Courtney Frerichs

Courtney Frerichs is an Olympic and Med School Hopeful

Chemistry and Psychology | College of Arts and Sciences
Graduation Year: 2016

Where is UMKC taking you?

I hope that UMKC will take me to a professional running career, then to medical school and a career as an orthopedist.

What motto do you live by?

Anything can happen. I learned that firsthand after my breakout track season in 2013, when I became the first All-American female track athlete from UMKC. My athletic success has far surpassed anything I ever dreamed I could accomplish, and it has made me reset my goals. Now my dream is to train for the Olympics.

How do you find time for academics and athletics?

During peak training season, I run 70 miles a week. But sports has always been part of my life, and I’m used to being busy and juggling both. In high school in Nixa, Missouri, I was a gymnast and a soccer player. I love being a student athlete, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I owe much of my success (including sixth place at the U.S. Championships in the 3,000-meter steeplechase) to my distance coach at UMKC, James Butler. He challenges me every day to not only become a better runner, but also a better student and person. I am so thankful to have him as a coach and mentor.

Since entering college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned that when I think I can’t go any further, I always can. Being a double major and an athlete has presented some difficult times, but I have found that if I just keep my head on straight and think positively, I can always make it and succeed at an even higher level than I thought was possible.


What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received from a professor?

Being a chemistry major, I have a wonderful adviser and teacher, Dr. Andrea Drew Gounev. She is an amazing mentor and really helped me figure out my life when I was trying to work out all of details of doing a fifth year. I was very concerned that taking five years for my undergrad would be looked down upon by medical schools.  She quickly told me that I should not worry about that at all and that no medical school is going to look down on me for pursuing my dreams of training for the Olympics.

What’s your greatest fear?

Failure.  I hate disappointing others and myself. Because of this, though, I feel that I work extremely hard to avoid failing so that at the end of the day, I know I gave it my all.

What is one word that best describes you?

That would definitely be ‘perfectionist.’ I strive to be the very best in all I do, and I am not satisfied until I have completed the task at hand. I know this quality has gotten me to where I am today.