On April 4, one of the most influential persons in Division III college basketball history…
The Sporting Insider: A New Rival for Webster?
The Webster University Gorloks and the Fontbonne University Griffins are natural rivals in the athletics arena. The schools are located within a 10-minute drive of each other. Add in a 21-year-old tradition (SLIAC teams began play in 1990), and “The Battle of Big Bend” appears to be alive and well.
However, Fontbonne’s athletic teams simply aren’t on par with Webster’s in a majority of sports. The Gorloks have dominated the rivalry of late, and this trend doesn’t look like it will be changing any time soon.
The time has come for Webster to view a different school as being “the” rival. The SLIAC has a couple of good candidates for this rivalry, but one stands out above the rest: Greenville College.
Greenville’s fans are loud and proud — from Webster’s point of view, “obnoxious” might be the more accurate word. Their athletic teams are on the rise and they’re currently in first place in the 2010-2011 All-Sports standings.
Greenville’s athletic teams have improved to the point where they now have to be viewed as a legitimate candidate to unseat Webster’s SLIAC dominance.
The Gorloks have taken home the SLIAC All-Sports trophy six straight years. Webster has also won the award 10 times since the award was introduced in 1999.
The trophy is given to the school that accumulates the most points over the course of a year. Points are determined by how each school finishes in the conference’s 12 sports. The higher a team finishes in the SLIAC regular season standings, the more points that team’s school receives. Basically, the award is used as a measuring stick to determine which SLIAC school has the best athletics program.
Greenville is currently in first place in the All-Sports standings with 50.5 points. Webster is in second with 46.5 points, while Fontbonne is in sixth with 39.
Beginning in 2010-2011, the award will be given to the school that accumulates the most points. In previous years, the total number of points was averaged by the number of sports a school participated in. This rule change may help Webster hold onto the award this year, as Greenville doesn’t have a golf team.
But either way, it is becoming clearer that Fontbonne’s athletic program is fading while Greenville’s is rising. Greenville has won at least a share of three SLIAC regular season titles this year; Fontbonne has none.
Greenville’s fan base always shows up strong, and even though they have the reputation of being cruel at times, there is no denying their passion. Greenville is a college town, and just about everyone in the city attends sporting events.
Fontbonne may be the Webster rival of today, but Greenville is looking like the Webster rival of the future. More so than ever, Greenville College is the institution Webster athletes love to hate.