Shepherd is picked to repeat as the North Division champion, while West Virginia Wesleyan was voted to win the South Division title.
Shepherd ended the 2016 campaign 34-16 (24-7 MEC) and collected 62 points, including nine first-place votes. The Rams return pitchers Tara Hanson and Kaitlin Munda along with top offensive performer Courtney Clemons to their lineup this season.
Wheeling Jesuit was voted to finish second with 54 votes and two first-place votes, followed by Notre Dame in third with 42 points and the remaining first-place vote. Fairmont State (40), West Liberty (30) and Urbana (18) round out the North Division.
West Virginia Wesleyan posted a 54-11 record last season (27-5 MEC) after capturing the 2016 MEC Championship and securing its fourth NCAA Division II Super Regional appearance in five years. The Lady Bobcats will rely on infielder Brooklyn Waddell (picture), outfielder Olivia Gore, and reigning MEC Pitcher of the Year Hannah Vet to lead the charge this season. West Virginia Wesleyan finished atop the poll with 64 points, including nine first-place votes.
Charleston, which claimed the South Division championship last year and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight, was picked to finish second in the division with 58 points and the remaining three first-place votes. UVa-Wise and Concord tied for third with 37 points with West Virginia State (32) and Glenville State (18) completing the South Division.
The top four teams in each division will advance to the MEC Tournament May 5-7 in Salem, Va.
|MECMEC South North Division|
|2.||Wheeling Jesuit (2)||54|
|3.||Notre Dame (1)||42|
MEC South Division
|1.||West Virginia Weselyan (9)||64|
|5||West Virginia State||32|