MONTICELLO, Ark. (UAM) - Bentonville, Arkansas will play host to 19 NCAA Division II softball team this weekend for the 7-State Classic played at Bentonville High School and Memorial Park.
The field of 19 participants includes six teams from Missouri, four from Arkansas, four from Oklahoma, two from Kansas and one from Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska. The tournament began four years ago with teams from three-states and has grown by at least one state each year.
For host University of Arkansas at Monticello, the Cotton Blossoms will play six games against in-region opponents. UAM and the rest of the Great American Conference moved to the Central Region this year, featuring the GAC, the Mid America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. UAM's six in-region opponents include Nebraska-Kearney (MIAA), Missouri Southern State (MIAA), Fort Hays State (MIAA), Missouri Western (MIAA), Emporia State (MIAA) and Concordia-St. Paul (NSIC).
UAM also plays out-of-region foes Oklahoma Panhandle State (Heartland Conference) and Oklahoma Christian (Heartland Conference). It will be the first time UAM has met Oklahoma Christian and Concordia-St. Paul on the softball diamond.
Other participating teams include Central Missouri (MIAA), Henderson State (GAC), Illinois-Springfield (Great Lakes Valley Conference), Northwest Missouri State (MIAA), Ouachita Baptist (GAC), Rockhurst (GLVC), Southern Arkansas (GAC), Southern Nazarene (GAC), Southwest Baptist (MIAA) and Southwestern Oklahoma State (GAC).
The Cotton Blossoms are 6-2 overall this season following four wins to open the season at home in the Hampton Inn Classic and a 2-2 showing in this past weekend's Southeastern Regional Invitational.
The 7-State Classic begins this Thursday, February 14 and ends on Sunday, February 17. UAM kicks off the event against Oklahoma Panhandle State on Thursday at 1 p.m. All of UAM's eight games will be played at Bentonville High School's softball stadium.