Robles brings knowledge, passion to Mesa State wrestling camp

Arizona State University national champion Anthony Robles, who won his NCAA title at 125 pounds this year, teaches kids the fundamentals of wrestling on Thursday during the Mesa State College Wrestling Camp. Robles was born without his right leg, and still went 36-0 to win the title. He’s now focusing his career on motivational speaking.

Anthony Robles performs a move on his friend, Mesa State assistant head wrestling coach Chris Freije, during the college’s wrestling camp.

Anthony Robles is on his way to a successful career as a motivational speaker, but that doesn’t mean his days of being on the wrestling mat are completely over.

Thursday at the Mesa State College Wrestling Camp, Robles spent time working with young wrestlers before serving as the keynote speaker Thursday evening at a wrestling fundraising dinner at the college.

“(Wrestling) is what I love doing, and it’s my passion first and foremost,” Robles said. “It’s something I know and enjoy and I’m happy to share it with kids.”

Robles gained national notoriety after winning the 125-pound NCAA national championship as a 22-year-old senior at Arizona State University, finishing his final year 36-0.

What’s made Robles’ feat more impressive is that he was born without a right leg.

Robles demonstrated some of his favorite maneuvers to the campers Thursday, and showed how, despite missing one leg, he can still be a champion.

“I like talking to the younger audience,” Robles said. “I try to share with them anything’s possible.

“There were a lot of people that had really low expectations for me, but I always believed I could set my mind to do something and that’s what I try to get across to these kids.”

Since wrestling his final collegiate match March 19, Robles has made about 20 speaking engagements across the country.

“The general message is we can all be unstoppable in our lives,” Robles said. “I have three different things I like to touch on, which is having the right mind-set, looking beyond your obstacles and really just controlling what you can control.”

This is the second year Robles has attended the Mavericks’ summer camp. Robles is friends with Mavericks’ assistant coach Chris Freije, and was at the camp last year.

“I’m good friends with Chris and actually wrestled with him in high school,” Robles said. “He helped me really improve, and he’s a great friend.”

Robles is the latest in an impressive group of wrestlers Mesa has brought in to help with fundraising. The Mavericks have had Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson and legendary Iowa State wrestler Dan Gable speak at events.

“We’ve had some high-profile guys,” Mesa State coach Chuck Pipher said. “With Anthony, he’s really inspirational, being able to do what he has. For him to be such an athlete to be able to compete at the level he did is awesome.”

Robles doesn’t plan to wrestle competitively any longer, instead focusing on his public speaking career.

“My main focus is getting into my speaking career and getting better and better at that,” Robles said. “I want to be able to reach as many people as I can.”


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