For a moment, it looked like Heaven Fitch was about to lose. The teen wrestling phenom was on the mat under her opponent in the last few seconds of the state championship match.
That was until she flipped out from underneath him in a backward somersault and quickly scooted around to regain the upper hand. Fitch held him on the mat until the referee threw up his hand.
She won with an 11-3 major decision, CNN affiliate WRAL reported.
Last weekend, Fitch became the first female wrestler to win an individual state championship, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Fitch, a wrestling titan who competes with teen boys in the 106-pound weight class, triumphantly flexed after her win. Later that weekend, she won the award for most outstanding wrestler.
Not that any of it surprised her.
“I just wrestled my best, and I kind of dominated the match, if I’m being honest,” Fitch told CNN affiliate WTVD.
Fitch has wrestled for most of her life. She’d watch her older brothers compete in wrestling tournaments and even sparred with them. At age 6, she decided she wanted in, she told local Concord newspaper the Independent Tribune in 2018.
“(My parents) didn’t want me to wrestle,” she told the paper. “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.’”
They didn’t need to worry: Since that year, her freshman season, Fitch has kept on winning. Her wrestling record this season stood at a stunning 54 wins and 4 losses, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
She’s a junior at a small charter school in Asheboro, but she’s quickly become a statewide role model for other young women wrestlers looking to break out in the male-dominated sport. There are about 300 young women who participate in association-sanctioned wrestling, and that number is growing, NCHSAA director Que Tucker said in a statement to CNN.
At the event’s end, Fitch was the only young woman on the podium – and the only one with the gold.