Anthony Robles, an Arizona State wrestler who was born without a right leg, won the NCAA wrestling championship Saturday night in Philadelphia in the 125-pound weight class, USA Today reported.
Robles, 22, defeated defending champion Matt McDonough of Iowa 7-1 and hopped off the mat into the arms of Arizona State coach Shawn Charles in celebration.
"It was huge. I had a lot of butterflies going out there," Robles said. "I’ve dreamed about stepping on that stage a dozen times, and this whole year I’ve just been preparing for that moment.
"Wrestling’s been my life for nine years now. I don’t know what I’m going to do without competition now. But it’s been a blessing in my life. It’s taught me so much. It’s really helped me to become a man. And I’ll be forever grateful for that."
The win in front of a sold-out Wells Fargo Center crowd of 17,099 completed a perfect 36-0 season for Robles, who received a standing ovation as he stood atop the podium with his crutches.
"I really don’t see missing my leg as a handicap," Robles told Philadelphia television station WPVI before the tournament. "You know, my parents raised me strong and they didn’t give me any special treatment. So, I believe I can do anything I set my mind to and wrestling is something I enjoy, I love it and I’m just trying to be best at it."
Robles has won 122 matches in his career and is eighth on Arizona State’s career list.