A high school girl demolished her male competition en route to winning a state wrestling championship in North Carolina, becoming the first female to capture an individual title.
Heaven Fitch, a 106-pound junior at Uwharrie Charter Academy in Asheboro, made history while taking home the North Carolina High School Athletic Association 1A division title Saturday in Greensboro after compiling a 54-4 record throughout the season in the male-dominated sport.
Fitch, one of only three female athletes in the tournament, also took home the division’s Most Outstanding Wrestler Award, organizers announced.
“Well, I just wrestled my best and I kind of dominated the match, if I’m being honest,” Fitch told WTVD. “I’m just glad I can be a role model for being younger than me and it’s so insane to be inspiring to others. To think that other look up to me is kind of crazy.”
Fitch, who smiled wide during an after-match photo alongside three male finalists, defeated Luke Wilson of Robbinsville High School with an 11-3 major decision to take home the historic win in an eight-athlete bracket that included seven male competitors, WRAL reports.
Footage from Fitch’s victory shows her flexing for a wildly cheering crowd after defeating Wilson.
The victory came one year after Fitch was the first female wrestler in the association’s history to finish fourth or better in her division, according to the station.
Fitch, who has three brothers, caught the wrestling bug when she was just 6 years old after seeing her siblings slam other youngsters to the mat.
“I nagged my parents, basically, because I wanted to do what [my brothers] did,” she told the Independent Tribune in 2018. “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.’”
Fitch is one of roughly 300 girls who compete as wrestlers throughout the state in NCHSAA-sanctioned matches, association director Que Tucker told CNN.
And despite the sport being something of a family tradition — her father wrestled as well — Fitch didn’t think she would see such success as a high school competitor.
“I thought as a freshman I wouldn’t even have a winning record,” she told WRAL. “And to do this now, I would have never thought of it.”