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Anthony Molton Finally Finds A Home At Campbell | UFC Fight Pass

After Watching Two Universities Close Their Wrestling Program In His NCAA Career, Molton Finally Has The Stability And Structure He’s Been Looking For At Campbell University

It can’t be fun uprooting your life for a sport only to find that the school you’ve decided to represent shuts the program down. According to Anthony Molton, it’s even less fun a second time.

After graduating high school, “Big Tone” Molton had his heart set on Virginia’s Old Dominion University. They may not be talked about in the same conversation as an Ohio State or Oklahoma State, but it was exactly the kind of school Molton was after. Not far from home, similar weather, respectable program.

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Just a few hours after April Fools’ Day ended, Molton and his teammates were informed that Old Dominion would be cutting the wrestling program.



Molton is thankful that COVID restrictions left the school no choice but to break the news to the team in a Zoom call, which softened the blow and the awkward tension, but that’s where the upside stopped. Molton was back in the exact same situation he was in a year ago as a high school senior, but with less direction and certainty.

“At first you’re kind of in the limbo where nobody really knows what’s going on,” Molton said. “It’s a pretty short time. You have the rest of summer, a couple months to get everything figured out. It’s all your information, applications, trying to get into schools and you’re starting the whole recruitment process all over again.” 



It takes a village to raise a child, and according to Molton, it takes an even bigger village to help a wrestler from a cut program transfer before the next season starts. The situation is unavoidably labor-intensive, and between coaches, word of mouth and other wrestlers, Molton was able to find a new home in Fresno, California, and it was exactly what he was looking for, or so he thought.



“I wanted to start in a new state and get away from the east coast,” Molton said. “Everything seemed to be firing on all cylinders. They were recently cut, and the community got them back before I got there, so it seemed like the community support made it so they would not be cut or anything like that. It just happened out of nowhere.”

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Three weeks before the season officially started, in the same calendar year Old Dominion shut the doors for good, Molton and the rest of the Bulldogs were told they had a year to enjoy donning the Fresno State singlet.



The process starting over at the beginning of the season this time may have done more harm than good, as Molton recalls feeling so defeated and exhausted after being part of two terminated programs in two seasons that he almost gave himself a new nickname and gave up on NCAA wrestling.



“Having it happen to me the second time hit hard,” Molton said. “I was honestly debating calling it. I just felt like I was just a curse. I was a grim reaper with programs. I was on the rails of calling it a career.”

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His trust in colleges, his patience with the sport and his confidence in himself were completely shot. How did it keep happening and why were the only schools attracted to him not even attracted to the sport, in general?



It would take a miracle program to save Molton from spiraling out of control and away from the sport.



“Being at my peak in Fresno, it hit hard,” Molton said. “I had to really build up my confidence again. Campbell has really kept me on my toes with training and consistency and just support from everybody. Team, coaches, community. There’s a lot more support and I feel a lot more comfortable. The main thing has been the consistency. It’s something I’ve lacked in most usually.”

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Now a redshirt junior at Campbell University, it appears that head coach Scotti Sentes and Campbell Athletics stepped in at the right time and saved Molton from walking away from the sport he loved, from possibly leaving college and from losing confidence in himself.



The world is a crazy place, but with the way things are going in Buies Creek, NC, it appears that every Camel on and off the mat are going to be just fine for decades to come.



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