Apple Valley junior Colton Johnson Taylor is the school’s No. 1 boys’ tennis singles player. He earned that position last season and was a South Suburban all-conference selection a year ago.
Here is a closer look at Johnson Taylor:
Q: The best movie I’ve seen in the past year?
A: “Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
Q: Three words my friends or teammates might use to describe me?
A: Intense, perfectionist and hardworking.
Q: How did you get started in tennis?
A: My fourth-grade teacher was a tennis fanatic. He used to show us tennis matches in class. One day he showed us Roger Federer vs. Andy Roddick in the Australian Open in 2007. I was mesmerized by Federer in that match and have been in love with the sport since.
Q: At my first varsity practice, I felt …
A: … like I had to prove myself. I was young and got some flak for making the team.
Q: What did you work on most before the start of this season?
A: From last season, I think what really separated me from the top guys at No. 1 singles was my serve and transition game. I really have worked to improve those for this season.
Q: What is your most memorable moment as a high school athlete?
A: I have two really memorable moments. The first came in my eighth-grade year. I played fourth singles, and was playing in the deciding match against St. Paul Harding. It was probably one of the closest matches I have every played. I ended up losing 6-7, 7-6, 6-7 (10-8) in a third-set tiebreak. Even though I lost I think it was a major learning experience on how to deal with pressure, especially with me being so young. Also, working my butt off my 10th-grade year to get the top singles spot. It really showed me hard work pays off, which I believe is one of the biggest things to learn from high school sports.
Q: What are your goals for the upcoming season?
A: I have set some goals with my coaches that I would like to keep private. Overall, my goals really are to work hard and give everything every match.
Q: What school is your biggest rival, and why?
A: Eastview. A portion of the kids from the city of Apple Valley go to Eastview. There is a pretty nasty rivalry between our two schools in every sport.
Q: If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be?
A: One-loss elimination in the section tournament. I don’t necessarily think it’s that big of a deal in our sport, but for others I think it puts a lot of pressure on kids. I think it’s hard with the limited time during the school year, but in a perfect world I think I would change that.
Q: Who is your favorite college or pro sports team and why?
A: Don’t really have a favorite team but I love Roger Federer. Just type into YouTube ‘‘Federer highlights’’ and you will see why.
Q: What is the best sports advice you ever received?
A: Set strong goals. If you come up short and feel like you did everything you possibly could to achieve them, then you have nothing to be ashamed of.