Black Girl Magic Is in the Air at Fisk University
By Janae Hudson
Fisk University’s new women’s gymnastics team is somersaulting its way into history as the first and only HBCU women’s gymnastics team to compete at the NCAA level. Led by Fisk’s Athletic Director, head coach and long-time gymnast Corrinne Tarver, the Bulldogs made their debut at the inaugural Super 16 event in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 6.
Competing against over 300 other gymnasts from other athletic giants like Auburn University and Stanford University, the team effortlessly displayed through outstanding performances on the bars, vault, beam and floor routines. Naimah Muhammad’s floor routine and Morgan Price’s vault performance were some of the team’s standout performances. Price earned the meet’s highest score on vault with a score of 9.9, Overall, Fisk placed fourth with a score of 186.700 with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in third (194.62), the University of Washington in second (195.475) and Southern Utah University in first (195.800). The Bulldogs will be competing on Friday, January 13 at the University of Michigan.
All eyes being on Fisk’s gymnastics team opens a greater discussion regarding the stigmas surrounding HBCUs. The long-standing myth that HBCUs aren’t competitive and don’t lead to greater opportunities in athletics should be debunked. Jackson State University, Bethune-Cookman University and Fisk have all been in the spotlight for providing student athletes with necessary resources and support needed to shine in their sport.
The Bulldog’s new team also sheds light on the continuous need for representation for Black women in gymnastics. From Dominique Dawes to Simone Biles, Black women are relentlessly creating spaces in the world of gymnastics. Gymnastics is no longer thought of as a sport limited to white women. The sport is embracing diversity by increasing the number of BIPOC judges, coaches, trainers and overall representation in collegiate and national levels. Fisk University’s team is one way gymnastics is opening its doors to greater representation.