Zachary Beard captured his fourth high school wrestling championship in February at State Fair Arena, becoming only the 30th wrestler in state history to win four titles.
But the Tuttle wrestler's most impressive victory of the season came a month later at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Beard, who is The Oklahoman's All-City Wrestler of the Year, was selected to wrestle for Team USA against Team Pennsylvania last month in the high school all-star event.
The featured match of the Dapper Dan was Beard, ranked third nationally, against Cody Wiercioch, the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the country at 170 pounds and Pennsylvania's wrestler of the year.
For that reason, the Beard-Wiercioch match was scheduled last. As it turned out, it also would determine the winner of the dual.
Team USA rarely loses to Team Pennsylvania in the event so the crowd of 3,000-plus was roaring in anticipation of the best wrestler in the state sealing a victory for the Pennsylvania all-stars.
“It kind of got my heart going,” Beard said.
What the partisan Pennsylvania fans didn't know was that Beard performs his best on the biggest stage, said Tuttle coach Matt Surber.
“There were only a few people there who thought Zach had a chance,” Surber said. “That being me, his dad and (Tuttle assistant) coach (Chris) Finn.”
Beard scored two takedowns in the first period en route to a 7-4 win over Wiercioch that stunned everybody there not from Oklahoma.
“Probably one of my biggest wins,” Beard said.
Beard is now ranked by at least two polls as the top high school wrestler in the country at 170 pounds and also is ranked in the top 10 overall.
He dominated most of his high school competition in Oklahoma the past two seasons.
“He wasn't pushed very much,” Surber said.
In addition to his four state championships, Beard won the prestigious Kansas City Stampede high school wrestling tournament three times and both the Geary Invitational and Mid-America Nationals at Tulsa Union twice.
“He's been fun to watch,” Surber said. “He's entertaining to watch. He likes doing some things outside the box. He likes to win with a little flash, so he tries different stuff.”
Beard has signed to wrestle collegiately at the University of Wyoming, rejecting offers from both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
“He will adapt and end up being a great college wrestler,” Surber said. “I think he will be a national champion some day.”