One-legged wrestler wins NCAA championship

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Anthony Robles finished his NCAA wrestling career in history-making fashion.

Robles, who was born without a right leg, took a 7-1 decision from Iowa sophomore Matt McDonough to win the 125-pound title at the NCAA wrestling championships March 19. The Arizona State senior got the only takedown in the first period of the match and worked a pair of tilts to secure five back points.

“I had a lot of butterflies going out there,” said Robles, who admitted he’s most likely done as a competitive wrestler but wants to remain involved in one facet or another.

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HISTORY-MAKER—Arizona State’s Anthony Robles, right, poses after beating Iowa’s Matt McDonough in their 125-pound finals match, March 19, at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

“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.”

In the team competition, Penn State, led by 184-pound champion Quentin Wright, won its first NCAA wrestling title in 58 years by outpointing Cornell. The Nittany Lions finished with 107½ points to Cornell’s 93½.

“In my mind, I’ve wanted to be a part of a national championship program since I started at Iowa State as a freshman in 1998,” Penn State coach Cael Sanderson said. “Having not been able to do that for so many years until here we are no and it’s finally happened.”

Wright began the tournament as the ninth seed and won his first national title with a 5-2 decision over Lehigh’s Rob Hamlin.

“It’s a great feeling,” Wright said. “It ­hasn’t hit me yet. I just got out of the match. But it’s going to get better for a long time.”

The three-day event drew a record attendance of 104,260.

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