KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Heart of America Athletic Conference released its annual Preseason Coaches’ Poll on Monday in association with the second-annual Heart Summit held in Olathe and the Benedictine football team was selected to finish in second place in the Heart North.
The Ravens received 43 points in the poll to finish in a tie for second with William Penn University. The entire division will be chasing defending champion Grand View University who received 50 points and five of the six first-place votes in the preseason poll.
Receiver Christian Haack and running back Tyler Henness joined head coach Larry Wilcox at this year’s Media Day and are excited to improve on their preseason ranking.
“The pressure is on us as a team,” Haack said. “I can’t wait to see how we do this season.”
“I’m very excited (for this season),” Henness said. “We have a lot of confidence going into this season.”
Benedictine returns eight starters on offense and eight starters on defense from a season ago. The Ravens went 7-4 overall last year and finished the Heart North race with a record of 3-2 in a tie with William Penn and Peru State College behind Grand View.
For much of the 2015 season, Benedictine, Grand View and William Penn represented the Heart North in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
“Even before we got the two new schools, I thought we had one of the hardest if not the hardest (conferences) in the country,” Henness said. “Then you throw Grand View and William Penn and it definitely makes us the toughest conference in the NAIA.”
“We usually have five teams in the Top 25 every year, and I can’t think of any other conference that does,” Haack said. “It was tough when we had us, MNU, Baker and Missouri Valley and now to throw in William Penn and Grand View you really can’t take any game lightly.”
Baker University was selected to defend as the Heart South preseason favorite as the earned 50 points while receiving five of the six first-place votes. MNU was selected second in the Heart South and garnered the other first-place vote while Missouri Valley was selected third.
Benedictine opens up the 2016 on the road Aug. 27 when they travel to Ozark, Mo., to take on Evangel University. A closer look at the 2016 schedule and the 2016 Ravens will be released later this week.
The NAIA will release the Preseason Top 25 Coaches’ Poll on Aug. 8. The view the complete release of the Heart Football Coaches’ Polls, click here.
— BC Athletics —