When Morgan Price was only six years old, her father, former Kansas City Royals baseball player Chris Price, passed away suddenly in a tragic motorcycle accident. For young Morgan, her sisters Frankie and Kristin and her mother Marsha, life would never quite be the same again. The family relocated from Lebanon, Tennessee, to Dallas, Texas, where Marsha kept her husband’s dream job alive, continuing his career in the real estate industry.
“He was an amazing athlete himself, but even more importantly he was a man of integrity,” Price recounted of her father. “Everyone who knew him respected him and loved him.”
When tragedy struck, Price discovered a principle that still inspires the way in which she conducts her life today—the importance of family bond.
“My family is super important to me. … [It] has provided me with so much love and support with our decision to relocate to Dallas,” Price explained. “We’ve been through a lot with my dad’s sudden passing … but it’s made our bond even stronger.”
Price’s biggest inspiration is her mother, whose determination to make her children’s goals and dreams possible never wavered once, even in face of extreme adversity. “After losing my dad, she didn’t give up; she took bold moves to ensure we never lost sight of our goals,” Price said of her mother. “She is truly the strongest person I know. … It inspires me because I know that no matter what happens, I owe it to myself to stay focused, confident and positive.”
When Price began her collegiate recruiting process, her mother was also the inspiration behind her interest in finding a team in the SEC. “My mom, having been a cheerleader and graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, I’ve grown up around the SEC,” Price explained. “There’s just something extra special about being an SEC athlete.”
Price’s ultimate decision to sign with Arkansas was again in part dictated by another family bond—her sister Frankie is a freshman on the team. “I’m so very excited about our sister duo; it’s unique,” Price said. “[Frankie] is coming back strong from her [ACL] injury, and we will end up having our debut season in 2023 together. She knows she’s my hero, and she knows I’m her biggest fan.”
“We don’t compete against each other, we support and encourage each other,” Price added of their relationship. “While we enjoy and respect our individuality, we look forward to sharing a new special bond as Gymback sisters.”
Price, moreover, chose Arkansas because it’s a program on the rise, which could give her NCAA career extra weight. “I’m excited to join a team in that position because it increases my opportunity to add value,” she explained. “Also, it excites me to be a part of history in taking Arkansas Gymbacks from good to great.”
At Arkansas, she will be able to study dentistry, which has been her dream job for as long as she can remember. It was her family who yet again inspired her to pursue such a career. “Growing up, I admired my Aunt Michele and Uncle Rick who had a wildly successful dental practice,” she said. “My uncle is now a professor at Meharry Medical College, and my cousin Ivey is also there as a first-year dental student. They have inspired me to pursue dentistry as a career, and I am blessed to be in a position to get a head start.”
While Price originally belonged in the class of 2023, her college journey can start one year earlier thanks to dual credit opportunities, which will allow her to graduate from high school in 2022 with college credits.
As she prepares for her final year of club gymnastics, Price would love to repeat as the Texas state and Region 3 champion, win the all around national title after finishing third in 2021 and win the Nastia Liukin Cup after an 11th-place finish in 2021.
Despite not having the result she wanted, the Nastia Liukin Cup in February is the moment of her career that Price cherishes the most because, as her mother taught her, she learned not to give up in the face of adverse circumstances.
She started off her competition on floor, where she nailed the first two passes but had an uncharacteristic fall on the third one. Despite the disappointment, she didn’t let the mistake phase her and finished the meet strong. “I was so proud of myself because if that was me two years ago, I would’ve given up on myself after falling,” she explained. But this time “I just let myself do me, and I performed to the best of my ability while having fun and meeting new friends.”
For Price, confidence has always been her worst enemy, and she’s only recently learned to trust herself and her immense potential. “Gymnastics is a tough sport. You only have one chance at [getting a] 10.0,” she said. “I’ve really worked on this and have developed self-love habits: better self-talk, really believing in myself and knowing that I am an amazing gymnast—all while still staying humble.”
These are qualities that Price may have learned in the gym, but she’s soon come to practice them in life, too. She’s really proud of the person she’s become, she said, “because [I] kept pushing [myself] to become a great gymnast and an even better human being.”
If she could speak to her younger self, she would tell her “that I loved her energy and her vibe because she is such a good leader in and out of the gym,” she added. “Her hard work in her community service organization, Jack and Jill of America, shows how much she cares for others and that she should always make it a priority in her life.”
Article by Talitha Ilacqua
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