Tosa East grad, Aliyah Reed-Hammon, a part of history at Fisk University
MILWAUKEE (CBS-58) -- History is being made at Historically Black University, Fisk University in Tennessee. Wauwatosa East graduate Aliyah Reed-Hammon is a part of it. She is a freshman on the gymnastics team, the first ever HBCU NCAA gymnastics team. She and the team are making history at every meet.
"At first, it didn't really hit me that we're making history but like after our Tennessee meet and I score a 9.925," said Reed-Hammon. "A lot of people who posted the video were like 'the highest score in Fisk history' and I was like 'oh'."
Aliyah honed her skills at M&M Gymnastics in New Berlin starting at eight years old.
"You know, even if the fears were there, she always had a natural ability for the skills," said April Schriener, one of Aliyah's coaches at M&M Gymnastics.
Schriener, Tami Mocco and Mike Berte were Aliyah's main coaches at M&M, helping her progress and reach the highest level of the junior Olympic program by her senior year.
Aliyah's mother Kamelah Reed says her daughter was flipping off a furniture and jungle gyms and then quickly finding success on the mats.
"It was kinda like watching this train that was on a track, there was just no stopping," said Reed.
And now, to see Aliyah doing it at the collegiate level is fulfilling for her and Aliyah's father Johnnie Hammon.
"Really just a proud moment to really be there to support her and make sure that she recognizes the gravity of it but also just letting her live in the moment of doing it," said Reed.
Corrinne Tarver, the first black gymnast to win an NCAA all-around championship while she was at Georgia, is the Fisk Bulldogs head coach. She previously was an assistant at University of Pennsylvania.
The opportunity to follow Tarver and join a group of all young aspiring gymnasts appealed to Aliyah and helped her choose Fisk.
"It was pretty cool to see what she (Corrinne) had done. She was the first and we're going to be the first too," said Reed-Hammon. "Usually there are not that many black girls on the gymnastics team. So, I thought it was pretty appealing to be on a team with brown and black girls."
Fisk is in the final stretch of their season, with the final regular season meet set for Mar. 11. For the rest of the season, Aliyah wants clean routines and isn't worried about much else.
"We just need to go out there and have fun, not even worry about our scores because we're not doing it for the scores. We're doing it for the history," said Aliyah.