Rio Grande/NAIA Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The University of Rio Grande softball team moved up one position to No. 18 in the latest NAIA coaches' poll released Tuesday night by the national office.
The RedStorm tallied 226 points in the balloting by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
The ranking is the highest in the program's history.
Head coach Chris Hammond's club finished the regular season at 41-7 and enters this weekend's River States Conference Tournament as the top seed. The 41 wins equals a single-season school record which was set a year ago.
Oklahoma City is the No. 1-ranked team for the 12th straight time and was a unanimous No. 1 selection with 529 total points in the balloting. The Stars (57-1) had a 52-game win streak snapped after a loss to NCAA Division II powerhouse West Texas A&M.
No. 2 Brenau (Ga.) maintained its position, tallied 508 points and moves up one position from the last poll. The Tigers are 53-5.
Columbia (Mo.) collected 496 total points to remain at No. 3, while No. 4 Marian (Ind.) and No. 5 Georgia Gwinnett both hold their spots from the second regular-season edition.
Movement was minimal within poll. Two teams – No. 14 Reinhardt (Ga.) and No. 23 Bellevue (Neb.) – both improved two spots. Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.), ranked No. 22 in the last poll, fell four positions and out of the Top 25..
Williams Baptist (Ark.) is the lone newcomer to the poll this week, checking in at No. 24.
Overall, 18 of the 19 conferences are represented in this edition. The Southern States Athletic Conference has the most schools represented with three.
The final regular-season Top 25, along with the national championship opening round qualifiers and pairings, will be announced on Wednesday, May 10 at 6 p.m. CST. The announcement will occur via a live video selection show on NAIA.org.