The 20th annual Richardson Memorial wrestling tournament got under way today at Box Elder High School. The tournament is considered a key indicator in determining the state's top wrestling talent.

Included in the 17-team pool are 5A's No. 2 and 3 teams, West Jordan and Taylorsville. Returning 4A state champ Pleasant Grove will be in attendance, as will 3A's No. 1, Wasatch. Wasatch wrestling coach Steve Sanderson says the Richardson Memorial is "the best tournament in the state due to the representations of many divisions."Other high schools invited to participate are Roy, Davis, Kearns, Layton, Morgan, Mountain Crest, Payson, Sky View, Viewmont, Weber and Green River, Wyoming.

Box Elder wrestling coach and tournament coordinator, Mike Ripplinger, says "A lot of teams use the Richardson as a guide for the state tournament."

Several returning state champions and place winners are slated to appear. Nationally ranked Wasatch High has two returning state champs. Two time state champion Cody Sanderson weighs in at 112 and is a returning Greco-Roman National Champion. Weighing in at 135 for the Wasps is Brett Gappmeyer, also a returning state champ.

Pleasant Grove brings three proven commodities to the mat with returning champions Rocky Smart, Luke Nehring and Jode Allen.

The tournament began Friday at 3 p.m., with two preliminary junior varsity and varsity rounds. Semifinal rounds will be held on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Consolation rounds for both JV and varsity are slated at 5 p.m. Varsity finals will begin at 7 p.m. All matches will be held at Box Elder High School.

Ripplinger says the strong tradition of the tournament is due to good competition. "This is the strongest tournament in the Intermountain West."