May 26, 2006 — -- Anthony Robles has become a high school sports star under the most extraordinary circumstances -- he was born with one leg.
"I played normal sports: basketball, baseball, football, soccer," Robles said. "Just like any normal kid."
But the Mesa, Ariz., 17-year-old has had to deal with a situation that is anything but normal.
"When I hear 'disabled' around me or about me, it makes me kind of mad. I grew up just like my brothers and my sister," he said. "I pretty much do anything I set my mind to."
And he's set his mind to a great many things, including a dream of becoming a football player.
"People didn't think I could do it because of all of that running. So I just kind of adapted," Robles said. "When other guys were running around I would just hop around."
He then discovered his true athletic talent was in wrestling. As he explains it, growing up on crutches made his upper body very strong. But he said he also has some disadvantages.
"My balance was really hard to figure out when I started wrestling because that's a big part of it … my advantages, you know, kind of equal my disadvantages," Robles said.
This past season was an extraordinary one for Robles, who was undefeated in the spring.
He then went on to the state and national championships, enjoying a win at both events. Robles recalls the experience of competing in front of a packed house for the national title.
"Everything went really quiet once we started wrestling. … I just thought of me and my opponent," Robles said. "Around the last 10 seconds, I looked up at the time and the score and got really excited … and I just tried to hold on."
He's now gearing up for college, after graduating Thursday with honors from Mesa High School, just outside Phoenix.
He said he is going to spend the summer preparing to wrestle at Arizona State. As for his physical condition, Robles believes God made him this way for a reason.
"Starting out wrestling, I didn't really go into it to prove anything or to be an inspiration to anybody. I just I loved the sport, I wanted to do it and be the best at it," Robles said. "But now people come up to me and say I've been an inspiration and that's pretty cool."