LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Central Oklahoma earned the No. 7 ranking in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division II Top 25 Preseason Poll that was released Wednesday.
The Bronchos of seventh-year head coach Cody White collected 304 points in voting of 16 head coaches from around the country. Defending national champion Augustana — the team that eliminated UCO in last year's Central Super Regional — received 15 of 16 first-place votes to come in No. 1.
National runner-up Texas A&M-Kingsville earned the other first-place vote and is second in the poll, followed by Grand Valley State, West Florida and Young Harris.
"It's always nice to see your program recognized, but our players understand this isn't going to win us any games," said White, who is 252-98 at the UCO helm. "We've got a chance to be pretty good again this season, though there's a lot of work to do."
Central returns five position starters and two starting pitchers from last year's team that won the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association regular-season and tournament titles in finishing 48-8, tied for the second-most wins in school history. The Bronchos captured the Central Regional I crown before falling to Augie in the best-of-three Central Super Regional.
UCO opens the season Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at the Arkansas Tech Winter Festival in Conroe, Texas and will be challenged immediately. The Bronchos play No. 2 Texas A&M-Kingsville, No. 10 Texas A&M-Commerce and No. 15 Cameron in the first three games of that event.
Central makes its home debut Feb. 7-9 when it hosts the UCO-OC Invitational