FORT WALTON BEACH — Zak Vosburgh is dripping confidence.
A 4-0 run to the top of the podium in last weekend's Mountain Brook Spartan Invitational will do that. As will a 7-2 mark on the year in his 113-pound weight class.
Of course this success wasn't built overnight for the Fort Walton sophomore.
Credit the AAU Beach Bombers Wrestling Club. Credit the parity of success on a district championship program.
Credit the atmosphere built by head coach Tobi Marez, whose practices are so all-encompassing and intensive that tournaments are simply referred to as "glorified practices."
Added up, it leads to a Viking mentality that "you just gotta expect that you're gonna win every match," Vosburgh said.
That confidence translated to this Week's Athlete of the Week poll, where Vosburgh earned 24,496 votes to fend off Paxton's Latrell Sanders, Niceville's Audrey Moore and Michael O'Leary and Crestview's Katiya Casey to become the second straight Viking wrestler to snag the award.
"It feels cool," said Vosburgh, a 4.2 GPA gifted student who came out of his AP Stats exam Friday to accept his All Sports Association T-Shirt. "I've never really experienced anything like this before."
He better get used to the spotlight. A Second-Team All-Area selection last year, the 15-year-old had three pins this past weekend in Alabama and won the other match 4-2 to finish 4-0 and in first place.
It's the second tournament in as many weeks for Fort Walton, a schedule Vosburgh loves as the Vikings get ready to host the third, Beast of the Beach, on Monday and Tuesday.
Helping prepare the Vikings is Marez's intensive daily practice schedule — laps around the school, stretching and then rotating between lifting and time on the mats the daily routine.
"It's pretty tough," Vosburgh said. "But as the week goes on you settle into that routine and it gets easier and easier to perform in tournaments and stay injury free."
As for his wrestling style, the sophomore doesn't like to let his opponents settle in early.
"I try to be as smart as I can. Most of the time I'm offensive, so the majority of the time I'm the one trying to push the pace on them," he said.
It helps that he's surrounded by greatness, a statement validated by the Vikings finishing fourth in each tournament and having multiple medalists in both, led by No. 1-ranked Cedric Fairrow at 220 pounds.
"It definitely does," he said. "Yeah, Cedric is always finishing first, so he's pushing us and we're all pushing each other to be the best we can."
As for Vosburgh's end goals this year, think big.
"Definitely make it to state," he said. "I would like single-digit losses as well, which would be pretty sweet."
Follow sports editor Seth Stringer on twitter at @SethSnwfdn.
This article originally appeared on Northwest Florida Daily News: FWB wrestler Vosburgh named Northwest Florida Daily News Athlete of the Week