Shakopee senior shortstop Aimee Menden would like nothing more than a repeat of last year, a trip back to the softball state tournament.
The Sabres earned their first state tournament appearance in 31 years last season. It was their third trip in school history.
Here is a closer look at Menden:
The best movie I've seen in the last year? "The Hunger Games." I just saw it, and want to see it again already. Even though I liked the books better, it was still amazing.
Three songs I never skip on my iPod are ... "Love You Long Time" by the Black Eyed Peas; "You Da One" by Rihanna; "The Show Goes On" by Lupe Fiasco.
Three words my friends or teammates might use to describe me? Athletic; passionate; leader.
How do you balance school and sports during the year? Balancing school and sports can be a challenge. Right after school you go to practice until 5:45 and by the time you get home it's around 6. Then you have to eat and do homework and sleep. It's all about putting what is important first.
How did you get started playing softball? I have always been a huge tomboy and had a real love for sports. With four uncles who were known for their baseball, football and basketball skills, I have always had them pushing me to do my best, or playing catch with me, or even helping me with things that I need to improve on. My parents always gave us the option to play whatever sports we wanted, and ever since I was 9 I've played softball and loved it! With an older sister who played, she inspired me, as well as the rest of my family, to succeed in something I love to do.
At my first varsity practice, I felt ... scared! I was terrified at my first varsity practice. The pressure was on to do good because Coach [Neil] Johnson was watching your every move. Coach [Craig] Kocon and Johnson always say they see everything, so as an underclassman I was terrified of doing anything wrong. After a while, I loosened up and it ended up being a great time.
Who is your favorite college or pro sports team and why? I'm your original Minnesota Twins fan. I have loved the sport of baseball/softball forever. I try to attend at least one game a year. Of course, I'm a huge Joe Mauer fan, as well as Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer, but seeing as he is not a Twin anymore, I've decided to switch to Danny Valencia! GO TWINS!
In 10 years, I hope I'm ... a dental hygienist on my way to becoming a dentist. I have had a passion for teeth ever since I was a sophomore in high school and this has pushed me into wanting to work with people and help them improve their teeth.
What is the best sports advice you ever received? To try your hardest and have fun. At the end of the day, even if it's a 'L' on the record instead of a 'W,' you need to walk off the field with your head held high and know that you tried your hardest. If you didn't, that is what you need to work on at practice and it is what you need to fix for the next game. But most of all, to have fun! If you're not having fun, you're not enjoying yourself and playing softball is all about having fun while doing something you love.