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College wrestler born without legs lives life with ‘no excuses’

Posted at 9:49 AM, Feb 27, 2018

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio - It's Sunday worship at New Greater Peace Church in Canton, Ohio. Music and Faith are the cornerstone of 20-year-old Zion Clark.

"It is a really big part in what I do because God sent me through different trials to build me into the man I am today," Zion told WJW.

"I baptized him in the name of Jesus in one of our services and he's a great kid, he's a phenomenal kid, he's one of our drummers that we use during our services," Pastor Bernard Manson of New Greater Peace Church said.

Zion has always been a fan of the drums.

"He has a drum set up in his room at home, so I would hear him upstairs banging, doing his thing he would say, 'Mom I'm getting ready to practice,' and he would go upstairs and be on those drums for hours and hours," said Zion's mother, Kimberlli Hawkins

When Zion is not perfecting his love of music, he's attending class at Kent State University's Tuscarawas Campus building up his knowledge of business management.

"I definitely want to help run a sports team or something like that," Zion said.

That's not the only thing Zion is building up these days. Outside of the classroom, he's busy in the gym building up his muscles. His future relies on it.

"I'll be a junior by 2020, and that's the 2020 Olympics, and hopefully I make it out of the Trials and bring home some hardware," said Zion.

It won't be easy for Zion ... nothing is. That's why he believes in his motto, a motto now tattooed on his back.

"It says, 'No excuses,'" Zion said.

It's fitting.

Zion was born with a condition called caudal regression syndrome.

"It caused me to be born without legs," said Zion. "My arms and my chest and everything have to be insanely in shape because if it wasn't, there is no way I could do some of the stuff that I do."

What he does, is compete. Zion is a wrestler at the Kent State University Tuscarawas Campus.

"My arms are my legs and my arms so I have to figure out how to get in on their legs, still drive forward with one arm, or get the type of angle or leverage to get where they can't stop what I'm doing," said Zion.

He wrestles in the 125-pound weight class but he barely tips the scales at 100 pounds.

"It is a challenge, and quite frankly, it scares some of the guys," said Zion's wrestling coach Dave Schlarb.

"They don't care who you are, what you look like, what kind of disability you have, if you step out on the mat, you step out there as equals," Zion said.

Zion is 11-16 in his freshman season heading into the final tournament of the year. He means a lot to the Golden Eagles wrestling team.

"He's just an inspiration for all of us," said Schlarb. "Just a great guy to have on the team. If everyone is feeling down, we look at him... he brings us all up."