugene Lewis. “My expectations is that he is going to continue to get better with the jumps and he’s going to be a very serious threat conference wise and he’s on the brink of becoming a national-caliber athlete on a consistent basis.”
Heading into the outdoor season, Coach Lewis says the plan is to get Pete involved in the 100 meters
“So far in his freshman year, he’s done very well,” Lewis said. “There were some things that we felt like he could’ve done a lot better, but the adjustment of doing two sports in high school and college is a little more difficult and I think he’s on the brink of getting a feel for that as we transition into outdoor, we expect him to do a lot better.”
“Right now, we’re just going to focus on the 100-meter,” Lewis continued. “He has the ability to go up to the 200-meters, but right now we’re going to really work on the 100.”