Sebastian Robles on Friday became the fourth wrestler in the last three years from Sunnyside’s dynasty to join a program in the Big Ten, the NCAA’s most competitive wrestling conference.
Robles, a two-time state champion at Sunnyside, took part in a ceremony with family, teammates and coaches at the school’s auditorium in which he signed with NCAA champion Iowa.
He will join former Sunnyside teammate Jesse Ybarra, who was a freshman at 133 pounds with the Hawkeyes this season. Ybarra was a three-time state champ with the Blue Devils from 2017-20.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity; feel very blessed,” Robles said. “I’m grateful I am one of the guys who is leaving this high school to be one of the wrestlers in the Big Ten.”
He added that being teammates with Ybarra once again will be beneficial to his career.
“I’m really close to him,” Robles said. “We push each other on and off the mat to be better.”
Roman Bravo-Young, a four-time state champion who was 182-0 at Sunnyside from 2015-18, took home his first Big Ten and NCAA titles at 133 pounds with Penn State in March.
Anthony Echemendia was a freshman at 141 pounds at Ohio State this season. In his one season with the Blue Devils in 2018-19 after defecting from Cuba, Echemendia won the 152-pound state title finishing 22-0.
“It’s amazing, this program,” Robles said of Sunnyside, which is coached by Anthony Leon. “It brings kids out, gives people an opportunity. I think with Coach Leon and the program it’s a big step for us.”
— Iowa Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) April 26, 2021
Robles won the 160-pound title in March finishing the season 8-0. He captured the 145-pound title in 2020 with a 44-4 record.
He was part of Sunnyside’s four-year run of state titles, including the school’s 34th championship in March.
He projects to be a wrestler at 157 or 165 pounds with Iowa.
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 2, 2021
After transferring to Sunnyside following his freshman season at Salpointe in 2017-18, Robles decided it was Division I wrestling at the college level or bust in his development.
“I told myself I am not going to wrestle anywhere else if I don’t go Division I, so I was going to do everything I could do to make that happen for myself,” he said.
Now it’s on to his goals at Iowa.
“I want to become a national champion as many times as possible and I’m going to do everything I can to do so,” he said.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.