Four NCAA Div. III championships
PELLA — Central College opens at No. 1 in the first public NCAA Division III Midwest Region softball rankings.
Meanwhile the Dutch slipped two spots to No. 19 in the NFCA Division III coaches’ poll.
Central, 23-6 overall, is 18-3 in in-region games, a primary factor in the NCAA’s rankings, along with strength of schedule. The Dutch benefit from playing one of the nation’s toughest schedules.
The regional rankings—which do not reflect games played after last Sunday--serve as the basis for selection of the 62-team NCAA Division III tournament field, which will be announced May 6. Central was earlier named one of eight schools to serve as a host site for regional tourney action May 9-13. It’s the third straight year Central has played host to a regional.
Defending Iowa Conference champion Luther, 18-4, is ranked fourth in the region and Coe, 25-3, is seventh.
In the NFCA coaches poll, undefeated Montclair State (N.J.) remains a unanimous choice for No. 1ahead of Texas-Tyler, which climbed a notch to second. Luther College is No. 9 and Coe College is No. 13.
Central is slated to return to action Saturday, taking on Wartburg College at Waverly at 2 p.m. before journeying to Cedar Rapids to meet Coe Sunday at 2 p.m.