FERRUM, Va. -- The Old Dominion Athletic Conference has announced its 2019 Softball Preseason Poll and Ferrum College has been picked to finish seventh among the 11 teams that sponsor the sport.
Virginia Wesleyan University, the two-time defending ODAC and NCAA Div. III National Champion, has been picked the win the league crown with 100 points, garnering 10 of the 11 available first-place votes.
Randolph-Macon College is picked second with 90 points and the other first-place nod. Emory & Henry College checks in at third with 78 points. Ferrum earned 42 points in polling done by the league's head softball coaches.
2019 ODAC SOFTBALL PRESEASON POLL
(#) Denotes First Place Votes
1. Virginia Wesleyan College (10) 100 pts; 2. Randolph-Macon (1) 90; 3. Emory & Henry Collge 78; 4. Lynchburg 77; 5. Guilford 58; 6. Roanoke 56; 7. Ferrum 42; 8. Eastern Mennonite 38; 9. Bridgewater 27; 10. Randolph 23; 11. Shenandoah 16
Ferrum returns 15 players from last year's team that finished 23-13 overall and 10-6 in the USA South Athletic Conference. Returning All-Conference players senior infielder Cheyenne Strickland, who earned USA South All-East Division first team a year ago. Strickland was also the 2016 USA South Tournament MVP after helping lead the Panthers to the tournament crown and an NCAA Tournament berth. Also back are seniors Jordan Hamlett and Bailey Oakes, who both earned USA South All-East second team honors, as did with junior Ashton Lambeth.
The Panthers are led by Head Coach Gerald Culler, now in his fourth year at the helm of the program. Culler's first team won the 2016 USA South Softball Tournament and earned a automatic qualifier into the NCAA Division III Tournament. In 2017, his team advanced to the USA South Tournament title game, falling a game short of another trip to the playoffs.
Ferrum opens the season Sunday, February 17, at Greensboro College. The non-conference doubleheader is scheduled for a 12:00 p.m. start in Greensboro, North Carolina.