Success Stories in College Sports: Zach Winthrop, MD ’09

As Chief Resident of Boston Children’s Hospital, Zach Winthrop, MD ’09 applies some of the skills he learned as a high school and college athlete to his profession. “As a student athlete, I learned compartmentalization and efficiency while pushing myself 
to limits I didn’t know I had,” he said. 

A 12-season athlete at Friends Select, Zach was a dedicated member of the soccer, basketball, and baseball teams. He won Most Valuable Player honors, four-time All-League selection, and the Friends Select Faculty Leadership Award. His positive influence on his peers carried over from the field to the classroom, and Zach served as president and vice-president of student government his junior and senior years, respectively. He was also the first recipient of the The Amy Wolgin Wiener ’77 Graduation Prize, awarded to a graduating senior who represents in character the ideals of Friends Select. In 2016, he was inducted into Friends Select’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Zach continued his soccer career as a Division I athlete while majoring in biology and minoring in art at Lafayette College. He was named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll each year, and chosen by his peers and faculty to give the graduation speech, as well as receive the college’s highest honor, the George Wharton Pepper Prize. As a collegiate athlete, Zach was aware that many of his Lafayette teammates came from more competitive high school programs; however, he felt that was to his advantage. Zach said, “Friends Select was frequently considered the underdog of the Friends League, but that’s what brought out the best in my teammates and me; we worked incredibly hard, developed integrity, and took pride in our school.” 

Before heading to medical school at Penn State’s College of Medicine, Zach returned to Friends Select to teach upper school biology and coach the middle school soccer team. One of his favorite aspects of coaching was the enthusiasm he saw from the team. “Students varied in technical skill, but those who had to work the hardest had the most heart and were the most important players on the team,” he said. Zach feels his Friends Select experience encouraged him to be well-rounded. “I graduated from Friends Select as an athlete but also as someone with a passion for science wanting to be a doctor,” he said. “Sports were not my entire identity, which is unique for a college athlete.”