By Bianca Crawley,
Special to the AFRO
This year is special for Fisk University, a private historically Black liberal arts college in Nashville, Tenn. On Jan. 6 their gymnasts became the first HBCU team to compete on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) level for their sport.
Since 1906, the NCAA has showcased remarkable competitive athleticism within various sports categories.
Corrine Tarver, the director of athletics and head gymnastics coach at Fisk, was proud to have her team compete at the Super 16 Invitational Tournament in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Jan. 6. The ladies finished a few points behind the University of Washington (195-188), University of North Carolina (194-188) and Southern Utah (195-188).
A few days later, in the Jan. 13 round of the Super 16 competition, the gymnasts wound up in third place. And competing again on Jan. 16 they clocked in fourth place.The team was formed 14 months ago under coach Corrine Tarver, the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around title in 1989.
Spectators were voiced in awe at the Fisk gymnasts’ athleticism, talent, and power at the event. Freshman Morgan Price of Lebanon, Tenn. earned top honors at the meet, competing in all four individual events and finishing with a score of 9.9 on the vault, a marquee event in gymnastics.
Price won national recognition as a high school gymnast winning state and regional championships in 2021 and 2022. She turned down an invitation to attend the University of Arkansas when she learned that Fisk was launching a gymnastics program, Fisk officials said.
This month, the team will hit the mat at several locations in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas competing against the following universities:
Feb. 19 at 1 p.m. – College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va.
Feb. 24 at 6 p.m. – The George Washington University, Western Michigan University, Ursinus College and Bowling Green University at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C.
Feb. 26 between noon and 6 p.m. – Towson University, College of William and Mary in Baltimore at the SECU Arena