Sarah Savidge knew she was good at wrestling when she started making boys cry.
The 15 year old has only been wrestling for two years, but is already one of the best female wrestlers in Colorado. In May, she won the freestyle girls' state championship, and this week she will compete with the Colorado USA Jr. Wrestling Team (CUSAW) in the USAW Junior National Dual in Oklahoma.
For Sarah, competing for the Colorado national team is just another part of her bigger plan.
"My dream is to be an Olympian," the sophomore at Doherty said. "This is just another step toward that dream."
Growing up, Sarah says she always wanted to play physical and aggressive sports. She would ask her mom if she could join the football team but always received the same response.
"No, your brothers play football," Sarah's mom, Sheri, would say.
In middle school, Sarah started begging her mom to let her wrestle — an aggressive sport she had noticed other girls were slowly starting to participate in. Finally, in eighth grade, Sheri gave in.
Immediately, Sheri and the rest of the Savidges noticed Sarah had a talent for the sport when she was not only beating boys, but making them cry.
"She would beat boys not because they were wimpy, but because she had the grit to do it," Sheri said. "She was a natural from day one. I remember her first match and she won every single one. I said, 'holy cow! That's my daughter!' I don't really know where it came from, but it's amazing."
This last year, during her freshman year at Doherty, girls wrestling was in a "pilot program," but has been approved to become a sanctioned sport in 2020.
There aren't many female wrestlers in the state, so Sarah has viewed herself as one of the pioneers in the sport.
"The sport is really new and developing fast," she said. "So yeah, it's pretty cool that I'm one of the first to do this. I think other girls will see me, and others, competing and will want to join."
In her first year competing at the high school level, she won the Vista Ridge Alpha Throw Down, which was the biggest all-female wrestling tournament in Colorado Springs. She's also placed first in four different tournaments in the last year, including most recently the CUSAW 2019 Greco & Girls Freestyle and the CUSAW SOT Freestyle & Girls.
Joe Betterman, Chairman of Colorado USA Wrestling, took notice of Sarah's talent and asked her to be on the Colorado national team this summer.
"She's a really aggressive wrestler," Betterman said. "Her work ethic separates her from other competitors because she's willing to train year-round... I think she definitely as the potential to be an Olympian one day."
Sarah will compete in the 132-pound weight class at the junior national duals, which will take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 18-22. After that, she plans to compete individually at the Junior and Women's National Championship in Fargo, North Dakota in July.
This summer will prove big in Sarah's development as a wrestler, as her career is just getting started.
"She has your sights set on college and the Olympics. Getting involved in USA Wrestling and competing in nationals will take her to the next level. She wants to get there," Sheri said. "And I'm just flabbergasted by all of it. She has so much drive and passion. You can't teach that."