KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The University of Rio Grande softball team is among those who received votes in the first NAIA coaches’ poll of the 2019 regular season.
The RedStorm, who were also among those who received votes in the preseason coaches’ poll, collected eight points – good enough for the equivalent of 37th place – in the balloting by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
Head coach Chris Hammond’s squad is off to an 8-8 start and is set to open the home portion of its schedule on Friday afternoon against Asbury University.
Science & Arts (Okla.) surpassed fellow Sooner Athletic Conference member, Oklahoma City, claiming the No. 1 spot in the poll with 529 points in the balloting.
The Drovers, who are off to a 17-0 start, return most of their key contributors from their national championship team. That includes 2018 NFCA/NAIA Player of the Year Emily Cerny (33-4, 1.15 EA, 298 Ks).
Oklahoma City claimed the No. 2 spot with 509 points and a current overall record of 20-2.
The remainder of the top five includes Southern Oregon (494 pts.), Georgia Gwinnett (468 pts.) and Marian, Ind. (449 pts.).
Five teams joined the Top 25 this week including No. 13 USC Beaufort (S.C.), No. 18 Lyon (Ark.), No. 19 Baker (Kan.), No. 20 Houston-Victoria (Texas), and No. 24 Warner (Fla.).
Schools which fell out of the poll included Columbia (Mo.), Grand View (Iowa), Faulkner (Ala.) and Central Methodist (Mo.).
No. 11 Valley City State (N.D.) made the biggest improvement in this week’s poll jumping 14 spots from the previous week.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.