'Small town girl' hoping for Olympic gold - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

'Small town girl' hoping for Olympic gold

Earnest training at the Acrospirit facility in Levelland Earnest training at the Acrospirit facility in Levelland
LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) -

Football is "king" in the towns of West Texas. However, Plains, TX., may soon be put on the global map due to another sport.

Dakota Earnest, 18, is vying to go to the 2012 Olympic Games in trampoline.

"It's kind of weird, but it's also kind of unique," said the second-ranked qualifier in the nation. "It is crazy being from Plains and having a chance to go to the Olympics - everyone always asks me, 'have you made it yet?'"

"They used to not understand so much. But now that it's an Olympic year, and I'm actually up there, and hopefully going to the Olympics, they understand a lot better," said Earnest.

The sport might be easier to grasp for some when Earnest brought back 13 national titles and a silver medal in the Pan American Games. Only one athlete makes the US Olympic team, and there is one qualifying event left to compete.

"Dakota's been one of the easiest athletes I've ever coach, and I've coached 41 years," said her trainer, Sherry Arnwine Mulkey. "Dakota drives from within, she listens to [all of our coaches]...she's our real shot. That's been my dream, my life, to have a kid go to the Olympics."

As with so many other things on the South Plains, even Trampoline can relate back to football.

"[These athletes] can do any sport there is with the discipline and strength we develop in this sport," said Mulkey. "So many of the coaches around here have started to believe in that - we've played a big part in a lot of the football athletes' lives."

For a sport that may be new to most - Trampoline has only been in the Summer Games since 2000 - it has grown quickly on the South Plains. Mulkey and the other coaches at the Acrospirit Tumbling & Trampoline Team have seen four other athletes go through US qualifying; only one made it to the Olympic Games.

Nevertheless, Mulkey acknowledges that Earnest could be West Texas' best shot to bring back a medal.

"I really dream of being on the awards stand and hearing the national anthem," said Earnest. "I'm sure everyone would want to see it, because they wouldn't believe it...a small town girl got a gold."

Copyright 2012 KCBD. All rights reserved.

  • SPORTSMore>>

  • I Beat Pete: Finding Beep Baseball

    I Beat Pete: Finding Beep Baseball

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 9:17 PM EDT2018-06-21 01:17:07 GMT
    I Beat Pete: Peepball Baseball ChallengeI Beat Pete: Peepball Baseball Challenge
    I Beat Pete: Peepball Baseball ChallengeI Beat Pete: Peepball Baseball Challenge

    This week on I Beat Pete, we took on Alstrom Angels as they prepare for their annual Beepball Tournament.

    This week on I Beat Pete, we took on Alstrom Angels as they prepare for their annual Beepball Tournament.

  • Tech loses to Arkansas, 7-4, in second game of College World Series

    Tech loses to Arkansas, 7-4, in second game of College World Series

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 8:26 PM EDT2018-06-21 00:26:02 GMT
    Texas Tech loses to Arkansas in its second game of the College World Series (Source: Devin Ward, KCBD(Texas Tech loses to Arkansas in its second game of the College World Series (Source: Devin Ward, KCBD(

    In an all-important winners bracket game, Arkansas moved into the driver’s seat topping Texas Tech 7-4 Wednesday afternoon.  

    In an all-important winners bracket game, Arkansas moved into the driver’s seat topping Texas Tech 7-4 Wednesday afternoon.  

  • Hector Limon is new Abernathy baseball coach

    Hector Limon is new Abernathy baseball coach

    Wednesday, June 20 2018 5:47 PM EDT2018-06-20 21:47:49 GMT
    Hector Limon has been hired as the new Abernathy baseball coach (Source: Pete Christy, KCBD)Hector Limon has been hired as the new Abernathy baseball coach (Source: Pete Christy, KCBD)
    Hector Limon has been hired as the new Abernathy baseball coach (Source: Pete Christy, KCBD)Hector Limon has been hired as the new Abernathy baseball coach (Source: Pete Christy, KCBD)

    With almost 30 years of coaching experience, Hector Limon is the new head baseball coach at Abernathy.

    With almost 30 years of coaching experience, Hector Limon is the new head baseball coach at Abernathy.

Powered by Frankly