But the Wildcats took a big step towards proving those rankings wrong on Friday when they competed in the 4A Abilene Regional Tournament.
The Wildcats came on strong in the key round, the championship semifinals, Friday night to erase an early team lead by Colby and enter the second day of the 2-day tournament with a two point lead.
Holton currently has 120.5 team points, followed by Colby with 118.5. Smoky Valley is currently sitting in third place with 101.5 points while host Abilene is sitting in fourth place with 96.5 points.
More important than the team points, at this point of the season, the Wildcats also lead the top goal of each team that entered the tournament: how many individuals they get qualified for next weekend’s state tournament in Salina.
Holton already has five state qualifiers while Abilene, Colby and Smoky Valley have four each.
To qualify for next week’s state tournament a wrestler must place in the top four of his individual weight class. During Friday’s opening day, the tournament was wrestled through the championship semifinals and one round of the consolation side of the tournament.
To qualify for state after the first day a wrestler needed to wrestle his way into the championship round, which will be competed Saturday night.
In that championship round, Holton and Colby will not wrestle in any of the 14 championship matches. Abilene and Holton will lock horns in two championship matches and Holton and Smoky Valley will meet up in one championship match. Colby and Abilene will meet up in one championship match.
At this point in the season, upsets are rare, but they do still happen and overall Smoky Valley head coach Ben Elliott said he was pleased with the way his squad wrestled on the opening day.
"We did well overall," Elliott said. "I was pleased with the upper weights, a couple of the lower weights had a couple of letdowns but overall I thought we did a nice job.
"Weston Loder pulled out a big win over Brown from Colby. I think we wrestled well," Elliott said of his team’s opening day performance.
While Abilene has two championship matches against Holton, the other fact that the Cowboys have in their favor is they still have all 13 of their wrestlers alive in the tournament.
Holton has 12 wrestlers alive in the tournament, Colby has all 14 of its wrestlers still alive in the tournament and Smoky Valley has 12 wrestlers still alive in the tournament.
"It is like any other regional or state like tournament, it is a roller coaster ride," Stout said. "You have your good stuff and bad stuff that happens. It is all about rebounding. Coming back with those guys that lost and they have got to come back tomorrow and qualify. All 13 kids are still in the tournament, that is a big plus, and we are just going to try and qualify as many of those guys as we can. The guys that are in the finals are qualified but they still have a big match ahead of them also."
The tournament is scheduled to resume Saturday morning at 11 a.m. with the consolation cross bracketing round. The consolation quarter finals are scheduled for 1 p.m., the consolation semi finals are scheduled for 3 p.m., the consolation finals are scheduled for 5 p.m. and the championship matches are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.