Arizona State wrestler Anthony Robles is proving you can be a competitive and successful athlete regardless of anatomical issues. The 5’8″ senior from Mesa Arizona is a two-time All American and three-time All Pac-10 wrestler at 125 pounds despite having just one leg. He’s reached the semifinals of the NCAA tournament after beating Steven Keith of Harvard 15-0 on Thursday in the Round of 16 and Oklahoma’s Jarrod Patterson 9-3 earlier on Friday in the quarterfinals. He’s set to face Ben Kjvar of Utah Valley in his next match while the championship match is scheduled for Saturday.
Robles entered the tournament as the top seed in his weight class and has improved his record to 35-0. The two-time state champion in high school looks to add the title of national champion to his resume to close out his career. He has 120 career wins which places him 8th on Arizona State’s all-time wins list, and his 31 bonus point victories on the season helped him surpass UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez’s record of 30.
Robles is able to maintain a low stance on the mat and he uses it to successfully shoot and pin his opponents. Off the mat, he uses crutches to get around. He has exceptional upper body strength, and some people feel that the lack of a leg has allowed him to weigh more and be stronger than the rest of his competition in the upper body, actually serving as an advantage.
To see Robles in action, check out this video from the Pac-10 Championships:
The Tuscon Citizen also points out that Robles is not the first successful wrestler to be born without certain limbs. They listed three other wrestlers who have overcome circumstances to win on the mat:
- Dock Kelly, born without part of his right hand and his right leg, competed in the 1996 NCAA Division I championships for North Carolina-Greensboro.
- Nick Ackerman, who lost both legs below the knees as a child due to bacterial meningitis, was 174-pound champion at the 2001 Division III finals. He wrestled for Simpson (Iowa).
- Kyle Maynard, born without hands or feet, qualified for the Georgia high school championships in 2004.
Not surprisingly, Robles says he plans to be a motivational speaker when he’s done wrestling “Really, this is my last year of wrestling, and if there’s one message I can get out to those younger kids it’s just go after your dreams. Don’t let anybody stop you.” It’s a fantastic message from someone who is getting it done regardless of his circumstance.
Robles certainly has some fans here at LBS who will be pulling for him, but something tells me he won’t need any extra support — the guy can get it all done on his own.
AP Photo courtesy FOXSports.comGoogle+