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Fisk Gymnastics made history as the first historically Black college and university (HBCU) to compete against other schools at the NCAA level.

Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Fisk University’s newly established program launched its first season in January by competing at the inaugural Super 16 event in Las Vegas.

Teammate Jordynn Cromartie aided in the program’s inception after an inspiring conversation with her uncle, a Fisk alum.

During a conversation with ABC News, the freshman recalled her uncle telling her not to rule out Fisk as an option for college because the HBCU lacked a gymnastics program at the time.

“I’ve spent my own life trying to make it on a collegiate gymnastics team so I wouldn’t come to Fisk unless they had a program or something for me to do,” Cromartie explained. “During that conversation [with my uncle], he was like, ‘Watch me make it happen.'”

Fisk’s athletes, known as the Lady Gymdogs, achieved their highest team score of the gymnastics season thus far with a 192.400 at their meet against Temple University March 5.

The gymnastics team’s first home meet was attended by 1200 fans, according to the team’s website. The Lady Gymdogs won the meet against Greenville University with a score of 190.575 to 183.875.

The team described 17-year-old freshman Morgan Price as “the star of the night.” The 5 foot 4 inches pre-med major secured first place with an all-around score of 39.175 thanks to her efforts on the vault, bars and floor routine.

Fellow freshman Liberty Mora’s work on the beam scored her 9.775, a best of the night. 

Fisk Gymnastics

The decision to launch the first-ever HBCU gymnastics program contributes to an increase in HBCUs providing their students with spaces in sports that traditionally center on white players. Alabama’s Talladega College announced its forthcoming first-ever High-Performance Lookout gymnastics program in February, making it the second HBCU to do so. 

“It just shows that we are good enough as all the other schools,” Price told CBS News while speaking on the team’s success and historic strides. “I feel like some people kind of, programs counted us out, but we are just as competitive as other schools, and we trained just as hard as other schools.”

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The team’s head coach, Corrine Tarver, is also Fisk’s athletic director. The gymnastics coach is a trailblazer in her own right. She was the first Black gymnast at the University of Georgia and to win the NCAA all-around national title in 1989.

Tarver told CBS News that when she began scouting for Fisk Gymnastics’ program, she asked her potential recruits, “Do you want to make history?”

Fisk Gymnastics’ Instagram account describes its athletes as “beautiful, elegant, intelligent, capable, loving [and] majestic!”

The Lady Gymdogs are preparing to show out at their next big event — the USA Gymnastic Nationals in Denton, Texas, on April 16.

The university’s gymnastics team will host two camps this summer; one for high-performance athletes and the other for recreational gymnasts. Stay updated with information about the team and its summer camps via Instagram.

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