University of Utah community mourns loss of track & field standout Lauren McCluskey

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Overnight Monday, the University of Utah and Utah Athletics suffered the tragic loss of one of their own, as senior track & field standout Lauren McCluskey was killed by a 37-year-old man in an apparent murder.

In a message to campus at 4 a.m. PT on Tuesday, Utah President Ruth V. Watkins described McCluskey, a communication major, as "an outstanding scholar," adding that "her family is understandably in shock at this news about their daughter. They are heartbroken."

McCluskey, age 21, was set to graduate in May 2019. She grew up in Pullman, attended Pullman High School and her parents are faculty at WSU. Remarks issued by her family said she loved to sing and had strength and determination. "She was dearly loved and will be greatly missed."

The Pac-12 issued a statement early Tuesday morning:

Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan released remarks early Tuesday morning as well:

“Last night, the University of Utah lost one of our own. Senior track standout Lauren McCluskey was tragically killed in a senseless act. This news has shaken not only myself but our entire University of Utah athletics family to its core. We have university counselors and psychologists on standby to support Lauren’s teammates, coaches and friends. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and all of those dear to her.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Utah track & field coach Kyle Kepler released a statement:

“Everyone associated with our program is devastated by the loss of Lauren. There are no words to express the emotions and grief we are experiencing right now. Lauren was a wonderful person, an excellent student and a dedicated member of our track and field team. She showed a relentless drive to improve every day over the last three and a half years and was always kind and supportive of her teammates. Those are just some of the reasons why her loss has hit us so hard.”

The University of Utah cancelled classes Tuesday. Watkins encouraged students and staff to seek out the University Counseling Center and Women's Resource Center, which have group and individual counseling services available. A vigil is planned for Wednesday evening on campus.