Utah gymnasts holding fundraiser for South Korea trip

The Red Rocks announced this week they will embark on their first overseas trip for the school’s athletics department since 2017.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Gymnastics coach Tom Farden reacts after the bars routine as the University of Utah fifth-ranked gymnastics team hosts No. 12 University of Kentucky during its home opener, Jan. 3, 2020, at the Huntsman Center.

University of Utah gymnastics coach Tom Farden’s biography on the school’s website says he’s a native of Dayton, Minn. But he was actually born in Incheon, South Korea, before being adopted as an infant and moving to the United States with his new family.

Farden will get a chance to return to Incheon this summer with his Red Rocks team on a special overseas trip that will involve training, exhibitions, meet-and-greets and more, the university announced Tuesday. The experience will be held at the U.’s Asia campus, and it’s the first trip abroad for a Utah athletic program since 2017.

“Global experiences offer an unparalleled richness to student life, and we’re excited to offer that to this team,” Farden said in a news release. “This will be an experience of a lifetime for our student-athletes and we are extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

To afford the trip for the athletes and staff, the Red Rocks will hold their first-ever fundraising event, A Night with the Red Rocks.

The fundraiser will be held on Friday, and include a social hour, dinner and a silent auction. Items for the auction have been available for bidding online since Monday.

The university’s Asia campus opened in 2014 in Songdo International City, Incheon. While there, the Red Rocks will compete in exhibitions against Korean gymnastics teams and speak to students “aspiring to pursue an athletic career at the collegiate level in the United States,” per the release.

“We are excited for our U athletes to experience life in Korea through the U Asia Campus,” said Randy McCrillis, the university’s executive director and dean of students. “We are equally thrilled for our U students in Korea to get a taste of the energy that Utah Athletics, and the Red Rocks in particular, bring to campus life.”