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Morgan Price on making history as first HBCU gymnast to win national title: It felt really amazing

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(NEW YORK) — Morgan Price is speaking out after she made history by becoming the first gymnast from a historically Black college or university to win a collegiate national title.

“It felt really amazing,” Price told ABC News’ Good Morning America of her historic win. “I’m very honored to be on such an amazing team, being part of the first ever HBCU gymnastics team and being the first HBCU gymnast to win [an] all-around national title. It really means everything to me.”

Price clinched the 2024 USA Gymnastics Women’s Collegiate National Championships all-around title on April 12. The Fisk University sophomore competed on the floor exercise, uneven bars, balance beam and vault and came out on top with an overall score of 39.225.

Fisk gymnastics head coach Corrinne Tarver said Price’s achievement is especially notable because of the difficulty in competing in four disciplines.

“If you look throughout the country, as far as the number of athletes compared to those that do all around, it’s a small number and a small percentage because it’s hard to do four events week in, week out, and to put your body through that,” Tarver told GMA. “To have four and to be that strong is something that is a testament to the dedication but really her talent.”

Price competed against athletes from other schools including Talladega College, another HBCU which started their gymnastics team just last year, following Fisk’s lead.

Price said she committed to working harder this season after not achieving her goals at nationals last year.

“I just knew that all my preseason work and offseason work really paid off,” Price said of her pursuit this time around.

Price knows what it’s like to put in the hard work. She comes from a family of athletes — her father, the late Christopher Price, was a professional baseball player for the Kansas City Royals, while her mother was a college cheerleader at Vanderbilt University. Her sister Frankie Price is also currently a college gymnast at the University of Arkansas.

At first, Price was also going to attend the University of Arkansas but switched to Fisk University after hearing the HBCU was going to start a collegiate gymnastics program.

“Growing up, I learned the importance of HBCUs and just being able to go to an HBCU, it’s an honor. So I really wanted to bring my talents to an HBCU,” Price explained of her decision.

Today, in addition to striving to be the best gymnast, the 18-year-old said she has her sights set on following in Tarver’s footsteps and being a head gymnastics coach at an HBCU.

Fisk University launched the first gymnastics team at an HBCU in 2022 and head coach Tarver, who was the first Black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around title in 1989, has been leading the team since then.

HBCUs were established prior to the end of segregation in 1964 and sought to offer higher education to Black Americans who were shut out of schools. There are 99 HBCUs in 19 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to 2022 data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Price said she’s aware young girls, especially young Black girls, look up to her as a role model and she encourages them to follow their dreams.

“Never give up, especially when it gets hard,” Price said. “Nothing is just easy or given to you so you have to work for everything that you want. So keep working hard, don’t give up and ask for help if you need it.”

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