The anthem of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, played at the conclusion of CBS’s coverage of the title game, is “One Shining Moment.” This past weekend’s true shining moment took place on Saturday, March 19—not on the hardwood, but on a wrestling mat in Philadelphia, where Anthony Robles won the NCAA Division I 125-pound wrestling title, defeating Iowa’s Matt McDonough, the defending champ, 7-1.
It was an impressive feat for Robles, who was born without a right leg. Clearly, having only one leg has never been a liability for the Arizona State senior, who was undefeated this past season.
When the match began, Robles dropped to his knee and quickly took down McDonough. He used two near falls in the first period to clinch his victory. When the match ended, Robles remained kneeling on the mat as a sold-out crowd of 17,099 rose as one to give him a standing ovation.
“I went out there with confidence. I felt like I came too far to lose,” Robles proclaimed following the match.
Robles first got into wrestling as a high school freshman. Although he had no ties to the sport, the Mesa, Ariz., native was fascinated and inspired by the thought of competing on the mat. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, he is a symbol of perseverance at ASU, “charging up hills with his Sun Devils teammates [and] Bench Pressing 305 pounds.”
“I didn’t get into the sport for attention,” Robles said. “I love the sport and I just wanted to be the best at it.”
Dr. Boyce Watkins of Black Voices Online said it best during his analysis of Robles’ monumental victory: “What’s most fascinating about Anthony’s achievement is that he serves as a reminder to all of us that we are only limited by our desire when it comes to achieving our goals. By being committed to your purpose and possessing a willingness to sacrifice in order to get ahead, there is almost nothing you can’t do.”