Grinnell Pioneers

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Grinnell Pioneers
UniversityGrinnell College
ConferenceMidwest Conference
NCAADivision III
Athletic directorGreg Wallace
LocationGrinnell, Iowa
Varsity teams18 (9 men's, 9 women's)
Football stadiumRosenbloom Field
Baseball stadiumNorth Diamond
Soccer stadiumSpringer Field
ColorsBlack and Scarlet[1]

The Grinnell College varsity sports teams are named the Pioneers. They participate in eighteen intercollegiate sports at the NCAA Division III level and in the Midwest Conference. Grinnell was previously in the Missouri Valley Conference.[2]

Nearly one-third of recent Grinnell graduates participated in at least one of 20 varsity sports while attending the college[3] and the college has led the Midwest Conference in the total number of Academic All-Conference honorees in last six years.[citation needed]


In February 2005, Grinnell became the first Division III school featured in a regular season basketball game by the ESPN network family in 30 years when it faced off against the Beloit Buccaneers on ESPN2.[4] Grinnell lost 86-85.[5] Grinnell College's basketball team attracted ESPN due to the team's run and gun style of playing basketball, also known as the Grinnell System. Coach Dave Arseneault's "system" incorporates a continual full-court press, a fast-paced offense, an emphasis on offensive rebounding, a barrage of three-point shots and substitutions of five players at a time every 35 to 40 seconds. This allows a higher average playing time for more players than the "starters" and suits the Division III goals of scholar-athletes.[citation needed] "The System" has been criticized for not teaching the principles of defense. However, under "The System," Grinnell has won three conference championships over the past ten years and have regularly placed in the top half of the conference. Arseneault's teams have set numerous NCAA scoring records and several individuals on the Grinnell team have led the nation in scoring or assists.[6]

On November 19, 2011 Grinnell player Griffin Lentsch set a Division III individual scoring record in a game against Principia College. The 6-foot 4-inch guard scored 89 points, besting the old record of 77, also set by Pioneers player Jeff Clement in 1998. Lentsch made 27 of his 55 shots, including 15 three-pointers as Grinnell won the high-scoring game 145 to 97.[7]

On November 20, 2012 Grinnell's Jack Taylor broke Lentsch's scoring record—as well as the records for NCAA and collegiate scoring—in a 179–104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible. Taylor scored 138 points, besting the previous NCAA record of 113.[8] Taylor scored 109 points in a November 2013 game against Crossroads College to become the first player in NCAA history to have two 100-point games.[3][9]

Cross country[edit]

The Grinnell men's cross country team has become one of Grinnell's most successful teams. The perennial powerhouse, as of 2013, they have won 25 of the last 27 Midwest Conference Cross Country Championships.[10] Grinnell has also had 18 individual Midwest Conference champions in the past 27 years.[10] The women's cross country team is also very successful. They have also won more conference titles than any other team in the Midwest Conference, winning 8 of the last 11 titles.[11]


Grinnell's football program started in 1889, when the Pioneers beat the University of Iowa 24–0.[12]. The match was held on November 16, 1889 in Grinnell and was the first game of intercollegiate football west of the Mississippi River, and therefore, Iowa.[13] A stone marker still stands in Grinnell Field marking the event.

Track and field[edit]

Both the Grinnell men's and women's track and field teams have won several indoor and outdoor championships since 1909.[14]

Club sports[edit]

In addition to the varsity sports, Grinnell has several club sports teams that compete in non-varsity sports such as sailing, water polo, ultimate and rugby union. The Men's Water Polo club team, the Wild Turkeys, were runners-up in the 2007 Division III Collegiate National Club Championships organized by the CWPA in Lindenwood University, St. Louis. The Men's Ultimate team, nicknamed the Grinnellephants, qualified in 2008 for its first Division III National Championship in Versailles, Ohio. The Women's Ultimate team, nicknamed The Sticky Tongue Frogs, tied for third place in the 2010 Division III National Championship in Appleton, Wisconsin.[15][16] The success was repeated in 2011 when the men's team placed third in 2011 Division III National Championship in Buffalo.[17]


  1. ^ Grinnell College Visual Identity. Retrieved June 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "Grinnell". December 13, 1918. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  3. ^ a b Miller, Kerry (November 20, 2013). "Grinnell Super Scorer Jack Taylor Opens Up About Stats, Style of Play". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  4. ^ Amy Farnum. NCAA Sports. Grinnell Goes Big-Time. January 28, 2005.
  5. ^ Beloit 86, Grinnell 85. February 3, 2005.
  6. ^ Official 2007 NCAA Men's Basketball Records Book, Archived March 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved March 7, 2007.
  7. ^ "Grinnell College star shatters Division III scoring record". via Yahoo Sports website. November 22, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  8. ^ "Grinnell's Taylor pours in NCAA-record 138 points". November 20, 2012. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
  9. ^ "Jack Taylor tops 100 points again". Associated Press. November 18, 2013. Retrieved November 18, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ a b "Midwest Cross Country Men's Championships History". Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  11. ^ "Grinnell College Athletics - Pioneer women's cross country team seeks another big season". Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Lamb, D and McGrane, B, p. 2.
  14. ^ "Grinnell Men's Outdoor Track and Field". Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  15. ^ USA Ultimate. 2010 UPA College Division III Womens Championships Archived September 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ The Sticky Tongue Frogs Grinnell Womens Ultimate Archived June 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Michael Aguilar (May 24, 2011). "News 2011 D-III College Championships - Sunday Open Recap". Retrieved May 16, 2013.