WPU Third in Coaches Poll

William Penn University Athletics

William Penn University Athletics

by Wade Steinlage

Oskaloosa–Heavy-hitting battles are expected every Saturday as the Heart of America Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ polls were released Monday.

WPU (7-4 last year, 3-2 North) received 43 points and one first-place vote to sit in third place out six programs in the North Division.

Defending champion Grand View again heads the North, claiming 49 points and four first-place votes, while Benedictine is second with 46 points and the final first-place nod. Peru State (38), Culver-Stockton (33), and Graceland (31) round out the poll.

Baker has the inside track to defend its South crown with 40 points and four first-place votes. Missouri Valley holds the runner-up spot with 36 points and the last first-place vote, while 2017 co-champion Evangel is third with 35 points. MidAmerica Nazarene (31) and Central Methodist (28) wrap up the rating.

All 11 teams will play each other in a true round-robin format, but with the departure of Avila from the league, everyone had one open Saturday. That week, which is the first week of the season, will pit Heart squads against non-conference foes. The winners of each division will receive automatic berths to the NAIA Football Championship Series.

WPU begins the 2018 year on the road, traveling to Sioux City to face perennial power Morningside (#3 in last year’s postseason poll) on August 25 at 1 p.m. The Statesmen are at home six times this fall, beginning with their ESPN3 game against Baker on September 1 at 2:30 p.m. Homecoming, which is slated for October 13 versus Culver-Stockton (2 p.m. start), is in the middle of a three-game homestand. Senior Day will be against Graceland on November 3 at noon.

The NAIA has yet to release its preseason poll, but last spring the Heart was well-represented with Baker at #9, Grand View at #11, Benedictine at #12, and Evangel at #25.

2017 Heart North Division Preseason Coaches’ Poll
School Points (First Place Votes)
1. Grand View–49 (4)
2. Benedictine–46 (1)
3. William Penn–43 (1)
4. Peru State–38
5. Culver-Stockton–33
6. Graceland–31

2017 Heart South Division Preseason Coaches’ Poll
School Points (First Place Votes)
1. Baker–40 (4)
2. Missouri Valley–36 (1)
3. Evangel–35
4. MidAmerica Nazarene–31
5. Central Methodist–28



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