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Editor and Contributing Writer

Photograph: Brylen Tyler – St. Landry Now Athlete of the Week – Sponsored by St. Landry Now and Tikey-T’s. (Photograph by Bobby Ardoin.)

Describing the final outdoor track season for Brylen Tyler is as interesting as it is unusual.

Tyler completed his athletic career at J.S. Clark Leadership Academy with a second straight state championship and a string of first place finishes in sprint and field events points that when accumulated, helped carry his team to a number of meet victories.

At some meets Tyler compiled as many as 37 points, something that has perhaps been unmatched in decades by other St. Landry Parish track athletes.

His ongoing success story and his second consecutive individual state championship in the Class B 200 meters event also helped Tyler quality as one of the St. Landry Now Athletes of The Week.

It was quite a season though with a dramatic ending for the JSLCA athlete who intends to extend his career at the college level.

Throughout most of 2022, Tyler was an unbeaten commodity both on the track and in the jumping pits.

“I had a 13-meet streak going where I didn’t lose any of the races that I was in. I was also on pace to beat the state record in the 100 meters,” Tyler said during a Tuesday afternoon interview.

Then during an April regional round meet, Tyler pulled a hamstring and that changed the direction of his focus with perhaps the most important and impending meet of his career.

Before the injury Tyler was defeating other competitors in the 100, 200 and 400 meters in addition to winning first places in the long jump.

For the state meet in May, Tyler was a qualifier in the long jump and the 200, an event that he won at the 2021 event.

Making A Tough Decision

At the state meet Tyler was ready for the long jump and began taking his warm-up and measured jumps.

“I went through the jumps and I scratched in all of them. My best long jump of the year was 22-9 (feet) and I thought I could do well. I was hitting the board well, but I was scratching (meaning the jumps were not recorded) and then I felt the hamstring tighten. I decided not to jump again because I wanted to defend my championship in the 200,” Tyler added.

Reaching the starting blocks for the state 200 meters proved to be quite potentially harrowing story, Tyler said.

“I heard them announce the calls for the 200 when I was still at the long jump and I was getting to the entrance (for the 200) and the people there wouldn’t let me in. I decided I had to do some sweet talking. I pleaded with them that I was the winner of the 200 the previous year and I had qualified,” Tyler added.

Eventually meet officials waved Tyler through and he then fitted into the blocks in Lane 8, just before the start of the race.

The hamstring tightness that Tyler felt in the long jump pit didn’t bother him as he pulled in front at the finish line to win another state title by inches.

“The guy who finished second and I both hit the line with our heads down and extended and I was the winner by about a nose, said Tyler, who was timed in 22.23 (seconds).

His personal best time in the 200 this year was 21.9 at the Northside High meet, Tyler said.

What’s Ahead

Tyler, who is the grandson of former Opelousas High standout middle distance runner Miller Chevis, said that he plans to attend Centenary University in Shreveport and compete in track and basketball.

“I haven’t signed yet, but I have spoken to the coaches there and they want me up there. I still have to work out a few things with the paperwork involved, but I don’t think that will be a problem,” Tyler noted.

In track Centenary plans to use Tyler in the sprint events as well as possibly utilizing him as a jumper.

In basketball, the assistant coaches at Centenary feel that he will play either a small forward or a shooting guard position, said Tyler.

“I played both of those positions when I was in high school in addition to the power forward. Either way I think I will be playing two sports when I get up there,” Tyler said.