Navy men’s lacrosse senior attackman Tyler Perreten recently spoke with PressBox about his experiences in Annapolis, going to flight school after his lacrosse career wraps up and more. The Crofton, Md., native was in the midst of a breakout year in 2020 before the season was shut down — he posted a team-high 15 points (11 goals, 4 assists) in five games. Perreten graduated from Severn School.
PressBox: How did you become interested in lacrosse?
Tyler Perreten: My dad, [Todd], grew up playing baseball, and we would go to tee-ball practice when I was little. He just couldn’t stand the pace of the play. Growing up in Maryland — he went to Arundel High School — he wanted me to get into lacrosse and we just started playing lacrosse. I was like 5 years old. I was playing baseball and lacrosse in the spring at the same time. The next year, I quit baseball and just stuck with lacrosse. We’ve now been in love with it ever since.
PB: Who was the biggest influence on your game growing up?
TP: It was [my dad]. He’d just take me to all the practices. He didn’t really know much about the sport. He’s never played before, but he would always pick up his stick and play with me. You could just tell the time he put into it and just taking me to practice and showing up to all the games. It was just awesome to have him there supporting me and teaching me what he knew. It’s funny, now I look back and it’s like he really didn’t know anything once you get to this level. We always joke around about that.
PB: What are your favorite memories from playing at Severn?
TP: Definitely my senior year, being voted captain and then going to the [MIAA A Conference] semifinal game. Beating St. Paul’s in the quarterfinal was a great memory for us. We haven’t been that successful at Severn, and making it to the semis was just an awesome feeling, getting to play at Homewood. You’re playing with your best friends. It was a blast that year.
PB: Why did you choose to come to Navy?
TP: I committed on my birthday, Jan. 29, which was awesome — celebrating my birthday and getting the call from [former Navy coach Rick Sowell] asking me to come [to Navy] was just a really good feeling. I think just growing up around Annapolis, seeing the people and seeing the way they carried themselves, I think I was just attracted to it and wanted to become one of those people. Watching the program growing up, going to some of the Navy football games, the whole idea of coming to the Naval Academy was really appealing to me. This whole desire to serve, being around these people, everybody’s awesome. I truly enjoy it. I’m excited to finish the season and get on with my career.
PB: What was your year at the Naval Academy Prep School like?
TP: That year was fun. It’s tough up there, no doubt. I think when I committed here, I always thought I would go to the Naval Academy Prep School. It’s just an extra year to prepare yourself for the academics and getting better at lacrosse, so I had no problems going there. Playing there, going there with the guys, those guys become your best friends because it’s not easy up there. I firmly believe going through hard stuff with your friends makes you guys closer and develops more meaningful relationships. Getting to play lacrosse up there was awesome.
PB: What’s a typical day like for you at the Naval Academy?
TP: Typically, we have formation at 7:00. You have classes until lunch around 12:00. We’ll hit a lift or do some extra shooting during that lunch period, then classes at 1:30 again and then practice starts at 3:45. Practice usually ends [at 6:30], get back to your room, shower, go down to dinner and start doing some homework. Hopefully try to get to bed by 11, that’s the goal.
PB: What is it like to play in an Army-Navy lacrosse game?
TP: Oh my goodness, it’s the most thrilling thing in the world. It was so unfortunate [most of] last season got canceled, couldn’t get to play that game. But sophomore year [and] freshman year, it’s so exciting. The rivalry is so deep. You will never get more pumped up for a game than that one. Everybody’s just so locked in. It’s always such a physical game. There are big hits. And just the crowd atmosphere, it’s always our most attended game. It just gets you going. Big goosebumps just thinking about it.
PB: What’s your favorite memory so far at Navy?
TP: I would say just the whole season last year, being honest — just being able to contribute to the team, getting on the field with guys I’ve been playing with since NAPS and stuff. Lacrosse is the best sport, I think, because it’s so fun going to practice every day and just loving the process of what you do to achieve your goals has honestly been awesome. So I’d say last year finally being able to contribute and help this team win.
PB: What’s your favorite thing about the Naval Academy and Annapolis?
TP: My favorite thing about the Naval Academy is definitely just the people — the guys on the team and my roommates. You’re truly surrounded by people with the same goals and same desires, so that makes it a lot more fun knowing that everybody’s got your back and these are just your best friends for life. My favorite thing about Annapolis is just the food, for sure. There are plenty of good places to eat downtown.
PB: Who’s your best friend on the team and what’s a story that underscores your friendship?
TP: My best friend on the team also happens to be my roommate, Colin Meehan. We went to NAPS together. We’re in the same company, so I get the pleasure of living with him. We just do everything together — always going to practice together, back and forth. We have a funny relationship. Us on the field, we’re very competitive. He plays defensive midfield and I play attack. He gets on me. Whoever wins the battle that day — if I score or if he takes the ball away or something — if we come back to the room [with] our other two roommates, it’s just like a chirping battle. We’re always just going at it and stuff. It’s pretty fun.
PB: Who was a player you looked up to early in your career at Navy?
TP: Definitely the biggest one I looked up to was Jack Ray when I got here freshman year — Jack Ray and Casey Rees, for sure. Those are the two big names when I became more involved and was committed here. They were seniors when I was a freshman, and just seeing the way those guys carried themselves and their ability to play lacrosse, it was just awesome. They’re seniors and they’re looking at us as freshmen, just trying to forge the path for us. Jack Ray was always just a huge help, always willing to talk to you and go out of his way for you. Just really meant a lot to me playing attack as well, just always knew he had your back.
PB: What are your goals for after lacrosse given that you service selected Navy Pilot?
TP: I go down to Pensacola, [Fla.], with my roommate Colin Meehan — hope we’ll live together down there. Go through flight school — I’m thinking about trying to get [MH-60 Sierra] helicopters, that’s what I want to fly. Hopefully I can get that. Don’t really know where to go from there, but [those] are the beginning steps for the first two years.
PB: Why did you service select Navy Pilot?
TP: Being around the Yard, you meet a lot of officers in all the different communities. I thought Navy Pilot fit my personality, with the officers I’ve met, the best. It seems like those people work hard but they also know how to have fun. They’re not always so serious and stuff. They know how to play around. That’s how I see myself. But when it comes down to it, you’ve got to study. You’ve got to learn. This is your aircraft. They’re very serious about what they do. I just think it’s the best community for my personality.
PB: What advice would you give to younger players?
TP: I would say just stick with it. You’ve got to develop a routine. You’re going to have to go hit the wall. You’re going to have to shoot. Just know that all your opponents and competitors are shooting and stuff. My biggest philosophy is the bare minimum for your sport is just showing up to practice for the two hours and giving your all. If you’re just doing that, you’re falling behind. You’ve always got to find out ways to develop your game and keep improving.
PB: What did you do last spring as far as lacrosse after the season was canceled?
TP: Me and my brother, [Jacob], we would play lacrosse every day. We were doing pretty much two-a-days, just shooting and working out and stuff because really, there was just nothing else to do. My brother’s been great. He played in high school, but he’s in college now so he doesn’t play anymore. But he’s always been fantastic at just coming to shoot with me in the goals and stuff. We got into a pretty good routine for a while.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Navy Athletics