By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications & Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Minimal movement occurred in the final regular-season NAIA Softball Coaches' Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office Tuesday. The top-eight teams locked down their spots and only one newcomer was added to the mix. Overall, Concordia (Calif.) holds the top position for the sixth-consecutive week courtesy of all 19 first-place votes and 529 points. The Eagles are 54-3 heading into the NAIA National Championship, to be played May 17 -23 in Gulf Shores, Ala.
The 32 national championship qualifiers will be released by 3 p.m. CDT today on www.NAIA.org. The pool play assignments and schedule will be announced on Wednesday by 3 p.m. CDT on www.NAIA.org.
For the seventh-straight week, Cal State San Marcos enjoys the No. 2 ranking with 512 points. Champions of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, No. 3 Oklahoma City posted 495 points. Central Baptist (Ark.) has hovered at the fourth spot for the last six weeks and tallied 465 points. No. 5 Lubbock Christian (Texas), who is tied with Concordia for the most wins in the NAIA (54), recorded 458 points.
After a one week hiatus, No. 25 Bethany (Kan.) jumps back in the Top 25 and captured 102 total points. The Swedes won the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and head to Gulf Shores on a 20-game winning streak. The National Championship appearance is Bethany's first in school history.
Mobile (Ala.) (No. 25) gets bumped out this week with Bethany's movement. This occurrence snaps a stretch of 107-straight rankings, which was the longest active streak. The last time the Rams were unranked was May 2, 2000.
Thirteen conferences/independent/unaffiliated groupings are represented in the poll. The Southern States Athletic Conference lands five teams in the Top 25: No. 6 William Carey (Miss.), No. 10 Shorter (Ga.), No. 13 Lee (Tenn.), No. 16 Brenau (Ga.) and No. 18 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.). The SAC claims four Top 25 teams: Oklahoma City, Lubbock Christian, No. 15 Southern Nazarene (Okla.) and No. 17 St. Gregory's (Okla.). Four other conferences and unaffiliated groups list multiple teams in the poll.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences /independent /unaffiliated groupings.
Notes: (all information dating back to 2000) There have been 37 different teams ranked in nine polls this year... Concordia (Calif.) joins Lubbock Christian (Texas), Cal State San Marcos and Oregon Tech as the No. 1-ranked teams this year... No. 2 Cal State San Marcos has been positioned in either the Nos. 1 or 2 spots all year... Oregon Tech's No. 1 preseason ranking was nine spots higher than it had ever previously appeared in any poll and its first top 10 ranking since being slotted 10th on March 19, 2002 ... Concordia joins Cal State San Marcos, former NAIA member California Baptist, Lubbock Christian, Mobile (Ala.), Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma City, Oregon Tech, former NAIA member Simon Fraser (B.C.) and Thomas (Ga.) as the only schools to appear at No. 1 ... California Baptist leads the way with 46 all-time No. 1 appearances, followed by Oklahoma City with 20, Simon Fraser with 18, Thomas with 13, Concordia with six , Mobile (Ala.) with five and Lubbock Christian with four... No. 3 Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 80-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch; No. 5 Lubbock Christian and No. 6 William Carey (Miss.) are tied for third with 43-consecutive mentions, No. 11 Houston-Victoria (Texas) follows with 38-straight and Concordia is at 34-straight polls.
|RANK||LAST WEEK||SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)||2012 RECORD||TOTAL POINTS|
|1||1||Concordia (Calif.) (19)||54-3||529|
|2||2||Cal State San Marcos||50-4||512|
|4||4||Central Baptist (Ark.)||50-5||465|
|5||5||Lubbock Christian (Texas)||54-7||458|
|6||6||William Carey (Miss.)||47-9||451|
|8||8||Azusa Pacific (Calif.)||40-10||403|
|9||10||Olivet Nazarene (Ill.)||53-7||388|
|14||14||Williams Baptist (Ark.)||49-9||310|
|15||15||Southern Nazarene (Okla.)||40-17||291|
|17||17||St. Gregory's (Okla.)||43-14||245|
|18||18||Auburn Montgomery (Ala.)||38-18||213|
|20||20||Central Methodist (Mo.)||40-12||205|
|21||22||Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)||46-11||187|
|23||23||Webber International (Fla.)||37-20||122|
|24||24||Saint Xavier (Ill.)||37-16||114|
Others receiving votes: Mobile (Ala.) 95; William Penn (Iowa) 79; Bellevue (Neb.) 68; Madonna (Mich.) 58; Indiana Wesleyan 33; South Carolina Beaufort 16; Indiana Southeast 16; Morningside (Iowa) 10; Oklahoma Christian 8; Davenport (Mich.) 7; Baker (Kan.) 4; Evangel (Mo.) 3; William Jessup (Calif.) 3; Georgetown (Ky.) 1; Rogers State (Okla.) 1; Brewton-Parker (Ga.) 1; Concordia (Ore.) 1; Texas Wesleyan 1; Thomas (Ga.) 1; William Woods (Mo.) 1; Science & Arts (Okla.) 1; Park (Mo.) 1; Campbellsville (Ky.) 1; College of Idaho 1; Northwestern (Iowa) 1; Columbia (Mo.) 1.