Illinois Wesleyan centerfielder Jillian Runyon is one of 19 juniors chosen as one of 50 outstanding softball players on the 2018 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III National Player of the Year watch list, which will be paired down in the coming months until just one player remains at the conclusion of the season.
Twenty-nine returning NFCA All-Americans top the list, including 11 first-team honorees, 11 second-team selections and seven from last year’s third team. The remaining 21 members of the group all earned first team NFCA All-Region recognition last season.
Runyon, who is on the preseason watchlist for the second straight year, 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 and has school season records with 57 stolen bases, 61 runs scored and 181 at bats. Her 72 hits in a season was behind only the 77 by Brynn Hasse (2003) among season records.
After two seasons, Runyon is the school’s all-time leader with 98 stolen bases and is tied for ninth all-time with 105 runs scored..
Titans nab CCIW Pre-Season Pick
Defending College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Tournament champion Illinois Wesleyan was predicted to win the CCIW’s regular season softball title according to the conference’s annual preseason coaches’ poll announced Wednesday.
The Titans (37-15, 11-5) won the poll with 62 points and six first place votes after a third place finish last season, followed by the aforementioned tournament title and a second-straight run to the NCAA Division III Softball Tournament’s championship round.
Defending CCIW regular season champion Millikin (32-12, 14-2) was second in the poll with 59 points and three first place votes. The Big Blue are coming off their first CCIW title since 2011 and fifth in school history.
North Central (21-20, 9-7) was third with 44 points after a fourth place finish and CCIW Tournament appearance last season. Carthage (24-18, 12-4) finished fourth with 43 points as the Lady Reds were second and qualified for the CCIW Tournament in 2017.
Voting is done by the CCIW’s head softball coaches. Each coach votes for the eight other schools in the conference in order of predicted finish. Points are assigned in reverse order of voting (eight points for first, seven for second, etc.). Coaches do not vote for their own teams.
2018 Preseason Softball Coaches’ Poll
Rank Institution Points (1st Pl. Votes)
1 Illinois Wesleyan 62 (6)
2 Millikin 59 (3)
3 North Central 44
4 Carthage 43
5 Carroll 36
6 Augustana 30
7 Elmhurst 26
8 Wheaton 13
9 North Park 11
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The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) was founded in 1946 and currently services nine member institutions including Augustana College (Rock Island, IL), Carroll University (Waukesha, WI), Carthage College (Kenosha, WI), Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, IL), Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, IL), Millikin University (Decatur, IL), North Central College (Naperville, IL), North Park University (Chicago, IL) and Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL). During the 2016-17 academic year, the CCIW honored over 1,900 academic all-conference recipients, 10 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, 33 CoSIDA Academic All-District recipients, one CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year and over 100 all-Americans.