Lauren McCluskey, University of Utah student killed by sex offender, remembered as ‘standout’ athlete

Lauren McCluskey, University of Utah student killed by sex offender, remembered as ‘standout’ athlete

Lauren McCluskey, the University of Utah student who died Monday after being shot to death by a registered sex offender, is being remembered as a star athlete and beloved daughter.

She was supposed to graduate next May. She was 21.

Before attending the University of Utah, McCluskey had her pick of about five other schools, she told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in 2014. The then-teen from Washington chose Utah because she “felt it was right.”

“I decided that Utah was the best fit for me,” McCluskey said at the time. “The major was a great fit and also the coach really liked me and specialized in the high jump. I also like that it had a lot of student support.”

Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said Tuesday that McCluskey did more than just earn her position on the team, she was a “senior track standout.” She was known for beating her own personal records, as seen in team stats posted online. 

“This news has shaken not only myself but our entire University of Utah athletics family to its core,” Harlan tweeted.

In a statement following the tragic news, University President Ruth V. Watkins said the senior majoring in communications was also an “outstanding scholar.”

McCluskey’s parents say they will remember their daughter’s strength and determination, as seen on the university’s website with information about a Wednesday night vigil on campus. They also said their daughter loved to sing. 

More: Registered sex offender police say killed University of Utah student found dead

McCluskey’s body was found in a car on campus Monday night. Police say a man she briefly dated shot and killed her. They later chased Melvin Rowland, a 37-year-old registered sex offender, into a Salt Lake City church where he was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Rowland lied to McCluskey about his name, age and criminal history during the past month when they dated, her parents told the The Salt Lake Tribune. 

Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets

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