The two-time defending state champion Toppenish High wrestling team picked up where it left off last season, winning the White River Classic on Dec. 7 and sweeping its first dual meet of the season 75-0 over Grandview on Dec. 12.
The Wildcats also competed in the 80-team Zinkin Classic in Fresno, Calif., last weekend, facing off against some of the elite programs in the country. (Results not yet available.)
Among this year’s team leaders are senior individual state champions Haiden Drury and Kyler Romero. Drury, the 126-pound champion, also won a national championship in Freestyle last summer and is a heavy favorite to repeat at 132 or 138 pounds. Romero won the state title last year at 132 pounds and has started this season at 145.
Sophomore Horacio Godinez also won a state championship last year at 106 pounds and he has been competing at 113 in the early going.
Other returning state medalists for Top-Hi are sophomore Joel Godina (106), junior Emrique Gonzales (126), junior Terrell Underwood (285) and senior Isaac John (138).
Joining them in the varsity lineup early in the season have been Miguel Torres, Josiah Johnson, Miah Zuniga, Seth Ordaz, Josh Luna, Juan Escamilla, Isaias Ramirez, David Soto, Damian Gama and Rocco Clark.
At the White River Classic earlier this month, individual champions for the ‘Cats included Godina (106), Johnson (113), Godinez (120), Zuniga (126), Gonzales (132) and Drury (138).
Torres placed second at 113 and Luna was the runner-up at 182. Third-place finishers included Ordaz (145), Escamilla (152), Clark (220) and Underwood (285). Adrian Villanueva took fifth at 160 and Alex Lucatero was fifth at 170.
Toppenish, led by longtime head coach Johnny Cerna, will compete in the Hanford Winter Cup on Dec. 28 and the Gut Check Challenge on Jan. 3-4.