Beard returns, competes at high level for Cyclones


Boaz Beard, wrestling at 184, fights to keep his Iowa opponent, Vinnie Wagner, from escaping during Iowa-Iowa State meet held Sunday afternoon at Hilton Coliseum. Beard defeated Wagner 10-9, but the Cyclones fell to the Hawkeyes 9-27.

Jake Calhoun

Boaz Beard’s departure from and return to the ISU wrestling team largely went unnoticed until he stepped onto the mat at the beginning of this season.

The 184-pounder from Wichita, Kan., has compiled a 5-1 record this season after returning to the program from a year hiatus — something that has impressed ISU coach Kevin Jackson.

“When you really consider what he’s done in a short time, you’ve really got to marvel at what he’s accomplished,” Jackson said. “He came back at the beginning of September. He was off for a year and he’s wrestling Division I wrestling against the best competition in the country and he’s only lost one match.”

In his short time here since his return, Beard has established himself as a competitor on the mat and even found his way to a No. 14 ranking on’s weekly top 20 poll.

“He hates to lose, that’s the best way to describe him,” said team captain Andrew Sorenson. “If you watch him wrestle, he never stops wrestling.”

Beard was originally recruited out of Goddard High School in 2009 by former ISU coach Cael Sanderson, who left for Penn State shortly after Beard committed.

“He wanted me to go to Penn State,” Beard said. “But I decided coach Jackson was the man I wanted to wrestle under.”

As is a common custom in collegiate wrestling, Beard redshirted his initial freshman year to develop his skills and become accustomed to the atmosphere of Division I wrestling.

However, Beard departed from the team after his redshirt season, citing “personal reasons” for the driving force behind his decision to leave.

Beard transferred to Emporia State — a Division II school in Emporia, Kan. — to play baseball for his first year of collegiate eligibility. As a pitcher for the Hornets, he made three appearances and one start on the mound, going 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA.

Jackson said he had stayed in contact with Beard during that time, talking to him and his father through multiple phone conversations.

Jackson said it was the relationship he had built with Beard and his family during that time that helped contribute to bringing him back to Ames.

Beard said, however, that he had thought a lot about his absence from Iowa State when he was at Emporia State.

“I just didn’t love [baseball] anymore,” Beard said. “I had to take a step back and realize what I had.”

In coming back to Iowa State, Beard said he did not have to sit out for a year since he was transferring from a Division II school.

However, his bout on the ESU baseball team cost him his first year of athletic eligibility, leaving him with three for his collegiate career.

Jackson said he expects to continue seeing positive things out of Beard’s performance on the mat as the season progresses, even if he has not had the same amount of time to train in the wrestling room as his teammates.

“Since he’s been back, based off two-and-a-half months of training, he’s competed at a very high level, therefore showing the real talent and skill and mental toughness that he really has as a wrestler,” Jackson said. “His potential has always been great and continues to be great.”