Teen wrestler Heaven Fitch competes in the 106-pound weight class and beat out every single boy in the North Carolina state wrestling tournament.
It can be hard to make a name in a male-dominated sport as a woman. Heck, all sport is male-dominated. It takes grit, years of hard work, and an unbreakable sense of determination to thrive in such a field. Heaven Fitch, a female wrestler from North Carolina, proved her mettle last weekend when she won an individual state championship in wrestling. According to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, she is the first female wrestler to achieve such a feat, CNN reports. She is currently a junior at a small charter school in Asheboro, but she's got a bigger and brighter future ahead of her.
The championship took place over the weekend. At one point during the athletic meet, it seemed like she was about to lose. As per videos of the state championship match, she was held down on the mat by her opponent during the last few seconds. However, she quickly flipped out from underneath her opponent in a backward somersault and rapidly moved around. She regained the upper hand and held him on the mat until the referee called the match, throwing his hands up. In an 11-3 major decision, she was decisively named the victor. Just like that, Fitch became the first female wrestler to win an individual state championship in wrestling.
That same weekend, she also won the award for most outstanding wrestler. Evidently, she's quite the athlete. Fitch competes in the 106-pound weight class and beat out every single boy in the tournament to win her rightful place as champion. However, she wasn't surprised by her win. She explained in an interview, "I just wrestled my best, and I kind of dominated the match, if I'm being honest." And she definitely did. Fitch, who has been named a "wrestling titan," began training at the young age of six. After watching her brothers train and compete in wrestling tournaments themselves (and sparring with them now and then), she made the executive decision to pick up the sport.
Her parents were not too keen on the idea. "I nagged my parents, basically, because I wanted to do what (my brothers) did," she said in a 2018 interview with Independent Tribune. "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.’" Even as a six-year-old, she was headstrong and determined. Thus began her wrestling journey. Following her freshman season as a wrestler, she has just kept winning. Her record this season is a whopping 54 wins and four losses. At the awards ceremony, Fitch was the only young woman on the podium. Perhaps even more importantly, she was the only one to win gold.
Her success as a wrestler is surprising to some. However, though she may be small, she is mighty. She shared that she gets quite the kick out of telling people her accomplishments. To some, they are almost impossible to believe. Fitch stated, "Most of the time, they don’t really believe it at first, probably because I’m so small. Sometimes they’ve heard other people talk about it." To her, winning is part of the fun of wrestling. "I just go out there and compete and one of the things I like the most about wrestling is winning," she said. "It’s an adrenaline rush. It’s exciting." As a teen, she has already accomplished so much. She better get herself some shades, because the future is only going to be even brighter.