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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Defending national champion Oklahoma City will begin the 2017 campaign in the same position it ended last year – at No. 1. The Stars hold the No. 1 ranking in the NAIA Softball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll, announced by the national office. The top billing is the eighth-straight overall for Oklahoma City dating back to the middle of the 2016 season. The first regular-season Top 25 will be announced Tuesday, March 21.

Top 25 Highlights (historical information dates back to 2000):

• The unanimous pick with all 19 first-place votes, Oklahoma City landed 529 total points. The Stars have been ranked No. 1 in 16 of the previous 20 polls dating back to the 2015 first regular-season edition.
• The Stars capped their 2016 season by winning their ninth overall national championship on June 2 against Saint Xavier (Ill.) by a 5-0 score.
• Oklahoma City recorded a 67-3 mark last year, marking the fourth-straight year with at least 50 wins.
• The Stars begin their season Feb. 10 at the Cowtown Classic in Fort Worth, Texas.
• Second-ranked and national runner-up Saint Xavier gathered 529 points. The Cougars competed in their first-ever NAIA Softball World Series title game last year.
• No. 3 Southeastern (Fla.) and No. 4 St. Gregory’s (Okla.) both moved up one spot from the 2016 postseason edition.
• No. 5 Williams Baptist (Ark.) rounds out the top five. The Eagles hold their highest ranking since the 2014 Preseason Top 25 edition when they were fourth.
• No. 8 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) enjoys the most positive movement within the ranking with a four-spot hike. 
• Two newcomers – No. 17 Grand View (Iowa) and No. 25 San Diego Christian (Calif.) – check in to the Top 25. Both clubs were ranked multiple times during the 2016 season.
• Eighteen of the 19 conferences are represented in the poll. Seven leagues send the most representatives with two apiece.
• Oklahoma City leads all active schools with 122-straight rankings, falling no lower than 18th during that stretch, which goes back to the start of the 2004 season. William Carey (Miss.) is second with 85-consecutive mentions. Next in line for consecutive streaks is St. Gregory’s (Okla.) at 49-straight and Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) at 46.
• Former member California Baptist tops the charts of most all-time No. 1 mentions with 46. Oklahoma City is second all-time with 36, followed by former member Concordia (Calif.) with 24, former member Simon Fraser (B.C.) with 18 and Thomas (Ga.) with 13.
• In 10 polls last year, there were 41 different ranked teams.

Poll Methodology
• The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences and the Association of Independent Institutions.
• The Top 25 is determined by a points system based on how each voter ranks the best teams. A team receives 30 points for each first-place vote, 29 for second-place and so on through the list.
• The highest and lowest ranking for each team (a non-rating is considered a low ratings) is removed and the team’s ranking will be recalculated with an additional point added to each team for every ballot (including discounted ballots) that the teams appears on.
• Teams that receive only one point in the ballot are not considered “receiving votes”
• Frequency of polls occur bi-weekly. This policy was approved by the National Administrative Council (NAC) for the 2016-17 academic season. This change will allow raters the opportunity to consider a larger body of work in between rating periods.
• For the complete calendar of 2016 Top 25 Polls, click herehere.

2017 NAIA Softball Coaches’ Preseason Top 25 Poll – Jan. 17

RANK LAST WEEK^ SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES) 2016 RECORD TOTAL POINTS
1 1 Oklahoma City (19) 67-3 529
2 2 Saint Xavier (Ill.) 46-8-1 504
3 4 Southeastern (Fla.) 44-16 499
4 5 St. Gregory's (Okla.) 48-7 474
5 7 Williams Baptist (Ark.) 40-21 454
6 6 Simpson (Calif.) 43-7 450
7 8 Marian (Ind.) 48-12 428
8 12 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 47-14 396
9 10 Morningside (Iowa) 47-10 392
10 12 William Carey (Miss.) 38-17 365
11 11 Webber International (Fla.) 31-16 359
12 9 Campbellsville (Ky.) 49-10 357
13 15 Georgia Gwinnett 44-19 309
14 14 Martin Methodist (Tenn.) 47-17 301
15 16 Davenport (Mich.) 39-12 283
16 18 Reinhardt (Ga.) 41-12 271
17 RV Grand View (Iowa) 43-11 248
18 17 Houston-Victoria (Texas) 38-15 226
19 22 Oregon Tech 30-22 209
20 19 Central Methodist (Mo.) 43-18 202
21 20 Dickinson State (N.D.) 46-12 197
22 21 LSU Alexandria 47-12 135
23 23 Park (Mo.) 32-17-1 115
24 25 Rio Grande (Ohio) 41-9 103
25 NR San Diego Christian (Calif.) 34-17 102

 

Dropped from rankings: No. 3 Auburn Montgomery (Ala.); No. 24 Arizona Christian.

Others Receiving Votes: Indiana Wesleyan 88; Olivet Nazarene (Ill.) 81; Southern Oregon 63; Science & Arts (Okla.) 47; Arizona Christian 46; Oklahoma Wesleyan 29; Brenau (Ga.) 18; Valley City State (N.D.) 15; USC Beaufort (S.C.) 13; Doane (Neb.) 9; Huntington (Ind.) 9; St. Francis (Ill.) 4; Evangel (Mo.) 3; Georgetown (Ky.) 3; Madonna (Mich.) 3.

^ Ranking from 2016 Postseason Top 25 Poll (June 7, 2016)

-- Courtesy of NAIA Athletics Communications

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