Morgan Price makes history as first HBCU athlete  to win a national collegiate championship in gymnastics

BY Preta Peace Namasaba April 16, 2024 7:45 AM EDT
Morgan Price. Photo credit: WCU Athletics

Morgan Price, a sophomore at Fisk University has made sporting history. She claimed an all-around title at the 2024 USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championships in West Chester, Pennsylvania during the weekend. Price is the first athlete from a historically Black college or university (HBCU) to earn a national collegiate gymnastics championship.

“It feels good because of the hard work that has been put in. Honestly, I didn’t know where I would place, but it was a pleasant surprise. I have heard from a lot of people so far. I am still trying to take all this in,” Price said of her historic feat.

Her all-around victory was fueled by outstanding performances in the floor exercise, uneven bars, balance beam, and vault. Price was named an All-American in all-around, floor exercise, uneven bars, and vault. Her Fisk teammates Liberty Mora and Aliyah Reed-Hammon were named second-team All-American in the balance beam and the vault, respectively. The competition is the culmination of the season for colleges with programs that offer fewer than eight full scholarships.

A native of Lebanon, Tennessee, Price spent her high school career in Texas and initially committed to the University of Arkansas with a full scholarship. She forfeited the well-established Southeastern Conference (SEC) program, switching to Fisk’s upcoming gymnastics team. She wanted to be among the first gymnasts to compete for an HBCU. Price was driven by an ingrained desire to honor her heritage and inspire future generations.

“Ever since I was younger, I have always wanted to be an HBCU gymnast. I just never had the opportunity because there wasn’t an HBCU with the gymnastics team. So when I saw this opportunity come up, I was super excited. I knew right away that I wanted to be a part of this team,” Price told Sports Illustrated in 2022.

Additionally, her decision was influenced by Fisk coach Corrinne Tarver who became the first Black woman to win the All-Around Gymnastics Championship when she was at Georgia in 1989. Her achievements inspired Price to pursue her own goals at the school. Tarver is now the first to coach an All-Around winner at an HBCU.

The Fisk gymnastics team, which began competing last year has received national attention for its efforts to boost diversity and opportunities within the sport. The institution made history in January 2023 at its first meet in Las Vegas, Nevada, becoming the first HBCU to launch an NCAA gymnastics team. Price immediately established herself as a standout for the program with young Black girls lining up after meets to take pictures with her. Her triumph is a significant moment for the sport and Fisk.

One of the few Black gymnasts on her team while growing up, Price is “forever thankful to be able to be on a team full of African Americans.” She no longer feels isolated, has many shoulders to lean on, and is learning more about her culture. Following her historic win, Price is focused on the off-season and future success.

“Gymnastics you really don’t stop training ever. I’m just getting ready, working hard for next season and hopefully to win another title. My ultimate goal is to get another title and to also be an HBCU gymnastic coach,” Price said of her future plans.