Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Sports

June 12, 2014

Corsicana's Kalyana Dickson wins national title in trampoline event

7-year-old takes home Gold in Spokane

Corsicana — It was just about 10 months ago when Kalyana Dickson told her mother that she wanted to do a handstand.

On Thursday afternoon, Kalyana, who is 7 years old, competed in the USA Nationals and won the national title in the 8-and-under Double Mini trampoline event.

That's quite a leap — even for a kid who soars sky-high above a trampoline.

“She wanted to do a handstand, and two weeks later she was doing 26 backflips in a row,'' said Kalyana's mother, Linda Hawthorne, who is still amazed at her daughter's talent and drive.

Who wouldn't be?

The tiny gymnast is breathtaking on the trampoline or on a tumbling mat, where she leaps and performs  her own spinning ballet of acrobatics, defying gravity with a smile on her face.

She wasn't nervous about competing in the nationals.

“I'm excited,'' she said before she won the double mini title. “I know it's going to be a lot of fun, and I'm excited because I know I am going to be able to flip real high.''

After leaping all over Texas and winning in state and regional competitions in Plano and Lubbock, Kalyana has landed in Washington, where she is competing in the 2014 USA Gymnastics Level 5-7 National Trampoline and Tumbling Championships in Spokane.

She took first place in the double-mini (a competition similar to the vault in gymnastics except it involves a running leap and two trampolines) and first place in tumbling and was second in trampoline in the 8-and-under division in the regional meet in Lubbock, which included gymnasts from Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

That sent her to nationals, which run Thursday through Sunday.

Kalyana and her mother flew to Spokane on Wednesday and she competed in her first event Thursday afternoon.

All she did was go out and capture a national title in the double mini.

She sprinted down the runway and then jumped onto a trampoline, bouncing and doing a front flip in midair before landing on the trampoline and then bouncing onto a second trampoline, where she did another flip in the air, bounced back on and off and did a high flip in the air before nailing the dismount.

She scored a 58.3 out of a possible 60 points to win the gold.

“She wasn’t real excited when she won,’’ Linda Hawthorne said. “She just smiled and said, ‘Yeah, I did it. I told you I would win.’

“Before she won she was talking to my mother on the phone (Gwan Hawthorne) and she told when she got off the phone she said: ‘Why does she keep talking about it? I’m going to be a national champion.’

“She wasn’t nervous at all,’’ Linda Hawthorne said. “One of her teammates asked her, ‘How did you do that? Why aren’t you excited. I would be going crazy.’”

Hawthorne said Kalyana was excited about being at the event.

“When we got here she worked out with some elite gymnasts from the US, Great Britain and Canada,'' Hawthorne said. “She's really excited about being here. I think she just really likes being around all the people who are here.’’

Kalyana’s journey to the gold medal stand in Spokane started on the track at Corsicana High School.

“She was running track with Terry Douglas track (club) at the Corsicana football stadium, and then one day she decided she wanted to do handstands. She said 'I just want to tumble.' She was doing 26 backflips in a row and recorded it and put it on YouTube and it got quite a response.''

Kalyana said she was inspired.

“I watched Gabby Douglas and I wanted to tumble,'' she said. “It was fun.''

Kalyana has a Facebook account called Team Bebop, because her nickname is Bebop from her love for dancing.

“She wanted to dance all the time,'' her mother said.

Now she's dancing all over a tumbling mat, where style and grace go hand-in-hand with gymnastics, and her mid-air moves on the trampoline as well as the double trampoline require amazing athletic skills as well as the grace of a dancer.

For Kalyana, it's just fun to fly in the air and “Get to flip like I want to,'' she said.

Kalyana has a long list of supporters, including several NFL players. Linda Hawthorne's brother and Kalyana's uncle is David Hawthorne, a Corsicana native who is a star for the New Orleans Saints.

“When he saw the YouTube, he said, 'I can't believe it,''' Linda said. “She has a lot of supporters from the Saints and also from the Eagles and some of the Seattle Seahawks. She has a big support group.''

At first, Kalyana trained with Coach Joey Davila of Corsicana's CTA gym and then began training with Coach Richard Trevino in Lancaster, where she could work on routines on the trampoline as well as the tumbling mat.

She has been soaring since.

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