Becoming a four-time wrestling state champion in Oklahoma has always been a highly celebrated accomplishment.
Tuttle's Zachary Beard became the latest wrestler to win four high school championships Saturday after defeating Mannford's Luke May with pin in the 170-pound state finals in Class 4A.
But just moments after winning his fourth title, Beard wasn't talking about celebrating or his place in Oklahoma wrestling history. He was focusing on what's next.
“I'm proud to be a four-timer, but there are way bigger things for me out there,” said Beard, who has signed with Wyoming. “I'm glad it's over with so I can move forward from here.”
That “what's next” mentality has been a constant for Beard throughout his journey to four state championships.
“I've always tried to look at what I can do next or what my team can do next to continue to do better,” Beard said. “Now I can start focusing on national championships in college.”
Beard became Oklahoma's 30th four-time champion, after Berryhill's Davey Dolan accomplished the feat in Class 3A to become the 29th earlier in the day.
Beard finished his senior season a perfect 41-0, with a career record of 162-9.
“He's probably the best I've ever coached,” Tuttle coach Matt Surber said. “He's able to compete at a really high level against anyone. He's really good from just about any position he gets put in.”
Tuttle now has three four-time champions, moving them into a tie with Perry for the most in Oklahoma wrestling history. Beard joins Jeff Henning (1995-98) and Ryan Henning (2001-04) on the list of four-time champions from Tuttle.
“I don't think I could've done this without being at Tuttle,” Beard said. “The coaches, the wrestlers, the families, we all unite together and that's what has made a great tradition.”
Beard was named the Class 4A Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Surber feels that getting a third four-time champion can go a long ways toward making his already stellar program even better.
“We got little kids and junior high kids in the stands watching that will wrestle for us in the future,” Surber said. “For our program to get our third four-time state champ helps solidify the reality of their dreams.”