By Russ Owens
STEVENS POINT (WAOW)- Wrestling is a true test of both upper and lower body strength, but UW-Stevens Point freshman Jake Orban only has half of that. That's because Orban was born without legs below the knee, but that wasn't about to hold this guy back.
Says Jake Orban, "The biggest thing was my family wouldn't look at me different, included me in all aspects no matter what it was. That just kinda built the mentality in me that I am a normal person, I can do the same things that everyone else does, and I've kept that and ran with it."
He's made a name for himself already in this sport, winning over 100 matches in high school making him an all-conference performer both his junior and senior years.
Says UWSP Head Coach Johnny Johnson, "I saw right away that he does have the ability to wrestle and he does have some skills and thought absolutely, he'd be good on our team."
Orban says when he steps into this arena and gets down on these mats, that he actually had more of an advantage than a disadvantage.
Says Orban, "I can move around a lot faster because I don't have the legs to get in the way. I'm stronger in the upper body so they can't control me that way, and I'm actually really fast."
That upper body strength coupled with the aspect of the unknown in the eyes of other wrestlers can give him the upper hand out there.
Says Orban, "One of two looks I would get in high school was, oh looking at this kid, I'm gonna get an easy match or it's that what am I gonna do, either one, once they get in the match in the next 30 seconds, it's gonna be a shocker. I have to prove that I deserve to be out on this mat, that I'm not some kid with a disability trying to move that I can be out there, that I am as good as some of the best wrestlers."
So far in his career with the Pointers, Orban only has a 2-4 record, but his impact on this team is felt even before a meet.
Says Johnson, "The fact that he's confident he can do it, it doesn't matter what situation I'm in, I'm gonna find a way to learn how to wrestle and win matches."
Says Point Sophomore Joe Mileski, "I think he brings a toughness because when we want to quit, you can just look at him and say, well if he's doing it, we gotta do it too."
Even to be wrestling for a college program is better than this Pointer could ever have imagined.
Says Orban, "My mindset was, I can do this and go to the next level, I just gotta keep working and improving, it really is a dream come true."
And he'll continue to live that dream for the next three years with the program.
Online Reporter- Russ Owens