Sports

Trojans, Demons ranked in softball

IGHSAU's preseason poll puts SEC members in Top 15

Allison Rebling pitched for Fairfield last year and returns for her senior season.
Allison Rebling pitched for Fairfield last year and returns for her senior season.
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The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union took preseason polls to a new level Monday when they released a preseason poll on the first day of softball practice.

The Southeast Conference received a lot of recognition with two teams — Fairfield at No. 11 and Washington at No. 12 — ranked in the Class 4A Top 15.

“It is a nice thing to see, with our conference getting some preseason attention,” Washington head coach Ben Obermann said. “Fairfield has been ranked a lot over the past several years and they deserve to come out ranked again with everyone coming back from a conference championship team that just missed out on the state tournament. Burlington easily could be in those rankings as well. There’s a lot of good softball in our conference and great players. There’s going to be a lot of battles this summer.”

Fairfield head coach Bob Bradfield did not know about the Monday rankings until a player mentioned it in a Tuesday practice.

I didn’t know the rankings were out until a player mentioned it this morning. “We didn’t spend much time talking about it but our players and coaches both know that rankings before the season starts don’t mean very much in any sport,” Bradfield said. “I don’t think rankings make much of a difference to the conference at this point. It is just something to talk about. It will make more of a difference later in the season.”

New Southeast Conference member Burlington, which has always had a strong program frequently in the rankings, was not in this preseason list. In past years, the Grayhounds have been a Class 5A school. This year, they are the third largest 4A school.

“It’s interesting that the other team in our conference that was ranked is Washington, who is our first opponent of the season,” Bradfield said. “As far as Burlington, I think it helps our conference if for no other reason than it’s better for all sports to have a six-team conference versus a five-team conference. Plus, Burlington has had a very strong softball program over the years, so it makes the conference that much better.”

Southeast Iowa Super Conference members Louisa-Muscatine (Class 2A) in the North Division and West Burlington (Class 3A) in the South were also ranked.

South Iowa Cedar League members Lynnville-Sully and North Mahaska were ranked in Class 1A.

Northeast (2A), Anamosa (3A) and West Liberty (3A) were ranked from the River Valley Conference.

“It’s a cool thing,” Obermann said of the Demons being ranked. “It’s been several years since our last appearance in the rankings. I think our girls are excited for the recognition and it’s a great way to begin the season, but we also know there’s a lot of work ahead. It shows that from what we have done the past couple of years, along with what we have returning this year personnel wise, that expectations are high for us around the area and state, which is a good thing. You want high expectations. That means the program is heading in the right direction. However, it’s a preseason ranking. Nothing has been earned yet. We now have to embrace the ranking and go out, continue to trust the process, and continue to focus on ourselves. The goals of improving each day don’t change.”

“I don’t think (the ranking) puts a target on our back,” Bradfield said. “We know we have the potential to have a successful season so it is our job to meet the challenges ahead and our players know that.”

IGHSAU 2020 PRESEASON RANKINGS

Class 1A

School 2019 Record

1. Collins-Maxwell 28-1

2. Newell-Fonda 38-7

3. Clarksville 33-2

4. Wayne 24-9

5. Algona Bishop Garrigan 29-8

6. Lynnville-Sully 27-9

7. Newman Catholic 21-14

8. North Mahaska 18-10

9. AGWSR 20-7

10. Central City 31-11

11. Gehlen Catholic 21-13

12. Akron-Westfield 21-13

13. Grand View Christian 20-10

14. Lisbon 34-7

15. Lenox 26-7

Class 2A

School 2019 Record

1. North Linn 42-4

2. Louisa-Muscatine 35-5

3. Mount Ayr 27-3

4. Ogden 26-8

5. West Sioux 24-8

6. Jesup 30-10

7. Central Springs 28-9

8. West Monona 30-6

9. Earlham 29-9

10 Beckman Catholic 30-14

11. Emmetsburg 23-10

12. Interstate 35 18-11

13. Northeast 20-14

14. Pleasantville 25-12

15. West Lyon 20-8

Class 3A

School 2019 Record

1. Davenport Assumption 41-2

2. Humboldt 28-3

3. Williamsburg 31-12

4. Anamosa 31-5

5. Mount Vernon 27-13

6. Albia 27-6

7. Spirit Lake 22-7

8. West Liberty 30-6

9. North Polk 22-11

10. Algona 18-11

11. Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont 24-11

12. Atlantic 27-9

13. West Burlington 25-12

14. Boyden Hull-Rock Valley 22-9

15. Bishop Heelan 16-14

Class 4A

School 2019 Record

1. Carlisle 38-3

2. North Scott 28-15

3. Ballard 26-10

4. Oskaloosa 25-16

5. ADM 28-7

6. Charles City 37-4

7. Dallas Center-Grimes 25-15

8. Sergeant Bluff-Luton 27-7

9. West Delaware 31-12

10. Decorah 18-12

11. Fairfield 22-19

12. Washington 22-15

13. Winterset 19-15

14. Webster City 21-7

15. Central DeWitt 18-5

Class 5A

School 2019 Record

1. Fort Dodge 35-7

2. Iowa City High 36-8

3. Johnston 35-10

4. Cedar Rapids Kennedy 37-4

5. Ottumwa 33-9

6. Waukee 40-4

7. West Des Moines Valley 32-10

8. Pleasant Valley 27-13

9. Indianola 34-5

10. Dubuque Hempstead 32-8

11. Ankeny Centennial 26-12

12. Muscatine 31-8

13. Cedar Rapids Prairie 29-12

14. Southeast Polk 24-17

15. Bettendorf 22-15