Ute gymnast Adrienne Randall has drawn oohs, ahhs — and cringes — on balance beam. Here’s why.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah's Adrienne Randall does things no one else can do on balance beam, including her signature move called the Rulfova, a full twisting swing down.

It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, watching Utah freshman Adrienne Randall perform her balance beam routine often sparks the same reaction for either gender, a spontaneous clamping together of the legs, followed by a ‘You’ve got to be kidding,’ or ‘why would you do that on purpose.’

Well, Randall is here to assure all her fans her signature move, called a full twisting swing down, isn’t quite as bad as it looks.

“It’s fun to hear everyone in the stands when I do it,” she said. “But it’s just fun to do.”

Randall’s move is one of the reasons the Utes recruited her, Marsden said.

“As we continue to strive to be one of the best teams in the country, it’s helpful to have athletes with unique things who can hit week in and week out,” she said. “That is what is going to help us separate from the pack if we want to be one of those eight teams at nationals.”

Other gymnasts perform the swing down, but what makes Randall’s move so different is the twist she throws into it.

“It’s a whole other level of risk because when you twist, you usually drift a little bit,” Marsden said. “But when you are coming down on a beam that is four inches wide, you can’t afford to drift. But she comes down square. Other gymnasts would tell you that if they do the move Adrienne does, they would die, but she has been doing it for many years.”


At the Huntsman Center

When • Friday, 7 p.m.

Records • Utah (4-0, 2-0), Arizona (3-3, 1-1)

Series • Utah leads 62-0

Last regular season meeting • Utah won 197.55-196.325, Jan. 25, 2018

Of note • Utah junior Missy Reinstadtler continues to be limited in her training due to a sore foot…Junior MyKayla Skinner ranks fourth in school history with 91 career wins…Arizona upset Cal with a season high 195.975-194.5 victory last week…Arizona’s Christina Berg is ranked 15th on the bars with a 9.888 average.

Randall learned the move during her club gymnastics years when her coach suggested it.

She found it was easy for her to perform.

“It’s nice to have something like that,” she said. “It makes beam more enjoyable for me.”

Having a special move is one thing. Being able to compete under pressure is another challenge altogether. Luckily for the Utes, Randall’s performances have all gone as smoothy as her signature trick.

Randall has two 9.85s, a 9.825 and a 9.875 so far this year.

One of her most impressive performances came at Oregon State, when the usually steady MaKenna Merrell-Giles fell, leaving Randall in an unexpected bind. She responded with the 9.85.

“She does seem to have a little ice in her veins,” Marsden said. “I know she feels confident on that event. She doesn’t talk a lot around authority, but I know she has an inner strength and competitive spirit to win and wants to be out there.”

Randall said she became accustomed to pressure situations as a club gymnast. She shrugged off any thoughts of folding under pressure, much like she handles the oohs and ahhhs from her move.

“I like to be in the position to help the team out,” she said. “I’m glad the coaches have faith in me.”