For Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles, winning the NCAA championship was the perfect ending to a perfect season: Robles, who was born without a right leg, took home the title of national NCAA wrestling champion in the 125-weight class Saturday night. He got the only takedown, in the first period of the match, and worked a pair of tilts to secure five back points.
This win completed an undefeated 36-0 senior season for Robles, though he wasn’t always such a dominator on the mat. He said early in his high school career, his skills were anything but championship-worthy. "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," said Robles, who was given a standing ovation on the podium by a sellout crowd of 17,687 at the Wells Fargo Center. He told USA Today that his handicap has almost become an advantage in the ring. "I have such a strong grip, and that's because of my crutches," he said.
Robles may have been born without a leg but no one would argue he has the heart of a champion. What’s next for him? According to ESPN, this was Robles’ last wrestling match but he hopes to pursue a career in motivational speaking. He said, “I wrestle because I love wrestling. But it inspires me when I get kids, even adults, who write me on Facebook or send me letters in the mail saying that I've inspired them, and they look up to me, and they're motivated to do things that other people wouldn't have thought possible."