Fisk University Women's Gymnastics Team Makes History At NCAA Meet
Fisk University has made history as the first HBCU gymnastics team to compete at the NCAA level. The women’s team stepped into the spotlight on Friday (Jan. 6) at the inaugural “Super 16” in Las Vegas.
Just 14 months after Fisk announced the team, the lady bulldogs battled universities with well-established gymnastic programs – including previous NCAA champions Oklahoma, Michigan and UCLA – at the two-day invitational and didn’t disappoint.
ESPN reports that leadoff gymnast Naimah Muhammad displayed nerves of steel and impressed the crowd with her floor routine, which ended with a double tuck. Her teammates and head coach, Corrine Tarver, with tears in their eyes, high-fived and embraced Muhammad as she walked off the floor.
But it was Fisk's five-star recruit, Morgan Price, who garnered much of the attention. Price turned down a full-time scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas to attend the university.
Price competed in all four events, earning the team’s highest score on vault with a 9.9 after striking a near perfect landing.
Price shocked the gymnastics community when she announced her decision in May to join Fisk’s new gymnastics program, the Nashville Post reported.
“African-Americans weren't allowed to go to [predominantly white institutions] and SEC schools. The fact I can go to an HBCU and be able to show off my talents at the school my ancestors made for me is so much more [of an honor] than going to an SEC school,” Price told the Post.
Fisk finished in fourth place with a score of 186.700 behind first place Southern Utah with 195.800 points.
Fisk, located in Nashville, Tenn., launched its gymnastics program in November 2021, according to The Associated Press. The head coach is no stranger to making history in NCAA competition. In 1989, Tarver was the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA women’s all-around title while at Georgia.
She assembled Fisk's team by asking potential recruits a simple question: "Do you want to make history?" according to ESPN.
"It's humbling," Tarver told the sports network before the meet. "Something that's a long time coming and so I'm so proud to be able to bring the team to the floor that is a historically Black college and university. It's the first time ever so we're ready to go."