HBCU gymnastics phenom Morgan Price leaps toward success

Morgan Price, a student at Fisk University in Nashville, has already become a trailblazer as a young Black female athlete. 

In April, she became the first gymnast from a historically Black university to win a collegiate national championship when she clinched the all-around title in the 2024 USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championships, posting a score of 39.225.

It was a moment that the rising junior worked hard for during her entire sophomore year after making it to nationals as a freshman. She called it “super honoring.”

“It was just super exciting to be in that atmosphere of such amazing gymnasts and I was just super excited when I found out that I won,” Price said.

Morgan Price executes a landing during a home meet. Photo credit: Lukewarmingg Photography
Morgan Price executes a landing during a home meet. Photo credit: Lukewarmingg Photography

Being the first HBCU gymnast to win a collegiate national championship has put a little bit of pressure on Price. Still, she believes her success in gymnastics will influence future Black athletes to compete for HBCUs.

“I feel like a lot of times people might underestimate us,” Price said. “But I feel like what I’ve done this year and my first year and what just the team has done can show everyone, not even just little Black girls, but just to show the world like we can compete with the best of the best and that we’re meant to be here as well.”

Journey to becoming a gymnast

Price has athletic roots. Her late father, Chris Price, was a baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, her mother, Marsha, was a cheerleader at Vanderbilt University and her older sister, Frankie Price, is a gymnast at the University of Arkansas. Price started in gymnastics when she was 2 years old and continued to develop her skills. She is grateful to have grown up in a driven family.

“Me and my sisters are all super competitive in whatever we do and we tend to not give up very easily,” Price told BNV. “We always work hard for what we want and we have learned just to be determined to always reach whatever end goal we have.”

Price always dreamed of going to an HBCU but when she was recruited out of high school, there wasn’t an HBCU with a gymnastics team. All changed when Fisk University announced in February 2022 that they’d put together a gymnastics team, making them the first HBCU to do so.

It turned out to be the perfect fit for Price. She not only is making history as part of the first HBCU gymnastics team, but all of her family is from Nashville. She’s also grateful to be coached by Corrinne Tarver, who was the first Black gymnast for the University of Georgia and won the NCAA all-around championship in 1989.

“I feel like she is a very powerful woman in and out of the gym,” Price said. “She teaches me and my teammates so much just about life and about the gymnastics role as well. She definitely brings the energy at practice. It’s always super fun with her.” 

Price added, “It’s very honoring to have her as a coach.”

Tarver has praised Price for her drive and determination to get better as a gymnast and described her as a lead-by-example leader.

“She is so driven inside the gym and outside the gym,” Tarver said. “Morgan is going to come into practice. She’s going to get the job done. It doesn’t matter how she feels, it doesn’t matter what’s going on on her day. She comes in, she gets to work, she finishes assignments. She’s always showing that the reason that she’s successful is because she puts the work in to be successful.”

Morgan Price performs at a home meet during this past season. Photo credit: Lukewarmingg Photography
Morgan Price performs at a home meet during this past season. Photo credit: Lukewarmingg Photography

Academic and athletic success

During her sophomore year, Price made the Dean’s List and Athletic Director Honor Roll as she had a 3.5 GPA. She said that growing up in gymnastics taught her how to manage her time in academics and athletics.

“You train for like five hours a day, sometimes more,” Price said. “You definitely have to figure out when it’s time to you know focus on school but also focus on your personal life as well. But I have an amazing support system aka my coaches, teammates and my family … They always help me get the job done whenever I need their support.”

In January 2023, the Fisk women’s gymnastics team took part in their first meet in Las Vegas, making them the first HBCU to compete. Price was one of five gymnasts that Fisk sent to the USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate Nationals in both seasons of existence.

She said that she felt the love from HBCU alums who showed up to support them.

“It was so amazing,” Price said. “I remember our first meet, we got some video chats from whatever saying, ‘Good luck’ and just congratulations for everything that we have done and will continue to do in the future. As a team, we definitely felt the love from everyone.”

Price now holds the highest beam score by an HBCU gymnast, with a score of 9.95.

As far as the possibility of taking part in a Summer Olympics in the future is concerned, Price said she’s focused on her collegiate gymnastics career.

“We will see what happens after my senior year,” she said. “If I did go to the Olympics and won a medal, it would mean everything to me … I know all the hard work that I would have to put in will all pay off.”

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