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By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Wayland Baptist (Texas) opens the regular-season as the No. 1 ranked team in the NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll, the national office announced Friday. The Pioneers received 20 first-place votes and 591 total points en route to the program's second-straight top billing. The Bulldogs moved up to 21st slot from the previously 22nd ranking.
Wayland Baptist, which is 8-0 against NAIA Top 25 teams, owns five event wins this season, including a 13-stroke victory at the UST Mamiya Intercollegiate at Hawks Creek Golf Club in Westworth Village,Texas on March 10 and 11. The Pioneers boast three of the top 20 NAIA golfers based on scoring average, Ryan Connolly (7th, 71.71), Anders Ellingsberg (13th, 72.12) and Ian Ansett (20th, 72.41). As a team, Wayland Baptist leads the NAIA with a 72.09 adjusted scoring average, while ranking fifth in strength of schedule.
Defending national champion Oklahoma City, who has never been ranked outside of the top five, dating back to 2000, checks in at No. 2 with 572 points. The Stars have three event wins on the season, the most recent coming on Feb. 16 and 17 at the Claud Jacobs Intercollegiate at Victoria Country Club in Victoria, Texas. Anthony Marchesani leads the Stars as the NAIA's No. 10 golfer based on scoring average (71.86). As a team, Oklahoma City is third nationally in adjusted scoring average (72.96) and sixth in strength of schedule.
Checking in at No. 3 for the second-straight poll and receiving its highest ranking since joining the NAIA in 2012-13 is Coastal Georgia with 547 points. The Mariners have claimed three tournament titles this season, most recently at the USC Beaufort (S.C.) Sand Shark Classic at Oldfield Golf Club in Okatie, S.C. on March 10 and 11. Coastal Georgia is fourth in the NAIA in adjusted scoring average (73.09) and seventh nationally in strength of schedule.
Rounding out the top five for the second-straight edition are No. 4 Oklahoma Baptist and No. 5 Grand View (Iowa) with 534 and 503 points, respectively. Grand View also tallied the poll's final first-place vote.
No. 25 Holy Cross (Ind.) was the lone newcomer to the Top 25.
Northwood (Texas) (No. 23) fell out of the poll.
Twelve conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups are represented in the first regular-season poll. The Sun Conference – No. 11 Webber International (Fla.), No. 12 Johnson & Wales (Fla.), No. 14 Northwood (Fla.), No. 18 USC Beaufort and No. 23 Southeastern (Fla.) – leads all conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups with five programs among the Top 25.
The poll was voted upon by a panel of head coaches representing each of the conferences, independents and unaffiliated groups. For the complete ratings calendar, click here.
Notes: (All information dates back to 2000) Wayland Baptist (Texas) makes its second-straight No. 1 appearance … The Pioneers are one of eight teams all-time to hold the No. 1 ranking … Oklahoma City leads the NAIA with 38 all-time No. 1 rankings, followed by former member Oklahoma Christian (28) and Texas Wesleyan (5) … In 2013, only Oklahoma City and Texas Wesleyan appeared at No. 1 … Oklahoma City has never been ranked outside of the top five… Oklahoma City (2010, 2004, 2003, 2002) is the only Preseason No. 1 team to go on to win the National Championships during the same season.
2014 NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Top 25 Poll – No. 1 (March 14)
SCHOOL (1ST PLACE VOTES)
Wayland Baptist (Texas) (20)
Grand View (Iowa) (1)
William Woods (Mo.)
Cal State San Marcos
Southern Wesleyan (S.C.)
Webber International (Fla.)
Johnson & Wales (Fla.)
USC Beaufort (S.C.)
Mount Mercy (Iowa)
Holy Cross (Ind.)
Others Receiving Votes: Northwood (Texas) 89; Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) 77; Mobile (Ala.) 65; Warner (Fla.) 52; Marian (Ind.) 47; Houston-Victoria (Texas) 29; Thomas (Ga.) 27; AIB (Iowa) 25; Rocky Mountain (Mont.) 23; Reinhardt (Ga.) 14; Davenport (Mich.) 6; Emmanuel (Ga.) 5; Arizona Christian 3; Northwestern (Iowa) 3.
^ 2013-14 NAIA Men's Golf Coaches' Preseason Top 25 Poll