Perkins helps lead Bulldogs to district titles in basketball, cross-country

Chris Bowie
New Franklin senior Tyler Perkins always liked to be near the front when it came to competing in cross-country for the Bulldogs. While finishing in the top 15 all four years at the district cross-country meet, Perkins also helped lead his team to its first ever district title this past season.

New Franklin senior Tyler Perkins couldn’t have predicted the kind of year he had to start the 2019-20 school year.

Although Perkins entered the school year with high hopes, nobody would have predicted that the Bulldogs’ cross-country team would win a district title as a team and advance to state.

But that’s exactly what happened as Perkins help lead New Franklin to its first-ever district title in the history of the program.

But it gets better.

After a successful season in cross-country, Perkins delivered on another front with the help of his teammates by winning back to back district titles in basketball.

Not only did the Bulldogs finish first in the conference with just one loss, they also closed out the regular season with a record of 24-1 overall heading into the district title as the No. 1 seed. New Franklin went on to win a district title over Smithton but lost in the next round of the state playoffs against a good Eugene team to finish the season at 27-2.

While running cross-country for four years and playing basketball all four years at New Franklin, Perkins said he would probably choose basketball as his favorite sport.

“It’s a lot more competitive to me and a lot more team bonding,” Perkins said.

It also turned out to be the most rewarding sport for the senior standout. Along with earning all-conference three years running at New Franklin, Perkins was also named to the all-district team as a junior and senior in addition to the KRES All-Star Team and the KMZU?Dream Team.

Perkins also made sure his final season was his best while averaging 15.3 ppg along with 6.4 rpg, 4.6 apg and 3.3 spg. He also shot 49 percent from the field, 39 percent from the three-point line and 65 percent from the foul line.

New Franklin coach Ross Dobson also made a strong case for Perkins. “I feel that if we did not have Tyler we wouldn’t be in the conservation as co-conference champs,” Dobson said. “He would also guard the opponents best ball handler or second best player.”

Let us not forget that Perkins also surpassed the 1,000th point mark in his career on the same night as teammate Gavin Bishop.

He said getting his 1,000th point along with winning back to back district titles was probably the highlight of his career.

“We hadn’t done that in like 10 years and the fact that we did it back to back felt pretty good,” Perkins said. “As for getting my 1,000th point, I thought that was pretty cool, especially with Gavin getting it on the same night. That really doesn’t happen often.”

Of course Perkins had plenty of great games throughout his career in a New Franklin uniform. However, the one that stands out to him is the game this year at New Franklin. While scoring a season-high 21 points, Perkins said he liked this game because it was a high paced game and his best game all-around. He said it was also nice beating Slater in their house.

Although Perkins had plenty of good memories while playing basketball at New Franklin, he said he will miss the team bonding because that was really special to him. The Saturday morning breakfasts with his “brothers” also ranks up there.

Perkins said he is also leaving New Franklin with no regrets. With a district title in cross-country and two in basketball, Perkins said in a modest way that he expected his team to go 27-2 and win another district title but wishes they could have gotten two more wins.

Meanwhile, in cross-country, Perkins showed why the Bulldogs were district champs. It wasn’t about crossing the finish line first, Perkins just wanted to help out his team in any possible way.

“As long as I helped out the team, that’s all that mattered honestly,”?Perkins said. “I think the thing that I am going to miss the most about running cross-country is the bus rides home. They were pretty fun.”

As one of the top runners in the state in Class 1, Perkins recalls his junior year while running at Marshall against several larger schools. While the Bulldogs may not have finished in the top five in that meet, Perkins established himself as one of the elite on the big stage by turning in a career best time of 18 minutes, 46 seconds.

He said that was his best meet that he remembers.

The nickname “TP” followed Perkins as well in track. While leading the Bulldogs for three years, Perkins shined in this sport as well while placing fifth at state as a junior in the 800 meter run.

The 800 meter run would turn out to be Perkins best event while breaking the school record in a time of 2:04.4

Perkins also ran the 200-meter dash, which he believes he had a chance to break that record as well this season if not for the coronavirus pandemic. He also ran a leg on the 4 x 400-meter relay team, which he considers his favorite because of the team bonding.

“I really liked the competitiveness in track, and it was something that I was good at,” Perkins said. “Although I liked the relays the best, the 800 was probably my best event because I felt like my body was meant for it. I just wish I could have ran at state one more time. I know there are no guarantees that I would have made it back, but it would have been nice to try for another record and possibly a medal in three events.”

Perkins will take his talents to Central Methodist University in Fayette this fall not as an athlete but a student with a major in some type of business.

As for what he likes to do doing his spare time, Perkins said he likes to play basketball, bow fish and just hang out with his friends.

“I have been doing a lot of all three since March along with working,”?Perkins said.

With a heart for competing in whatever sport it is, Perkins said the thing that he will miss the most is probably competing in sports. “I’m definitely going to miss it,” Perkins said of the competition. But I wouldn’t change any of it because we won back to back district titles in basketball and won the school’s first district title in cross-country.”

As for graduation on June 20th, Perkins said the only thing that really matters to him honestly is that he gets to walk up on the stage with his brothers.

“As long as we are having it, that is all that matters honestly,”?Perkins said.

Spoken like a true team player.