FAIRMONT — He’s one of the most decorated wrestlers in the state, but he’s only eight years old.

Fairmont’s Michael Littleton took home a national title at last year’s Tournament of Champions in Triadelphia, and since then has continued to dominate the 8U scene on big stages across the country.

So far this year, Littleton has taken home the gold for his weight class in two national competitions — Powerade Junior Wrestling Tournament in Western Pennsylvania, and Wildwood National Duals in Wildwood, New Jersey.

At Powerade Junior Wrestling Tournament, Littleton went 3-0 with two pins and an 8-0 major decision. At Wildwood, the titanic tyke went 3-0 once more, with two pins and an 11-0 major decision.

Since his big win at Tournament of Champions, Littleton’s focus has remained on the mat, even as he pursues the typical hobbies of many an eight year-old.

“He’s been working this year probably harder than he ever has in the past,” Amanda Berry, Michael’s mother, said. “We’ve done more tournaments this year than he had previously as well. He works out at home unprompted on his own.”

“At eight, he thinks stuff like baseball and football are fun, but he takes wrestling more serious than those. Even during football and baseball this year, he still went to wrestling practice.”

In addition to his wins against competitors from other states at Junior Powerade and Wildwood National Duals, Littleton also brought home the West Virginia Youth Wrestling Association 8U Heavyweight championship, and the WV Junior State Championships for a third year in a row, this year at 100 pounds.

“He started the season as 94, 95 pounds, so he was wrestling heavyweight,” Berry said. “By the end he’d dropped some weight, got down to 82 pounds, but he wanted to prove himself so he still wrestled heavyweight. That’s what he did, and he wrestled much bigger kids than him. With the use of technique and strength he pulled it out.”

“He’s like the little guy at the top of the podium.”

The WVYWA Championships did not have a 100-pound weight class, so Littleton entered into the heavyweight class, against kids weighing as much as 120 pounds.

The three-time WV Junior State champ has seen improvement by leaps and bounds over the past season — bad news for other young grapplers.

“He’s definitely more technical now,” Berry said. “Last year, he was using his strength to win as opposed to technique. This year he was really focused in the practice room and was able to learn some of the moves and techniques and utilize them in tournaments. That made a huge difference.”

With the mini maestro moving to 10U next year, Littleton has drawn some attention from teams far and wide.

“A team out of Georgia that’s very well known, they messaged after he won the Powerade tournament and had recruited him to be on their team as their 80-pounder,” Berry said. “He’s definitely getting noticed.”

“I actually have three messages in my inbox right now asking him to be on their team for a couple big tournaments coming up.”

For now, Littleton is training with Warrior Ridge, a program based out of Parkersburg. The glow of the championship gold can’t occupy the burgeoning mat star for too long — more opportunities for glory are just around the corner.

“That tournament of Champions he won last year is coming up in April so we just start all over again,” Berry said. “He’ll keep practicing and getting ready for that.”

“We’ve got some stuff on the schedule for the summer. It never truly ends.”

Reach Nick Henthorn at 304-367-2548, on Twitter @nfhenthorn_135 or by email at nhenthorn@timeswv.com.

Trending Video

Recommended for you