Gophers’ Dock, Greenlund balance cross country with medical school aspirations

The redshirt juniors have had their best seasons with Minnesota while planning for medical school in the future.

Sarah Mai

Sarah Mai

by Brendan O'Brien

Minnesota cross country runners Carissa Dock and Lindsey Greenlund have both enjoyed the busy 2019 season despite the added stress that both of them face as they look to their future in medical school. 

After applying to and interviewing with several medical schools, Dock’s top four choices are Duke, UC San Diego, Minnesota and Boston University. Greenlund has been accepted into Loyola University Chicago and Saint Louis University. She has also interviewed at Tulane and Minnesota with more interviews coming up.

Both have at least one parent in the medical field who was an inspiration growing up. Dock and Greenlund also had specific moments when they knew they wanted to work in the medical field. For Dock, it was when she interned at the medical device company Minnetronix, and patients came in to talk about how the devices she and others worked on changed their lives.

“In that moment I realized that talking to patients and seeing my work was affecting lives was something I loved and something I wanted to be able to see for the rest of [my] career,” Dock said.

Greenlund knew she wanted to go to medical school when she was shadowing others in the field and saw patients coming in to receive their medication.

“It made me realize we are all just people who just need help sometimes and it’s just such a special role as a physician to provide that help and care,” Greenlund said. 

Dock and Greenlund said one reason the process has been easier is that women’s head coach Sarah Hopkins has helped alleviate the pressure.

“One of the biggest things has been coach Hopkins,” Greenlund said. “Her flexibility with me has been so helpful because she’s helped me to move my workouts to days that I won’t be missing and to take an extra day off if things are just crazy.”

Dock agrees. 

“I think it’s super helpful that [she] is super encouraging of us having big goals and big pursuits inside … and outside of running,” Dock said. “I think it’s really cool and unique that she cares so much about us as athletes but also as people.”

At the beginning of the season, Hopkins was not sure how the two runners would handle cross country, medical school interviews and the rest of undergraduate school. But now she is impressed by how Dock and Greenlund have been determined and willing to make sacrifices throughout the season in order to reach their goals.

“To see these two be able to manage all of that stuff … and keep these balls in the air and do them all so well,” Hopkins said, “Speaks to their personalities, their drive, their sort of laser focus and being willing to put a lot of other things on the back burner.” 

The redshirt juniors recorded career-best times in a six-kilometer race at the Nuttycombe Invitational earlier this season and will race for the Gophers at the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 3. Both have had similar mindsets when training and competing this season.

“My main goal was to run only races I am proud of,” Greenlund said. “That for me has been really good because I’ve realized throughout these years as long as I just do everything I can and put it all out there and give it what I have for that day, I’ll be pretty happy with it.”

“It’s a super unique experience and we’ll never really have the chance to be on a team like this again in our lives,” Dock said. “So I think that my mantra for the year was just at this point I have nothing to lose so just try to enjoy [the] moment and give it all when you can.”