The Nebraska Wesleyan University softball team was picked second in the 2012 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) Softball Preseason Coaches’ poll that was released on January 26. The Prairie Wolves received 85 total points and one first place vote to finish second in the poll.
Morningside College, champions of the GPAC regular season title in 2011, is the coaches’ choice to win the 2012 GPAC softball title. The Mustangs totaled 100 points and 10 first place votes in the poll. Concordia University was picked third with 76 points.
Nebraska Wesleyan is coming off a 2011 season where the Prairie Wolves tied the school record with 28 wins and had the best winning percentage in school history. NWU finished 28-9 overall and went 15-7 in GPAC play to end the season second in the GPAC standings for the second consecutive season.
Head Coach Lance Kingery, the winningest coach in school history, enters his 10th season at Nebraska Wesleyan. Kingery will return 12 lettermen from the 2011 squad, including five players who earned All-GPAC honors last season.
Senior outfielder Dani Bryant is a two-time First-Team All-GPAC selection and holds the NWU career stolen bases record. Junior third baseman Jessica Weingarten, sophomore designated player Becky Bomberger and senior pitcher Brenna Maguire were all Second-Team All-GPAC last season, while sophomore catcher Kayla Randel was honorable mention.
NWU opens the 2012 season on Mar. 17-25 when they compete at the NTC Florida Tournament in Clermont, Florida. The Prairie Wolves home opener is scheduled for March 31 against Briar Cliff University
The GPAC softball season will consist of 20 games (10 doubleheaders) and conclude with the GPAC Postseason Tournament on May 3-5 at the Smith Softball Complex in Hastings, Nebraska.