De Smet won its own Bobby Christman Memorial Holiday Tournament with solid showing in the 13-team event.
The Spartans scored 169 points to finish first. Defending champion Fort Zumwalt North came in second with 136 points followed in order by McCluer North (128.5), Fox (127) and Marquette (126.5).
“Any time that you can end on top is a good day,” De Smet coach Aedryan Cox said. “At the end of the day, we are preparing for what happens in February, so one good day in December small steppingstone. But it is great to celebrate these accomplishments along the way.”
The Missouri state tournament is held in February. De Smet finished 21st as a team in the Class 4 staet meet last winter.
The De Smet tournament is named for Bobby Christman, a former Spartan wrestler and football player.
Christman, at the age of 19, was shot during an attempted carjacking Jan. 11, 2015, in downtown St. Louis. Christman, who was a sophomore at Southeast Missouri State University, was protecting his younger brother and friend.
Even in death, Christman kept giving. He chose to be an organ donor upon getting his driver’s license. His decision has saved the lives of five others who received his heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and kidneys. Several others benefited from the donation of skin, bone and connective tissue.
Two scholarships were been created in his memory.
The De Smet tournament was renamed in his honor.
Cox is proud to continue having the tournament.
“I know that it had a reputation as a strong tournament in the 90’s and 00’s, but eventually we stopped hosting the tourney,” Cox said. “My predecessor, Colby Robinson, brought the tourney back, and it was officially renamed it the De Smet Bobby Christmas Memorial Holiday Tournament last year.”
The Spartans like having their own tournament.
“I think that it is always fun for the guys to compete in their own gym,” Cox said. “The guys get a little antsy with practice after practice over the long Christmas break, so it is great that we got to get some high level matches in at home.”
Cox was looking forward to seeing what the Spartans would do in the tournament.
“My expectations were high for individuals on the team,” Cox said. “We have a strong core group of guys throughout our lineup who consistently compete at a high level. The expectation is for them to perform. When they perform well as a unit, the team succeeds.”
The Spartans had only been in one other tournament so far this year. De Smet finished second at the Westminster Tournament.
To win the Christman tournament shows the Spartans are going in the right direction.
“I am pleased with the progression that several of our guys made,” Cox said. “Wrestling is a sport where you make tiny improvements everyday, and I think some of those improvements are showing through.
“I think several of them were surprised (De Smet won). A lot of our guys are still realizing their potential, and realizing that they have the ability to compete with anyone in the state. I hope that moments like this serve as a catalyst for our confidence. We still have a long way to go as a team, but it starts with each person believing in themselves.”
The Spartans had five individual champions.
Senior Cory Peterson won at 160 pounds. He wrestled five matches and won four by technical fall and one by pin. Peterson defeated Dillon Lauer of Francis Howell North by tech fall in the final 23-8. Peteson has won his weight class all fours years in the tournament.
Peterson placed fourth at state as a freshman, second as a sophomore and fifth as a junior.
Colton King, the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 106 in Class 4, won his class.
“King technically was in a six-man round robin, but he tech or pinned everyone else in the bracket,” Cox said. “He beat Mason Apple of Francis Howell North by fall in 28 seconds.
Freshman Jesse Hahs won at 113. He won all of his matches by fall. Hahs beat Dan Bauer, of Fox, by fall in the final.
Senior Jack Combs won at 182. He defeated Julian Chism, of Hazelwood Central, in the final match 7-3.
Sophomore heavyweight Jacobi Jackson beat Joe Johnson, of Fox, by fall in the final. Jackson also pinned his was through the tourney.
The Spartans return to action in a tri-dual at St. Charles. De Smet will compete against St. Charles and Liberty on Tuesday (Jan. 8) and the next night De Smet will have its last home dual against Kirkwood.
The next team tourney for De Smet will be Jan. 11-12 at St. Charles West.
“I’m anxious to get back in the room and continue improving,” Cox said.