INDIANOLA, Iowa -- Wrestling is as physical as it gets -- a test of strength between two evenly matched competitors.
An Indianola wrestler has put in the sweat and developed his own technique. Now he's ready for the state's biggest mat.
What makes Kobey Pritchard want to wrestle is pretty simple.
“I like to win. I like to be physical with people,” Kobey said.
His style may be different, but the goal is the same.
"He found something he loves, something he's good at and he wants to be better. That’s the sign of any good wrestler,” said Clint Manny, Indianola head wrestling coach.
But Pritchard is not the same as every other wrestler.
“I’ve never wrestled with two legs,” Kobey said.
Kristie Pritchard says her son having one leg doesn’t mean he can’t win.
“In our house, we don’t talk disability. We don’t talk disadvantage,” Kristie Pritchard said.
In November 2005, Kobey was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, when he was 5-years-old.
“I thought it was a death sentence,” Kristie Pritchard said.
Kobey remembers the day he knew something was wrong.
“I was running around outside with my friends, and all of a sudden I couldn’t run anymore. I didn’t know what was happening,” he said.
The cancer had spread all the way up his leg into his hip. Amputation was the only option.
“They basically told me, ultimately it’s your decision, but if you want to see him alive in 5 years this is the best course,” Kristie Pritchard said.
"What takes guts is a kindergarten kid walking through the halls. When kids know you with two legs, now they see you with one, that takes courage,” Manny said.
Kobey said it was a change he had to learn to live with.
“At first I’d go to school and people would feel sorry for me, but over time I got used to it and learned to live with it,” he said.
Football, baseball -- you name it, Kobey tried it. But in seventh grade, wrestling became his passion.
"The best part about him is he does not view himself as an exception. A lot of people do,” Manny said. “People see him as disadvantaged. He does not view himself that way."
For sophomore Riley Seger, watching Kobey work is a source of inspiration.
“It makes me want to work harder because he's doing it … why can’t I go even harder?” Seger said.
All that hard work and sweat puts Kobey one step closer to his ultimate goal.
“State champ,” he said.
District champion on to state -- he’s only four wins away from his dream.
“It’s been my goal all year. I want to win,” Kobey said.
Kristie said winning would also give her son something else.
“For all those people that looked at him funny and told him he couldn’t do something. It’s validation,” she said. “He amazes me every day.”
Kobey's dreams extend beyond the state championship. He hopes to one day be on the Division 1 Iowa Hawkeyes team.