Anthony Robles was born without a right leg and hip bone.
For the past 22 years, he’s worked to overcome this, proving himself as a serious wrestling contender. This season, the Arizona State University senior had a remarkable 36-0 record.
Robles capped his outstanding record with an NCAA wrestling title on Saturday, defeating Division I reigning champion Matt McDonough in the 125-pound group. He had the only takedown in his dominating 7-1 win, and received a standing ovation from the packed house at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
“I had a lot of butterflies going out there,” said Robles. “This year I think that was the biggest difference in my wrestling, was my mental game. Going into every match I was real relaxed, real calm. But before that, before this match, it was nothing but butterflies. I felt like I was going throw up, I was so scared I almost started crying.
“But it’s just the atmosphere. It’s the true athletes that are able to just overcome that.”
Robles has a larger upper body than most of the others in his weight class, and since he cannot stand up while wrestling, his opponents are forced to remain lower on the mat.
“I was a terrible wrestler, only about 90 pounds, but my mom told me God made me for a reason, and I believe that reason was for wrestling,” he said.
Robles stated that he is likely finished as a competitive wrestler, but wishes to remain involved in the sport.