Photo courtesy of HBCU Gameday

Morgan Price of Fisk University

Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee is one of the most historic Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs.]

Named after General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedman’s Bureau. The school held its first classes in 1866 in a Union army barracks and students ranged in age from 7 to 70. It opened its doors just two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

In 1930, Fisk became the first HBCU to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It was also the first Black institution member of the Association of American Universities and the American Association of University Women.

Its women have again made history.

On February 11, 2022, during Black History Month, Fisk announced that it would field its first women’s gymnastics team, making it the first HBCU to have a squad compete in gymnastics.

Last weekend, the team competed for the first time at the NCAA level in the Super 16 Invitational, the largest women’s collegiate event with over 300 athletes.

This was indeed a business trip. Fisk finished in fourth place and had an overall score of 186.700. Morgan Price thrilled the arena with a 9.9 score in the vault.

Price, a five-star recruit, surprisingly left SEC gymnastics power Arkansas to compete with Fisk. She had placed seventh in the balance beam and eighth in the vault events at the Nastia Liukin Cup in 2022.

The team’s head coach, Corrinne Tarver, is also a history maker. She was the first Black gymnast for the University of Georgia, and first to win the NCAA All-Around championship in 1989. Tarver was also a member on the U.S. National Team from 1985-1986.

Before the meet began, Tarver told ESPN “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.”

“We have a lot of eyes on us because we are the first and because we are making history, so it’s just so exciting to be a part of the first team ever.”

Fisk was also competing against several of the nation’s top teams.

Southern Utah University won the competition with a score of 195.800. The University of Washington [195.800] and University of North Carolina [194.62] finished second and third, respectively.

Fisk cannot rest on its laurels following its historic accomplishments. The women face 2021 NCAA champion University of Michigan on Friday, Jan. 13.

 The university said in the statement introducing its team that the program “was a reflection of the influx of student-athletes bringing their talents to HBCUs.”

“In recent years, the University has focused on increasing its athletic profile, considering the growing interest among student-athletes for an elite HBCU experience.

“With NBA legend Kenny Anderson and former soccer star Desmond Armstrong as well as an outstanding woman’s volleyball program under Coach Jessica Enderle, Fisk is poised to develop elite national programs.”

I’ll add this comment. “Who needs Deion Sanders anyway?”

The Reid Roundup

OK, NBA fans explain this to me. Halfway through the season, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is favored to win the Michael Jordan MVP Award. Yet, Tatum is trailing Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo in fan balloting for the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. He will certainly be named to the team, but currently he would not start. Thank goodness the fan ballots only count for 50% of the total. Players and coaches have a say, and hopefully enough votes will fall Tatum’s way to make him an Eastern Conference starter…Celtics guard Jaylen Brown should also be a starter in the NBA All-Star Game. He and Tatum are the best one-two punch in the NBA…You can’t be human if you are not moved by the Damar Hamlin story. Hamlin’s cardiac arrest on national TV, and his continuing health comeback will not be topped as sports story of the year; and the saga began on Jan. 2… ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt has a wonderful idea. The NFL should make jerseys of Buffalo Bills trainer Denny Kellington, who is credited with saving Hamlin’s life through CPR, available for fans to purchase. Proceeds could be donated either to the Damar Hamlin toy drive or those who contributed to helping Hamlin survive…Donations to Hamlin’s toy drive had topped $8 million as of Monday, Jan. 8.

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