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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A year ago, Kymber’Lynn Jackson was angry, annoying — her words — and savoring bad choices. “I used to like getting in trouble,” the North Dallas High sophomore said with an incredulous laugh. “I used to like getting in trouble!”

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Then one fateful day, the school’s first year wrestling coach, Cortney Billingsley, spotted her in the hallway, and recruited her on the spot. “I saw a natural athlete,” he said. “A natural athlete that needed an opportunity to prove everybody wrong.”

Kymber’Lynn remembered, “People used to say, ‘You’re not going to amount to anything. You can’t do this… you can’t do that.’ And then when I got into wrestling, I was like, ‘I can show them that I’m gonna do something.’”

And what she did was become the first female state wrestling champion in the history of the Dallas Independent School District. Remembering last month’s match she said, “It took two days for it to sink in. It was like, ‘Oh, my God! I won state! I had the medal!”

And there was so much more. Coach Billingsley was moved to tears as he listened to Kymber’Lynn talk about how much it meant that he believed in her. “I look at her like my own child,” he said. “Even after practice we’ll have moments where we just talk—about life in general, about the struggle.”

North Dallas High School female wrestling champ Kymber’Lynn Jackson. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

North Dallas High School female wrestling champ Kymber’Lynn Jackson. (credit: CBSDFW.COM)

And Kymber’Lynn’s struggles haven’t been confined to the mat. “Me and my family, we are homeless,” confides Kymber’Lynn, her voice trailing to a whisper. “I mean, I’ve cried so much I can’t even cry any more tears because I know it’s going to get better soon…if it doesn’t happen now, it will happen later, so I mean, there’s nothing to cry about.”

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So instead, she sings—belting out Sam Smith’s “Cry with Me” with so much emotion that anyone within earshot in the school’s weight room was wiping away tears. The teen that was headed for trouble—who could have turned hard—is instead choosing hope… telling me that she’s got ‘bigger dreams’ now, and wants to be an All American wrestler—and singer!

“Even though you have struggles, you have to push past that—don’t just drop your head the first time something happens.”

Although her immediate future is still filled with uncertainty, Kymber’Lynn is already thinking about the national wrestling competition in Fargo, North Dakota later this summer. Her coach has started a GoFundMe effort to help get her there. He says the competition attracts college recruiters and he wants Kymber’Lynn there.

Coach Billingsley is beyond proud that the one-time ‘cut-up’ is now making A’s. “She started something and she did not quit. I tell all my kids, if you start it, finish it. Win or lose, I’m going to hug your neck and we’re going to celebrate… just don’t give up.”

Kymber’Lynn wouldn’t even consider giving up. She’s tasted victory and knows that with hard work big dreams are within reach. “I know I can, if I keep trying, keep pushing, I can do it.”

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