GRANITE CITY — If you would have told Granite City wrestling coach George Kirgan before the start of this weekend's William "Red" Schmitt Holiday Wrestling Tournament that his Warriors would finish sixth, he would likely have given you a double-take.
But Granite City did just that, finishing the 25-team event with 387 points.
"If I told you prior to the meet that we'd finish in sixth place, I'd say that's pretty darn good," Kirgan said. "Looking at all of the teams we had in this tournament, that finish would have been pretty good. But I can't get too complacent now."
But you have to celebrate your successes, too, Kirgan was quick to note.
"We have to get back to work," he said.
Granite City finished the two-day tourney 278 points behind Christian Brothers of Memphis, Tenn., who easily won with a tournament-record 665 points.
(New Lenox) Lincoln-Way Central finished in second with 598 points. They were followed by Archer (Ga.) and Nesho (Mo.), who finished with 594.5 and 478.5 points, respectively. Neosho was the owner of the old tournament record of 600 points, which it scored in 2009.
"We'll have to get back to work," Kirgan said. "We have Belleville East and Belleville West coming up pretty soon."
Christian Brothers had been ranked as high as 48th in the nation, before it recently fell out of the poll.
Christian Brothers coach Chris Lewis hopes that with this finish, his team will move back into the national rankings.
"This is the first time all season we have been wrestling with a whole team," said Lewis, whose squad was competing at Granite City for just the second time following a runner-up finish in 2011. "We did well."
Lewis said his team entered this year's tourney hoping to claim the title.
"I knew Archer was very good and Neosho was nationally ranked," he said. "But I am surprised about Lincoln-Way West."
(New Lenox) Lincoln Way-West finished fifth with 409 points.
"I'm glad to be here," Lewis said. "And we look forward to coming back next year."
O'Fallon finished ninth with 306 points. Cahokia was 17th. Triad finished 21st.
While most of the local teams were not dominating, some did turn in impressive individual performances.
Granite City's Sam Tamayo finished second at 195 pounds.
"The tournament was great," Tamayo said. "My goal was to be in the finals. But my ultimate was to be the champion.
"I fell short of doing that. I went after that."
Tamayo fell to Archer's Ernest Alexander 12-3. The victory improved Alexander's record to 36-0.
"He did not surprise me," Tamayo said. "He was the No. 1 kid in his state. I just came in there with a lot of confidence I was going to win.
"It's a little depressing. But I'm glad I got the first take down."
Granite City's Alex Brooks (170) and Cole Whitford (heavy weight) both finished in fourth.
Cahokia's Leslie Williams (120) beat Neosho's River Buttram, 3-1 in overtime, claiming the championship at 120.
"I tried to spin him before time was up," Williams said. "I knew I had 13 seconds left (in overtime). But I thought the time would be done before I was able to get him turned around."
Williams said winning the title means a lot to him personally, and his coach Kris Whelan, a Granite City alum.
"I bet he is really proud of me, Williams said. "He has talked to us throughout the year about the holiday tournament, and how it is one of the top 10 tournaments in the country."
Cahokia's David Frazier suffered only his second loss of the season, falling to Lincoln's Matt Schneider in the title bout at 160.
"I just have to get in better shape, and keep working harder," said Frazer, who finished fourth at state in Class 2A in 2011. "It's still early in the season, but I have to pick it up."
Frazier, who likes to wrestle a more up-tempo style, said Schneider took him out of his game plan.
"He slowed me down," he said. "I had to make him wrestle my game. I am disappointed. I know I should have done better."
O'Fallon wrestlers Tyler Sexton (182) and Alex Williams (106) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Sexton finished the tournament recording his fifth pin of the weekend, disposing of Yorkville's Bobby Schillinger in 1:38.
Two weeks earlier, Schillinger beat Sexton in a dual meet in Chicago.
Sexton, who came out aggressive, did not give Schillinger much room to breathe in their latest match.
"I didn't stop wrestling from the beginning to the end," he said. "I just wanted to stay after him the whole time."
O'Fallon coach Glenn Exton expected Williams and Sexton would face a couple of tough matches in the finals.
Williams faced Washington's Wilerman, earlier in the tourney, losing 9-1.
Wilerman claimed the third-place match, winning 11-2.
O'Fallon had four wrestlers miss the tourney because of injury or illness.
"I kind of came in here with my head between my legs, thinking where are we going to finish," Exton said. "It's such a tough tournament.
"I didn't know if we'd be on the left side of the board. I thought if we had our whole team here we'd finish in the top 12. Being in the top nine without four of our guys being here, I couldn't be any happier."
Exton said the tourney is a good measuring stick to see what you have to do the rest of the season.
"A lot of the kids in this are state-ranked kids," Exton said. "I look it as a good measuring stick for what we have to do for the rest of the season.
"And every year it's an eye-opener, especially for some of our better kids who have a chance of going on to the state tournament. They realize they have to work a little bit harder."