According to the Associated Press, the Fisk University Bulldogs will compete against Southern Utah, North Carolina and Washington as part of the inaugural Super 16, just 14 months after the HBCU committed to building a women's gymnastics program from the ground up.
“I feel like it’s nice to show that Black girls can do it, too,” said Jordynn Cromartie, a Fisk gymnast. “We have a team that’s 100% of people of color and you’ve never seen that before anywhere. ... I feel like we have a point to prove."
The Bulldogs women's gymnastic team doesn't have an on-campus facility and is currently training at a club gym. The HBCU team will be competing as an independent this year while their NCAA status gets sorted out.
Still, their inaugural schedule includes meets at NCAA powerhouses such as Michigan, Georgia and Rutgers.
“It would have been really easy to just put in schools that were not as strong and then make our whole schedule like that and then just hope for the best,” said Corrinne Tarver, head coach and athletic director at Fisk. “But I didn’t want to do that. I wanted them to realize that they belong on that stage.”
“Already being an HBCU, we’re the underdogs,” Cromartie added. “We haven’t had much time to practice. We don’t have the resources of other schools yet ... but we are eager to prove we can keep up with everyone else. That we belong.”