Catching up With Top Returners: Taylor Vernot

-Athlete Name: Taylor Vernot

-School: Wauseon High School

-Year of Graduation: Class of 2015

-Best time in a 5K race and in which meet: 18:24 at 2012 OHSAA State Championships D2 race

-Tell us how your summer training is going?:

My training is going well. I took a short break after the state track meet, but resumed my running and have gotten a great base in for this summer. I try to run with friends to help me stay motivated and get my miles in. I run 6- 7 days a week.

-What are your goals for the upcoming season?:

I have been a 2 time state qualifier and my goal is to improve on my PR and make it back to State. I want to have a healthy and successful season. Hopefully our team will also do well!

-How long have you been running and how did you get started?:

My dad runs 5Ks. When I was little, I would go and cheer for him at the local races that he ran. I competed in local kids races just for fun. ( In my first mile race when I was 8, I finished in last place). About 5th grade, I began to run the occasional 5K (maybe one or two a year). I didn't train, I would just show up and run. It was fun and I liked it. I didn't begin to train until Junior High Cross Country.

-Will you be competing anywhere out of state this season?:

I ran Foot Locker after my freshman season. I enjoyed that course and event. If I am healthy, then I will probably run it again this year.

-What is your favorite course to run in Ohio?:

My favorite course to run is Tiffin. I like the atmosphere, especially at the Tiffin Carnival. There is no repeats on the course and I love running by the tree line. The competition is great there and I love the challenge of pushing myself.

-What is the toughest course to run in Ohio?:

The Tiffin Course. It is usually muddy at regionals, which makes it tougher. It has turns and hills and a long home stretch.

-What meet during the regular season do you put extra emphasize on to compete well at?:

I try to do my best each week. If league counts as regular season, then that meet is the one I try to emphasize. Our league has Liberty Center in it. They raise the level of competition and they make our league better. They make each of us as individual runners better. If league is not considered regular season, then the Defiance Early Bird. It is our first meet and I always am anxious to see how my summer training has paid off.

-What is your favorite cross country race so far in your high school career?:

My freshman year at the State Meet. Our girls' team qualified as a team for that race. It was great to prepare with my teammates and experience that race with them. Running at the State Meet is an awesome experience. It is a chance to run with the best of the best.

-Favorite cross country memory?:

Finishing 4th last year at State. I PR'd at that event and it was amazing to finish that well. Running there is an unbelievable experience. I was the only one from my school (boy or girl) to make it to state. My teammates came to Hebron to cheer and support me. I felt blessed to have that support.

- When you are not running what is your favorite thing to do?:

When I am not running, I love to hang out with my friends.

-Favorite quote?:

"There's no telling how many miles you'll have to run while chasing a dream" -- Anonymous

-What shoes do you train in?:

Nike Structure 16

-What shoes do you race in?:

NIke Jana Star XC

-What's on your Ipod when you go out for runs?:

I usually run with my teammates, so I don't need an iPod, we just sing our own songs! We sing anything from Les Mis to Ke$ha.

-What professional athlete would you most like to meet?:

Jordan Hasay -- I admire her abilities and work habits. I like her mindset and approach to races. 

-What is something that most people don't know about you?:

Cupcake Decorating. I love to bake cupcakes. Last fall I took a class on cake decorating and have been cupcake decorating ever since.