Laurren Henning is a senior outside hitter for the Ramblers. She’s a Northbrook native and graduate of Winnetka’s Sacred Heart School. Her older brother, Tomas Henning, played football at Loyola and now is a freshman at University of Wisconsin.
MAROON & GOLD: When I saw your first name on the roster, I assumed it was a typo. But Loyola head coach Mark Chang assured me it’s correct. Can you explain the spelling?
LAURREN HENNING: My mom is Filipino, and seven letters is considered good luck, so she added the extra ‘R’ to my first name. Five letters is also good luck, which is why my brother’s name is Tomas. It’s something I’m used to people asking me about.
M&G: When did you start playing volleyball?
LH: In the fifth grade. My story is pretty similar to everybody else’s. I got into it, played club and then in high school.
M&G: You are one of five seniors on a 15-player team. What is your role this year?
LH: I was lucky enough to get playing time last year, so I picked up a lot of stuff to help our younger players this season. Our team has a lot of juniors, and they are so tall and so talented. I do my best to encourage them and give them tips here and there. But they usually end up teaching me.
M&G: The entire girls volleyball program participated in a service project a day after losing a three-set match to Montini in the conference opener. How did it go?
LH: It was awesome. Everyone was committed to it. It’s a great way to introduce the freshmen in our program to how important service is to our school. This year Loyola started what it calls the LA Way, which gets students to focus on self-awareness and self-growth. The service part of our school is bigger than sports. It’s not all about who is the biggest, the strongest or the fastest.
M&G: What other extracurricular activities are you involved in at Loyola?
LH: I do some theater. Last spring, I helped write and direct a one-act play with my friend Nina Wetoska. It’s called “The Line,” and it’s a comedy about two rival families waiting in line at Disneyworld. It was my first one, and it did well. I loved the whole process, and we are excited to do something again this spring.
M&G: Tell me more about that part of your life.
LH: Growing up, my thing was acting. I did some small student films for Columbia College and DePaul University and little commercials. But I became more interested in the production side of entertainment.
M&G: Who are some of your favorite writers or entertainment personalities?
LH: I really love anything women do. I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling are among my favorites. It’s super awesome to see how many women have broken into the mainstream.
M&G: Is this something you want to pursue after high school?
LH: For sure. A lot of colleges I am looking at are in or by a big city and have programs for film and TV. I enjoy being around fun and creative people.
M&G: You mentioned your teammate Elizabeth Ford is one of many characters on this year’s team. Who are some of the others?
LH: This is the funniest team I’ve ever been on. Every girl on it has made me cry laughing at least once. It’s [Samantha Downey], [Sabrina Dempsey]. I mean, [Margaret McGill] comes out of left field and makes us laugh so hard. Anne Martinson and I goof around a lot. Every summer, we go to a camp at Purdue for three days. It’s a lot of volleyball, but we did not stop laughing that whole trip. This team has a lot of natural chemistry. It’s a fun group to be around.