No. 17 Ags picked 3rd in Big 12 softball race

Responding to a poll conducted by the conference office, the Big 12 softball coaches have picked Texas A&M to finish third in the 2004 conference softball race, a notch behind Nebraska and two spots behind heavily favored Oklahoma.

The Sooners received six of a possible nine first place votes, followed by Nebraska's four first place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for her/his own team in the poll.

Two-time defending Big 12 softball champion Texas was fourth. Missouri was fifth, followed by Baylor, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas Tech.

The three-time Big 12 champion Oklahoma Sooners won the conference's inaugural season in 1996, as well as the 1999 and 2000 titles. Oklahoma enters the season ranked No. 4 in Softball preseason poll released last week. Nebraska is ranked No. 8, Texas No. 11, Texas A&M No. 17, and Oklahoma State No. 22.

Texas A&M Head Coach Jo Evans expects to see good things from her team this season. "I have high expectations and we are going to be working hard to fulfill them," said Evans. The Aggies return five all-conference performers from last year's team including Lindsay Wilhelmson (P), Jessica Kapchinski (P), Adrian Gregory (IF), Jana James (OF) and Kristin Gunter (UT). The team officially began preparation workouts for this season on January 20.

The Aggies finished the 2003 season ranked in every poll after posting a 38-22 record and earning a second consecutive trip to the NCAA Regional Finals. Texas A&M is ranked 18th in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Division I Top 25 poll released Wednesday.

Texas A&M opens play against North Texas on Wednesday, February 4 at 5 p.m. at the Aggie Softball Field.

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