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East Lansing’s two-sport star leads by example

Grant Essenmacher

EAST LANSING, Mich.-- Kentre Patterson is quiet, but still has found a way to be a leader. The East Lansing High senior, who stars in track and football, figured out his sophomore year that leadership comes from more than words.

Patterson is an accomplished athlete in both sports. He is a state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and is favored to repeat this year. On the football field, Patterson is a three-time CAAC all-conference honoree and a member of the all-state honorable mention team last season.

Patterson, who has committed to Illinois State to run track and play football, described his leadership in a mature way.

“I feel like it’s my job to help others out and not just worry about myself. It’s just my job,” Patterson said.

Patterson’s football coach, Bill Feraco, also saw Patterson’s maturity as an asset.

“His presence alone was important. He attended everything. He worked at everything,” Feraco said. “Maybe not so much from the verbal command, but what is more important is action, the behavior, modeling things we wanted to have done from a behavior standpoint, on and off the field.”

Pat Murray, East Lansing’s track coach, said he frequently showcased Patterson’s form, abilities and work ethic during practices. The Trojans watched Patterson to learn proper stretching, and sprinting and hurdle drills in track.

Credit Kentre Patterson
Patterson after winning last year’s state title in the 110m.

“We first of all use him as an example, then we explain them to the kids themselves,” Murray said.

Patterson downplays his athletic accomplishments, especially the state title, trying to remain humble despite all of his success.

“It (the state title) was cool. I mean, I didn’t run the time I wanted to run, but I did what I had to do to win. This year I hope to get my time down more, and hopefully break a record,” Patterson said.

Patterson has learned lessons from both sports. In football, he described the need for toughness and a physical presence. In track, he has learned how to work on things on his own, and drive himself to succeed.  

“I know I can focus on myself and work on what I need to work on,” Patterson said about running track. “In football, the main thing is being physical on both sides. You just have to have the mindset of having that dog in you, but you have to be a team and come together as one.”

Patterson wants to continue to improve as an athlete, which is why he wants to play two sports in college.

“As far as I know, Coach Brock (football) at Illinois State is really hard on his players as well, just how Coach Feraco is,” Patterson said. “They will call you out, old school types of coaches.”

Credit Kentre Patterson
Patterson in the end zone following a score for the Trojans last fall.

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