Montana, which finished second to Weber State last season by a game but won the postseason tournament on the Wildcats’ home field, were picked first in the Big Sky preseason softball poll that was released on Thursday, collecting five of eight first-place votes.

Weber State picked up the other three votes and came in second in the poll. Sacramento State was third. The Grizzlies get both the Wildcats and Hornets in Missoula for three-game home series this spring.

“It’s an honor to be picked first, but this will be new for us,” said first-year coach Melanie Meuchel, who was an assistant under Jamie Pinkerton the last three seasons.

“What got us here was trying to prove to everybody that we belong, and that can’t change. Whether you’re picked first or eighth, you still have to go out, day in and day out, and prove it.”

Montana was picked seventh in the 2015 poll, the Grizzlies’ first year of softball, fourth in 2016 and third last season.

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