With the help of two defending champions and three other top-four returning placers, Zillah will aim to repeat its title in a 25-team field at Saturday’s 22nd annual SunDome Mat Classic wrestling tournament.
First-round matches begin at 10 a.m. with championship finals projected to start at 6 p.m.
The Leopards, who are ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, will have their hands full with Sunnyside, which knocked off Moses Lake in a league dual on Thursday and won the 16-team Larry Brown tourney in Fife last week. The Grizzlies are ranked third in 3A.
Zillah’s reigning SunDome champions are Cortes Hernandez and Shane McMurray. Fife also has two returning champs in Glenn Robertson and Maverick Reddeway. Robertson went on to win the 2A state 106 title.
Granger, ranked second in 1A behind Zillah, was third at the SunDome last season and has a returning champion in Adrian Guerrero. Granger senior Joshua Salcedo is a two-time SunDome and 1A state champ but he remains sidelined until January.
In one of the biggest years for returning champions, Klahowya’s Adam Burchett is back along with East Valley’s Logan Merkle, who who in 2010.
Of the 25 team entries, 15 are local with nearly all of the Valley talent under the same roof. Traveling from outside the area are Bellingham, Ephrata, Fife, Hanford, Kennewick, Klahowya, Othello, Royal, Wenatchee and West Valley of Spokane.
For a look back at the SunDome’s top teams since the tournament started in 1991, see www.yakimaherald.com/blogs/prepsblog/