Malina Hatton 

Do you ever wonder what a hard worker looks like? Well, meet Malina Hatton, a former Tenacity player and a recent West Point Military Academy graduate, Malina is now a student at Harvard Medical School. As one of just sixteen West Point cadets to attend medical school, Malina’s story is inspiring, and she credits parts of her success to important lessons learned on the lacrosse field. The biggest factor? Knowing her why.

The Path to West Point

In the middle of her freshman year of high school, Malina Hatton suffered through every athlete’s worst nightmare. After stepping on a mouthguard (yes, a mouthguard), Malina’s season ended when she partially tore the Lisfranc ligament in her foot. She would need surgery, and this was the first time her sports career would be interrupted. And it changed everything. “Going through that injury recovery process made me see myself in medicine,” she says. Quickly, Hatton knew she wanted to become an orthopedic surgeon, and she needed a school that could “support my athletic and academic needs”. She committed to play Division One lacrosse at West Point Military Academy, a school that wasn’t on Malina’s radar until she got a call from the coach. At that point, she realized she wanted to go there even if lacrosse wasn’t an option. “It was a really great fit for everything I was looking for,” she says.

Knowing Your WHY

It takes a special kind of person to survive four years at a military academy while also playing a D1 college sport. Hatton recognized the importance of knowing her ‘why’ factor (a concept we emphasize here at Tenacity); “I’m always keeping my focus on the bigger picture, which for me is to serve patients and soldiers” she said. Hatton joined Tenacity the summer before her freshman year of high school and recognized that Tenacity helps athletes not only grow as players but as people too. “I know I can go after whatever I put my mind to, all I can do is grow and improve. That mindset began with Tenacity, I learned how to overcome bumps in the road”, Hatton reflected. Malina also credits the club and lacrosse with helping her learn time management and communication skills, which are key when handling so many responsibilities.

The Transition to Medical School

When Hatton applied for permission to attend medical school, West Point agreed under the condition that Hatton would return to complete her active service requirement. As one of just sixteen West Point cadets attending medical school, Hatton knows that playing lacrosse has given her an edge. “I just feel like I have a lot of time back,” she says – which is not something that other students at Harvard Medical School can identify with. “Lacrosse has taught me to work within a team dynamic… I know when to lead, and I know when to be a follower” she says.

Words of Wisdom for Future College Athletes

Malina credits her support systems – family and coaches – for her success. She emphasizes finding the right fit for you, and while that means you might have to make some compromises, it’s worth it in the long run.

She offers smart advice on being present – in lacrosse and life. “Focus on being where your feet are,” says Malina. “Put distractions aside and focus on where you are!”

The Tenacity Project was just the beginning for Malina Hatton.  After she conquers Harvard Medical School, Malina is on track to become an orthopedic surgeon. Hatton knows that she can go after whatever she puts her mind to, and welcomes the hills and valleys that come with life. Without a doubt, Tenacity Builds Strong Women.