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Sunday, March 20, 2011

 

One-Legged Wrestler Defeats Defending Champion for Title

Arizona State's Anthony Robles, a one-legged wrestler, defeats defending champion for Div. I title

 

Nina Mandell
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Sunday, March 20th 2011, 2:55 PM

Arizona State's Anthony Robles (l.) wins the national title Saturday.
 
Putney/AP
Arizona State's Anthony Robles (l.) wins the national title Saturday.

For Anthony Robles, it was the perfect ending to the perfect season.

The Arizona State wrestler born with one leg ended his undefeated season with the crown on Saturday, defeating the defending champ Matt McDonough of Iowa, 7-1.

"My coaches prepared me well," Robles said after taking the 125-pound weight class title. "We've been working all year and the past few years on quick draws, quick stick... I couldn't have done it without him. I felt super confident out there and it was a team effort. I want to thank my training partners and my family for supporting me and it wasn't just me out there. I was doing it for all them, too. It feels great to be a national champion."

Robles, who took up wrestling during his freshman year of high school, told USA Today that being born without a leg actually gave him an advantage over his opponent.

Because he uses crutches, he said he's got a much stronger grip, which can help him on takedowns and turns.

"I have such a strong grip," he told the newspaper.

Robles, who once told ESPN that he doesn't consider himself disabled, got the only takedown in the first period of the match before securing five back points with a pair of tilts.

"I had a lot of butterflies going out there," he said. "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 to 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, a senior, finished his career with a 122-23 record - which ranks in the top 10 in school history.

While he is the first champion to wrestle with only one leg, he's not the first Division I wrestler to do it. Rohan Murphy, a wrestler who lost both of his legs at birth and wrestled for Penn State before going onto international powerlifting competitions, said he knew that Robles had it in him to be a champion since he saw him win titles in high school.

"To be honest I wasn't surprised," Murphy told the News of Robles' success. I knew he was going to be a great Division I wrestler."


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