Lauren Henkel, a lifelong Rockville Centre resident and accomplished athlete that was named head coach of women’s cross country and track and field at Molloy College last month, died suddenly on July 29. She was 35.
Born on June 12, 1982, Henkel grew up in the village and graduated South Side High School in 2000. She earned a degree in studio art from New York University in 2004 and continued at NYU to receive a master’s degree in sports business in 2010.
A four-year member of the women’s track and field team there, Henkel earned NCAA All-America honors in the high jump three times. She tallied 11 NYU individual and relay records, and was a nine-time University Athletic Association champion in a variety of events. She was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2010.
After graduating, she worked as an assistant coach with the NYU women's track and field team from 2004 to 2006 and the men's team from 2007 to 2009. Henkel then served as an assistant for both teams until 2012. She also worked as an assistant equipment room manager at NYU's Palladium Athletic Facility since 2006.
Henkel continued to run for the New York Athletic Club where she was a 2015 and 2017 USATF Indoor National Championship qualifier.
Off the track, Henkel built up an equally impressive resume, earning the NYU President’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award; the Varsity Club Freshman Athlete of the Year Award; the Dan Quilty/NIT Scholar-Athlete Award; the New York State Women’s Collegiate Athletic Association Scholar-Athlete Award; and the NYU Alumni Association Student-Athlete of the Year Award. She also received the Ida Bodman Service Award for her work in the community.
Henkel was appointed head coach of the women’s cross country and track and field team at Molloy on July 7. “Excited to join the Lions this year!” she wrote on Twitter that day after the school’s announcement.
“The Molloy College community is mourning the loss of its women’s track, field and cross country coach Lauren Henkel…” Dr. Drew Bogner, president of Molloy College, said in a statement. “Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers continue to be with her family and friends.”
A service was held for Henkel on Aug. 2 at St. Agnes Cathedral, and she was buried at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.
More information about the cause of death was not yet available.