PERKINSTON — Just like last season, Mississippi Gulf Coast starts the 2018-19 season ranked first in the country.
The Bulldogs, defending national champions, sit atop the Bushnell Golfweek NJCAA Division II Coaches Poll, which was announced Friday morning.
"We strive to get better," coach Tommy Snell said. "Even when we're No. 1, we want to get better."
Fellow MACJC competitor Meridian is tied for second with South Mountain. Meridian finished just behind the Bulldogs in the national championship. Gulf Coast received three of six first-place votes. Meridian, South Mountain and Parkland, which is ranked fourth, each got single top votes.
Gulf Coast was ranked first in four of the eight coaches' polls from last year, then claimed a thrilling NJCAA title by one stroke over Meridian at GlenLakes Golf Club in Foley, Ala.
The national championship tournament returns to Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth, Ind., next May. The Bulldogs finished fourth the last time it was played there in 2016.
Gulf Coast has already hit the links in preparation for their first event, the Wallace State Fall Invitational. It will be played in Cullman, Ala., on Sept. 10-11.
"It's really early," Snell said. "We've only had three rounds of qualifying. I like what I see. There's a lot of competition in the team. Our four sophomores are playing decent, and the freshmen are showing signs of good rounds. It's going to be a competitive qualifying year."
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