ranked No. 5
Illinois Wesleyan's softball team was ranked No. 5 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 preseason poll.
The Titans were 37-15 last season and advanced to the NCAA Tournament final round for the second year in a row. They open the season March 2 at a tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
IWU received 171 points in the poll. Defending national champion Virginia Wesleyan topped the poll with 200 points.
Runyon on watch list: IWU centerfielder Jillian Runyon was among 50 softball players on the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Year watch list.
Runyon, a Tremont High School graduate, was named to the first team of the all-College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin squads and the NFCA Division III All-Great Lakes Region softball teams in 2017 and 2016. She led the Titans with a .398 average last year and has school season records with 57 stolen bases, 61 runs scored and 181 at bats.
Gymnasts earn honors: Illinois State sophomore gymnasts Alyssa Wiggle and Gabrielle Cooke were named the Midwest Independent Conference Gymnast and Performer of the Week, respectively, on Wednesday following strong individual performances last Sunday’s tri-meet against Lindenwood and Winona State.
Wiggle, competing in all-around for just the second time, tied for first (38.650) with solid performances on the uneven bars (9.725), beam (9.725), and the floor competition (9.725).
Cooke was named the performer of the Week for the second time this season after she tied her season-best on the floor (9.875) while also placing first on the vault (9.750) and second in the all-around (38.525).