QUICK Q&A:  TAYLOR PERKINS, LAKEVILLE NORTH

Perkins will be vying for her fifth consecutive trip to the girls' cross-country state meet this fall. She finished 38th a year ago. Perkins also has won the Class 2A, Section 1 crown.

Three words or phrases your friends or teammates might use to describe you? Competitive, dedicated, funny.

What are your goals for the 2012-13 school year as an athlete? Go out with a bang! I have been around [the sport] since seventh grade, and I really want to make this year my best one yet.

How do you balance school and sports during the year? I sacrifice a lot in order to make school and running my priorities, and always stay optimistic. That way I always feel on top of things.

At your first varsity practice, you felt ... pretty excited, but intimidated, too. I just fought to keep up with the varsity girls, and my coaches gave me a lot of confidence that I belonged on the varsity roster.

What is your favorite meal before a race? I have liver and spinach the night before every race. It's nasty, but my parents make me eat it!

You know you have an edge on an opponent when ... they tell me how nervous they are before the race.

If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be? I wish it was easier to be a three-sport athlete. I quit basketball my sophomore year to focus on my other two sports, and I still really miss playing.

In 10 years, you hope you're ... running professionally and have a family.

Do you have a secret talent -- and if so, what is it? Thanks to my grandma, I know how to knit.

RON HAGGSTROM

Perkins will be vying for her fifth consecutive trip to the girls' state cross country meet this fall. Perkins finished 38th a year ago. She has also previously won the Class 2A, Section 1 crown. Here is a closer look at Perkins: Three words or phrases my friends or teammates might use to describe me? Competitive; dedicated; funny. What are your goals for the 2012-2013 school year as an athlete? Go out with a bang! I have been around since seventh grade and I really want to make this year my best one yet. How do you balance school and sports during the year? I sacrifice a lot in order to make school and running my priorities, and always stay optimistic. That way I always feel on top of things. At my first varsity practice, I felt ... pretty excited, but intimidated, too. I just fought to keep up with the varsity girls, and my coaches gave me a lot of confidence that I belonged on the varsity roster. What is your favorite meal before a race? I have liver and spinach the night before every race. It's nasty, but my parents make me eat it! I know I have an edge on an opponent when ... they tell me how nervous they are before the race. If you could change one thing about high school sports, what would it be? I wish it was easier to be a three-sport athlete. I quit basketball my sophomore year to focus on my other two sports and I still really miss playing. In 10 years, I hope I'm ... running professionally and have a family. Do you have a secret talent -- and if so, what is it? Thanks to my grandma, I know how to knit. RON HAGGSTROM