The teen ended the season with a 54-4 record and also won the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in the 1A classification.
Heaven Fitch has never quite liked the idea of barriers. Not when she was a 6-year-old girl who nagged her parents to let her wrestle like her brothers and definitely not last weekend when she became the first female wrestler to win an individual state championship. The teen made history on Saturday by becoming the first girl to win a North Carolina High School Athletic Association individual wrestling state championship. A senior at Uwharrie Charter High School in Asheboro, Fitch ended the season with a 54-4 record and won the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award in the 1A classification.
Heaven Fitch became the first female wrestler to win an individual state championship, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association https://t.co/TUcwrbGrzl— CNN (@CNN) February 26, 2020
According to CNN affiliate WRAL, Fitch bagged the win by defeating Luke Wilson of Robbinsville for the championship in the 106-pound weight class. Although she won the match with an 11-3 major decision, there was a moment in the last few seconds of the state championship match when it seemed like she was about to lose. The teen wrestling phenom was on the mat trapped under her opponent for a few seconds before she flipped out from underneath him in a backward somersault and quickly scooted around to regain the upper hand.
As the crowd cheered her name, Fitch held her opponent on the mat until the referee threw up his hand, triumphantly celebrating her win as the match ended. Speaking of her historic victory, the teen exclaimed, "I kind of dominated the match if I'm being honest. I'm just glad I can be a role model for people younger than me and it's so insane to be inspiring to others. To think that others look up to me is kind of crazy." According to HighSchoolOT, Fitch placed fourth in the 106-pound division of the 1A state championship in 2019.
This year, she beat Starmount's Austin Jones, pinning him at the 2:00 mark in the first round and went on to defeat North Stanly's Hunter Fulp in the semifinals with a 9-4 decision. Advancing to the state championship match on Saturday night, the North Carolina teen wrestling titan then faced off against Wilson, writing her name down in history in the process. "I thought as a freshman I wouldn't even have a winning record, and to do this now, I would have never thought of it," Fitch confessed. "I'm just really overwhelmed... It's like insane what I've done, it's not fully sunken in yet."
Fitch's victory is no fluke. She began wrestling as a child as she watched her older brothers compete in wrestling tournaments. She decided she wanted to do the same. Speaking to local Concord newspaper the Independent Tribune in 2018, she revealed, "I nagged my parents, basically, because I wanted to do what (my brothers) did. They didn’t want me to wrestle. I’m pretty sure it was because they didn’t want me to get hurt. But I would just be like, ‘Well, if they can do it, then I should be able to do it.'"
Last year, I photographed Heaven Fitch for an @espn story on the growth of women’s high school #wrestling (in NC). This Sunday, Heaven became the first woman to earn a @NCHSAA state tournament title, winning the class 1A 106-pound weight class for @UCAAthletics #wrestlelikeagirl pic.twitter.com/MW8QoKTPGr— Rachel Jessen (@rachjessen) February 25, 2020
Eventually, Ryan Fitch—a former wrestler—and his wife, Stacey, couldn't ignore the persistent little girl and let Fitch take to the mat. She soon proved her natural talent for wrestling and went on to win several championships in next to no time. However, she has remained unfazed by her accomplishments, telling the publication: "I just go out there and compete and one of the things I like the most about wrestling is winning. It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s exciting."
Let’s HEAR IT for HEAVEN FITCH! The 1st female ever to win a North Carolina State Wrestling Championship! Heaven won the 106 lb state title with an 11-3 major decision. The Junior was 54-4 on the season and won OW! Way to go Heaven, you’re out of this world! 💪🏻 #WrestleLikeAGirl pic.twitter.com/U7i8K2e2BJ— Pat Mineo (@MrPatMineo) February 26, 2020