The History of Virginia Quidditch

Photo by: Brianna Marian Photography

Written by: By Erik Morlock and Anna Leonard

This article is part of the “History of…” series curated by The Eighth Man and US Quidditch. The series highlights the individual histories of teams that qualified for US Quidditch Cup 10 to help both players and spectators get to know the story behind the teams. Head over to this link to read more.

The University of Virginia’s quidditch team has seen ups and downs: exciting upsets, unexpected losses and leadership turnover. However, throughout its six-year history, the team has had one constant—perseverance. The passion of its players and the dedication of the leadership lifted up this small team of kids, who found themselves on a makeshift quidditch pitch one Saturday afternoon in 2011, into a team that has consistently qualified for nationals and can be counted upon to succeed even in the face of doubt.

Courtesy: Jess Smith
Courtesy: Jess Smith

Virginia Quidditch was founded by Travis Taylor in the fall semester of 2011. Taylor first played the sport in high school in Newport News, Virginia and wanted to bring the sport to his university. The club was originally structured as an intramural league in which the houses were determined by one’s student dorm and the hoops were lodged in buckets of concrete. Players from each “house” were selected by Taylor to compete as Virginia’s first competitive quidditch team. Those players included Kyle Stolcenberg (captain from 2011-15), Catherine Quinn, and Anna Leonard, all of whom played through their senior years. Virginia joined the Virginia Quidditch League, competing against schools such as University of Richmond, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Tech. The team quickly learned the rules, and a freshly instituted executive board was committed to growing the team and jumping out of their state and onto the regional field the following year.

Courtesy: Jess Smith
Courtesy: Jess Smith

In the fall of 2012, the founders of Virginia Quidditch recruited their first class of newcomers, which added Devon “Pajama Pants” Rea, Brian Stanley and Erik Morlock to the roster. Virginia’s consistent ability to utilize club fairs and an open “exposition” match to recruit has been a lasting strength of the team and has aided in keeping the overall quality of players high year after year. It was during this season the intramural component of the team was dropped, and the remaining team became the Whomping Wahoos—with Wahoo being the unofficial mascot of their university. Virginia was put in a challenging pool in their first appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship stage, alongside Villanova University and Penn State University. Virginia lost both games but still sat in a promising position for a World Cup VI bid. In a best two-out-of-three series, Virginia was matched up against in-state rival University of Richmond for the bid. After three games and an off-pitch snitch catch in game three, it was Richmond who walked away with the bid. For the remainder of the season, Virginia maintained their momentum due to the strength and passion of the leadership, particularly captain Stolcenberg, and ended the 2012-13 season with several wins against World Cup-qualified teams.

Virginia continued to successfully recruit strong athletes in the 2013-14 season, including Chloe Downs, Bradley Hudson, Alex Zammitti, Brett Curtis and Jon Cohen—a McGill University alumnus. In fact, this recruiting season was so successful, Virginia created a B-team, which would become known as Jefferson’s Army after Thomas Jefferson, the founder of their school. Jefferson’s Army still competes unofficially—a testament to the dedication of Virginia players of both the A- and B-teams.

That year marked the infamous “Mid-Arctic” Regional Championship, where Virginia would fall in their World Cup-qualifying games, despite holding leads in both matches. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Appalachian Apparators snuck away with bids in games with the wind chill well below zero, and Virginia defeated Duke University to be the first regional alternate. Aided by some European turmoil in the form of six of the continent’s teams dropping, the University of Virginia would attend World Cup VII as an alternate bid. On day one at Virginia’s first national championship, the team saw a bittersweet ending. An unforgettable game against Bowling Green State University saw Virginia shocking the pot one Bowling Green with a catch while down 20. However, the win was not set in stone. Bowling Green protested the result, claiming that the snitch handicapped too early. USQ upheld the protest and the game was replayed, beginning at brooms up, with the score as it previously stood. Virginia lost bludger control, possession of the quaffle and, eventually, the match. However, an earlier upset against  Hofstra University and a win against UC Berkeley proved enough, and Virginia moved on to see Day Two, where it would be dismantled by a Central Michigan University squad led by Ashley Calhoun. Nonetheless, the Virginia team maintained its reputation as a tough, scrappy team, making it farther than expected as an alternate bid.

The 2014-15 season began with a refresh for the team. The team was granted status as a full club-sport, prioritizing its funding and giving the team much-needed field space—along with a rebrand with new, crisp orange and white jerseys. The squad would also now officially be known as the Virginia Quidditch Club. Nonetheless, Virginia played yet another frustrating regional. After handily defeating George Mason University on Day One, George Mason, under the leadership of Ben Mertens, would come back fiercely when they faced off for a bid on Day Two. George Mason controlled the game with a slow-ball strategy designed to break down Virginia’s slow, methodical offense by limiting offensive possessions and drastically reducing pace of play. But Virginia made most of its second chance for a bid, defeating the Philadelphia Honey Badgers and Lock Haven University in the double-elimination bracket. This was an emotional victory for Virginia, as this was the senior year of its remaining founders.

The spring would bring the addition of some new talent to the women’s chaser line with Brittany Huffman moving up from Jefferson’s Army. World Cup 8 brought the Swiss-style tournament to quidditch, which did not favor a Virginia team that looked to study and outwit opponents rather than outmatch physically. First came a strong win against an upward trending Texas Tech University, Virginia’s first ever match against a Southwest team. Game two was against Northeast regional champion Tufts University, where Virginia suffered a three-digit loss. Following that match, Virginia was matched against Tufts’ neighbor, Harvard University. Virginia quickly found themselves in a 40-point hole and switched to a dual-male beater pair, featuring Stanley and Rea, and miraculously climbed out and came away with the win. With their eye on a 3-1 finish, next up was Blue Mountain Quidditch. However, that finish would quickly evaporate from the realm of possibility.

Despite a 20-point lead, Blue Mountain’s Calhoun would once again rain on the Virginia parade and lead the community team to victory. Virginia’s 2-2 day would prove to be enough and an elated Virginia made it to day two, yet again outperforming expectations of a team that received their bid through the loser’s bracket.

Day two kicked off with a familiar foe: Tufts. Despite that 100-point defeat on day one, Stolcenberg revised the Virginia zone defense significantly for the first time in the team’s history, moving 6’ 4” first-year John Hogan behind the hoops to halt Tuft’s strategy of dunking from behind, a position that is usually filled by the smallest chaser in the lineup. Virginia’s quick-thinking and deft performance under pressure led to an incredible defeat of Tufts, 70*-40. Virginia thus advanced to the Sweet 16, the farthest the club had ever advanced at the national and well beyond any published expectations. Virginia’s next opponent was West Coast community goliath, the Lost Boys. The tough match lasted nearly 40 minutes, but Virginia held their own, with starting beaters Leonard and Stanley keeping the game close for the first half. The loss ended a remarkable run by Virginia and gave the founding members an incredible end to their final season.

The 2015-16 season started with questions. Stolcenberg, the president and captain of the Virginia squad, had led the team to improve each season. Now, Morlock would have some big shoes to fill stepping into his role. As one might have guessed, the team’s regional trip would still not go exactly as planned. An early loss to Rutgers University in pool play forced Virginia into a challenging match on day two for the bid: a qualification rematch from three years ago against Richmond. A snitch-range game that went Richmond’s way forced Virginia to play, yet again, through the loser’s bracket, with VCU and James Madison University standing between Virginia and their next trip to nationals.

The remaining games would be snitch-range matches, but Virginia would squeak its way to earning its third consecutive bid. Leading up to US Quidditch Cup 9, Virginia was able to get its first win against another rival, University of Maryland. At nationals, Virginia drew that year’s pool-of-death, which featured the under-ranked, fifth-potted Crimson Elite. Virginia suffered losses to the first- and second-potted Rochester United and University of Kansas, respectively, and would finally get revenge on Calhoun in a big win over Lake Effect Maelstrom. Virginia would also pull off the (non-)upset of Crimson Elite, but a Kansas loss to Crimson Elite left the pool standings with Virginia ranked four out of five and therefore out of contention for day two. The squad would be the only 2-2 team to not advance, despite 1-3 UC Berkeley advancing in another pool. A disappointing end, but Virginia was not to be held down for long.  

Virginia is currently under the leadership of Alex Zammitti, the team’s starting keeper. Its methodical defense stands strong despite perpetually having a team filled with smaller athletes. And it has added a new feature to its reputation: speed. Virginia has continued to pick up the pace and has drastically increased their average possessions per game. As a team that has typically succeeded in keeping games low-scoring, they often struggled to put points on the board. This new, high-paced Virginia is certainly a step forward offensively. The squad’s performance at the recent Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship has placed its streak of bad luck at regionals behind them. Despite a low seeding, they ended day one at regionals undefeated, with a snitch-range win over former Northeast community team The Warriors. However, The Warriors ended up getting the best of Virginia in the the quarterfinals match for the first chance of a bid. And though they would see the loser’s bracket—again—Virginia bounced back and won their bid in an out-of-range match against the new Richmond community team, the Richmond Ravens. Top players Matthew Cooper, Gates Young, Sarah Vanlandingham and Colin Sullivan look to hone their chaser game and continue to surprise at nationals.

Virginia continues to develop its young talent and maintain its tradition of strong leadership and a positive, encouraging team environment. The current president, Huffman, has grown into a confident leader and is already preparing the next generation of talent to lead the team. Willing to think outside the box and leverage the strengths of its players, Virginia will likely continue to improve and thrive into the future.

Roll Along BG Warriors

Photo by: Harry Clarke

Written by Guest Writer: Stephen Kersey

This article is part of the “History of…” series curated by The Eighth Man and US Quidditch. The series highlights the individual histories of teams that qualified for US Quidditch Cup 10 to help both players and spectators get to know the story behind the teams. Head over to this link to read more.

Five years after Middlebury College made quidditch into a college phenomenon, a little known rural town was about to hear its first ever “BROOMS UP!” Bowling Green, Ohio is not a destination people usually want to go to unless someone is into tractor pulling (it is, after all, home to the National Tractor Pulling Championships). Even then, the small college town is not flashy by any means. But in the fall of 2010, a series called Harry Potter would change the life of many past, present, and future Falcons to come.

Fall of 2010 marked the formation of BG Quidditch. Alexis Moody had wanted to start a Harry Potter club on Bowling Green State University’s campus, but thought someone would before she had chance.

“I first heard about quidditch in late 2009,” Alexis recounts. “As an avid Harry Potter fan, it was becoming big news. I knew Bowling Green didn’t have a team but I figured someone else was going to start one. A year later, no one had and I was dying to play so I started the BG Marauders as a Harry Potter fan club [now F.A.N.D.O.M]. At the time, I just wanted to get the most likely people, Harry Potter fans, to play. Quidditch, for me, is the perfect intersection of my love for Harry Potter and my love for contact sports. My greatest achievement in life has been BG Quidditch and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Alexis went on to be the head captain for multiple seasons, and laid out the foundation of what the BGSU quidditch team is now. After starting the team, Alexis could barely get ten people to show up to practice. Even so, the first BGSU quidditch team won 8 games out of 16 its first semester. While this may not seem impressive, a team with seven players attending a tournament demonstrated their dedication to the game. With the program still expanding, BGSU decided not to attend World Cup IV in New York City in the fall of 2010.

The following semester would change BGSU’s team for years to come. In the spring of 2011, Dan Daugherty, a perennial star player, joined BG Quidditch. Dan had played high school football and basketball, which translated to quidditch easily. His dynamic transitions from one end of the pitch to the other made him a breakout star. He played the game like no other at the time. His success on the pitch led him to become a two-time alternate for Team USA. With his help, BGSU had a bright future.

The following year, BGSU went to World Cup V, but finished in last place. But even with their last place finish, their hearts and competitive nature remained strong.

Fall 2012 – Spring 2013

The Fall of 2012 began a great year for BG Quidditch. They had recruited their best talent since the program started. New players like Evan Adkins, Meredith Taylor, and Kaitlin Richard were all standouts. With BGSU’s new talent, they adapted to new strategies previously unseen in the game. Utilizing star keeper Dan Daugherty as a primary ballhandler supported by several talented female wing chasers as passing options, BGSU would start two male beaters most games, allowing for a faster paced defensive set and quicker goals on offense. This strategy, while a common aspect of the modern game, was utilized by few teams back in 2012. Running the double male line often left opponents  flustered, and many teams found themselves shifting their whole entire strategy to combat BGSU’s game. BGSU ended up qualifying for World Cup VI and reached the Midwest Regional Finals, but lost a close game to Marquette. This would mark the first of five straight appearances in a regional final for BGSU.

Photo by Tim Adkins
Photo by Tim Adkins

World Cup VI was in Kissimmee, Florida. BGSU had traveled there not knowing what destiny had waiting for them.  With the addition of talented rookie Greg Smolkovich, the team had the depth they needed to pursue the championship. Bowling Green went into day two of World Cup as the 31st seed. After winning their play-in game against Tennessee Tech, they found themselves matched up with the third seed, the University of Miami Hurricanes. During snitch–on-pitch, Miami caught, but was called off due to their seeker allegedly being beat. With Bowling Green having the game swing in their favor, Sam Roitblat, a future team USA seeker in his first season, caught the snitch. Sam would catch again the following game, a matchup with the Mid-Atlantic powerhouse University of Maryland, setting them up for an Elite 8 matchup against a team comprised of all-stars from the West region: The Lost Boys.

The Lost Boys had been playing great all season, and went into bracket play as the sixth seed. The game between BGSU and Lost Boys would be one of the longest documented quidditch matches in history. Lasting just short of 50 minutes, BGSU and Lost Boys fought back and forth until Sam Roitblat made a miraculous catch to end the game with a final score of 230*-210. BGSU had made it to the final four with Dan Daugherty and Sam Roitblat leading the way. Was it possible for them to win their next match? A true David vs. Goliath matchup was at hand as BGSU was set to face the University of Texas, a team still considered to have the best chasing depth of any collegiate team ever. Despite a hard-fought match, UT ultimately defeated an exhausted BGSU 140-50*.  Dan Daugherty played himself to the point where he required a IV and an ice bath after the Texas game. Texas would go on to win the championship against the first seed UCLA team.

World Cup VI was a huge success for BGSU. They had national attention in the quidditch community, and were considered an up-and-coming program. Making the final four propelled BGSU’s quidditch program and created a foundation for the program to build upon.

Fall 2013 – Spring 2016

The next three years would be up and down for BGSU. BGSU would win their first regional championship against The University of Kansas in the fall of 2013, but would lose the next two regional finals in range to Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. With the success of their Cinderella final four run at World Cup VI, the 2013-2014 season saw a significant increase in new players. With so much potential talent, BGSU decided to create a second team called Falcon Warriors to act as the team’s junior varsity program. The 2013 Falcon Warriors was comprised of mostly freshman and a few varsity players from the year before. Having two teams in the program helped. Players who were not ready to be on BG Quidditch could grow and mature. This allowed for BG Quidditch to replace players with seasoned veterans from Falcon Warriors. Players like Sara McCullough, Alajuwan Brown, Max Portillo, and Stephen Kersey would all eventually move up to BGSU’s Varsity team. The Falcon Warriors would go on to earn a spot at World Cup 8 after beating Ohio University in a snitch range game at the 2014 Midwest Regional Championships.

Photo by Isabella Gong
Photo by Isabella Gong

Spring of 2014 would be an average year for BGSU’s Varsity program.  They qualified for World Cup VII and placed well in the tournament, but on day two, a tough Baylor team would go on to knock them out of bracket play.

Photo by Isabella Gong
Photo by Isabella Gong

The following season was an unexpected rough patch for the BGSU program. Going into World Cup 8, BGSU was considered a subpar team. While having a team leader in Dan Daugherty leading the passing attack, their play against mid to lower level teams was satisfactory, but not at the level of previous seasons. Teams were able to stifle the offense. BGSU would eventually lose to the University of Maryland and Tufts University, and their 3-2 record knocked BGSU out of bracket contention.

The fall of 2015 sparked change in BGSU. Quidditch was evolving, and a new set of contributing players began to play a greater role with the team. With the formation of Major League Quidditch (MLQ) in May 2015 to act as a quidditch summer league, several BGSU players were able to compete with the local Cleveland Riff.  This experience in MLQ allowed for BGSU players got to look at Quidditch strategy in a completely new way. Most importantly, BGSU players gained experience from playing with multiple players from rival Ohio State University. OSU had just completed its best season in program history, and their top players were at the helm of the Cleveland Riff team. With a recalibrated concept of quidditch strategy, BGSU would go on to win 20 games in the fall of 2015, losing only to an elite University of Michigan team and rival Ball State University.

Photo by Jessica Jiamin Lang Photography
Photo by Jessica Jiamin Lang Photography

BGSU rode the momentum from their successful fall season into US Quidditch Cup 9, hoping to reverse their ill fortunes of the previous year. With Dan Daugherty switching to beater and the emergence of breakout stars Josh Scott and Zach Conkle, BGSU would finish pool play 4-0 and earn a high seed in bracket play. After a close victory over New York University to open bracket play, BGSU defeated  Texas State in arguably their best game of the year to earn a spot in the Elite 8, one game away from matching their legendary 2013 Cinderella run. Again, BGSU was matched with a tournament favorite in QC Boston. Despite the best efforts of Daugherty and beater partner Max McAdoo, QC Boston would ultimately pull away, winning 220*-90. QC Boston would go on to beat Rochester United in the US Quidditch Cup 9 Finals, and while BGSU finished below their initial goal, they now knew what it took to defeat the best team in the nation.

Fall 2016 – Present

BGSU lost over half of their elite 8 team the following year, and found themselves in a position where they had to double down on recruitment. Through the use of media and videos to advertise to potential recruits, they showed that quidditch was an actual sport. Replacing their veteran graduates with talented rookies, BGSU rebuilt their program over the fall into a force to be reckoned. After beating the then number-one ranked Rochester United and going undefeated in their fall season, BGSU defeated longtime rival Ball State to win the Great Lakes Regional title. Entering their spring season, they were also ranked top 5 in USQ and Eighth Man rankings simultaneously for the first time ever. BGSU started off the first half of the year strong, but have a tough road ahead of them leading up to US Quidditch Cup 10.  They remain undaunted by the challenges ahead.

The History of the Appalachian Apparators

Photo by: Alex Gates

Written By: Greg Astolfi

This article is part of the “History of…” series curated by The Eighth Man and US Quidditch. The series highlights the individual histories of teams that qualified for US Quidditch Cup 10 to help both players and spectators get to know the story behind the teams. Head over to this link to read more.

The Appalachian Apparators, now in their fourth official year of existence, burst onto the IQA/USQ scene in the fall of 2013. Since joining USQ, Appalachian has never failed to qualify for a World Cup/US Quidditch Cup.

Appalachian was first formed as an unofficial team in fall 2009under the name Appalachian Quidditchwhen collegiate quidditch was still in its early stages. The team began as a meager group of seven friends playing with hoops made of traffic cones and hoola hoops. However, slowly but surely, the group attracted more members. In the fall of 2011, the group had its first large influx of players thanks to its participation in the Carolinas Quidditch Conference, where the team began competing unofficially against other North Carolina teams. Appalachian even capped off the spring season in 2012 as the Greensboro Gauntlet champions–the then unofficial state championship–winning a close game over in-state rival University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The first major change for Appalachian came in the fall of 2012. World Cup V had generated a great deal of hype and the first ever regional championships had been announced. Excited about the prospect of qualifying for World Cup VI, the young players on Appalachian proposed joining the league as an official team and attending the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. However, the current leadership was antipathetic to the idea. They were not ready to shift the team’s mentality away from a fun, Harry Potter-inspired activity. These competing visions for the future would cause a rift within the club and spelled trouble for the existence of the team.

The young, more competitive core of players left and helped form the community team QC Carolinas. The newly formed community team decided take their chances on a World Cup bid and registered for the regional, despite the fact many of the players had never played in an official tournament. There was also a lack of chemistry and organization, due to the Carolinas consisting primarily of players from Appalachian, UNC and a few graduates of other Mid-Atlantic schools. Many of the members met for the first time in the hotel parking lot. It truly was a ragtag group of players coming together with the sole purpose of qualifying for World Cup. Despite the aforementioned struggles, the stars aligned and the team was able to sneak away with a bid by defeating Virginia Tech, 2-0, in a hotly-contested three-game series in the Round of 16.

The team continued to compete in tournaments leading up to World Cup in April. This gave the Appalachian players on the Carolinas squad valuable exposure to high-level competition. They began to develop a good sense for the sport and honed their skills. The fairytale season, however, would end in a disastrous 0-4 showing in Kissimmee, Fla. The failure to perform on the national stage as well as competing visions for their independent programs would eventually lead to the fracturing of the Carolinas.

Disappointed in their World Cup performance and the discord within the Carolinas community team, the portion of the squad that was composed of Appalachian players decided to go back to their original team and revitalize the program in the fall of 2013. After winning the club elections, former Carolinas members Greg Astolfi, Sam Luke and Abbi Pittman founded Appalachian Apparators Quidditch: a USQ official community team based in the High Country area. With a season of USQ experience under their belt, the new leadership decided that their goal was to qualify for World Cup VII, but this time as Appalachian. They began recruiting players with a new, more competitive vision for the team.

The road to World Cup would not be easy. The team was only able to attend one official event at Virginia Tech prior to their regional. They went 1-1, beating University of Virginia and falling to University of Richmond. Still, the strong performance against what was then strong, mid-tier competition proved to be good motivation for the team. They showed up to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship as a pot three team and performed just as expected by going 2-2. Their even record would see them draw a tough matchup against Johns Hopkins University in the Sweet 16. Tempers flared with a bid on the line in a 44-minute slugfest. Eventually John Hopkins proved too much and Appalachian and pulled to end the game (180-110*). The team bet on securing a bid through the consolation bracket.

Appalachian breezed through the Philadelphia Honey Badgers (160*-10) and thus set the stage for a do-or-die rematch with Virginia. Both teams competed hard in less than optimal conditions. The temperature was well below zero with wind gusts of about 20 mph. The game went back and forth before Appalachian seeker Ancrum Ballenger finally pulled the snitch. After a lengthy deliberation, the catch was ruled good and Appalachian beat Virginia 100*-60, punching their ticket to World Cup VII. There, they finished pool play 2-2 and, eventually falling to the Ottawa University on a snitch catch in the play-in round of brackets.

Though many would not consider a play-in finish at World Cup a huge success, the leadership of Appalachian could not have been more thrilled with what their team had accomplished in such a short period of time.

Having achieved their first-year goals, the captains set their eyes on loftier prizes for their next season. The goal was not only to qualify, but to make a deep run at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship and World Cup. Fall 2014 saw the arrival of arguably the best recruiting class in the team’s history. The team grew to almost 50 members between the competitive and practice squads. Appalachian’s roster boasted a slew of new talent that helped the team start its season with a finals run at the Greensboro Gauntlet. They would follow up their Gauntlet performance with a quarterfinals run at Turtle Cup where they fell to the University of Maryland. Both tournaments gave the newly-recruited players valuable experience heading into their regional, where the team finished second in their pool and secured another bid to World Cup with relative ease. However, after a strong day-one performance, the team would bow out in the quarterfinals with an underwhelming showing against Richmond.

The team entered World Cup VIII as a bit of an enigma. In only their second official year in existence, many teams outside of the Mid-Atlantic had never heard of Appalachian. However, Appalachian had prepared well, flying under the radar. They drew a tough matchup for the first round of the newly added swiss format, playing University of Rochesterthe core of which would later help build Rochester United and the Major League Quidditch team Rochester Whiteout. Appalachian came ready to play and got off to a strong start matching Rochester through snitch on pitch. Unfortunately Appalachian would lose on snitch catch 110*-70. This set the stage for a second-round matchup with a physical University of Texas at San Antonio team. At the onset, Appalachian was not prepared for the physical, Southwest brand of quidditch and UTSA jumped out to a big lead. The Apparators would fight back into the game only to suffer another loss on an accidental, premature snitch catch. Appalachian thought the catch would force overtime, however, UTSA had scored a goal just moments before. After much deliberation, the refs ruled that the goal had occurred prior to the catch and thus the Apparators had handed themselves their second loss. After games against the Long Beach Funky Quaffles, University of South Carolina and University of South Florida,the team would finish 3-2. Strength of schedule and tiebreakers would not see them into bracket play. This was a tough blow for the team. They had played well the whole tournament, but unfortunately would be eliminated by just a couple of snitch-on-pitch miscues. Nevertheless, the experience would help the young players on the team forge ahead.

After this season, the team faced the first change in leadership since joining USQ. The players who had started the team were leaving Boone, N.C. and it would be up to the newly-recruited players to carry the team forward. Appalachian entered 2015-16 with a mixed bag of results. In addition to the aforementioned loss, they had an up-and-down fall season with highpoints such as playing Ball State University in range, but also lows such as losing to a weak Virginia Tech team that would fail to qualify for nationals. Despite the rocky start, the team would come together and put up a solid showing at the Mid-Atlantic Regional to once again claim their spot at nationals.

In the second half of the season the team really began to click, entering US Quidditch Cup 9 with a spring record of 8-1. They entered nationals as a pot-three team, but the favorite to finish second in their pool. The team would ultimately finish pool play behind University of Texas and Southern Storm, but still earned a spot in the play-in round. Despite the progress the team made, they would once again fall in the play-in round, this time to the community team the Fighting Farmers.

This season, Appalachian already boasts a number of strong performances, including a snitch-range game against perennial Mid-Atlantic powerhouse Maryland. They have earned another bid to nationals and hope to take the team into bracket play for the first time in the program’s history. Since joining USQ, Appalachian has never missed a qualification for nationals; however they have also never made a run into bracket play. Qualifying for Nationals is an amazing accomplishment for a new team., As a four-year program, Appalachian is still seeking that signature season where they could surprise everyone and make a Cinderella run.

New Article Series Announced For US Quidditch Cup 10

Get an insider’s look into the history of teams qualifying for US Quidditch Cup 10 and learn about rivalries old and new in our new editorial series.

Written By: Michael Pascutoi
Photo by: Jessica Jiamin Lang Photography

With US Quidditch Cup 10 less than a hundred days away, USQ is proud to announce the first part of the media build-up to our tenth national championship. Beginning next week, we will be posting two separate article series outlining both the history of quidditch and why, eleven years into our history, the game has never been more exciting.

“History Of…” Series

USQ’s first article series will highlight the individual histories of all teams who qualified for US Quidditch Cup 10. The main goal of this anthology is for both players and spectators to know that every team has its own unique history. Writers will delineate major moments that defined each team, covering the organization both on-pitch and their overall team culture off-pitch.

However, USQ understands that the best author for each team’s story are likely to come from within. Therefore, teams will be given the option of writing their own histories for the season.

USQ volunteers will work closely with the writers chosen by each team in editing articles and providing ideas for content if needed. For those already qualified, USQ’s editors will be reaching out to teams over the next couple of weeks to begin the article writing process. An example article will be available for teams to use as a resource upon request.

Inside the Rivalries

Our second series, “Inside the Rivalries,” will provide an in-depth look into the rivalries that have shaped quidditch over its competitive history. While the historic nature of a Boston University vs. Emerson College or Texas-Texas A&M matchup is easy to grasp for most veteran players, these rivalries have in many cases faded or been obscured by newer rivalries continuing to take shape. USQ’s staff writers and editors will identify these rivalries, the players and games that shaped them, and how they have contributed to the evolution of quidditch both competitively and culturally.

Articles from each series will be available over the coming months here. Select articles will also be posted on the US Quidditch website.  A souvenir booklet containing excerpts and photos of both series will be available to purchase at US Quidditch Cup 10. Content will also be incorporated into the U.S. section of the quidditch history exhibit onsite at the event.

If you have any questions about the article series, please contact press@usquidditch.org

Michael Pascutoi is the Editorial Coordinator for USQ.  Formerly a member of The Warriors, Michael enjoys long walks on the beach, competitive baking, and launching corks from a champagne bottle at random strangers.

#MyQuidCupJourney in Columbia, South Carolina

By Eric Andres, Guest Writer

So far, US Quidditch Cup 9 hasn’t disappointed with the level of talent, intensity and spirit throughout Saturday’s gameplay. Preparation for the sport’s highest level of competition may seem straightforward every year, but each team’s #MyQuidCupJourney is an integral part to their philosophy and work ethic. The veteran University of British Columbia Thunderbirds have committed years to competing with the best U.S. teams. UBC Chaser Elizabeth Benoy has been looking forward to proving that they’re still a USQ-level team, given that they outstretched California State Berkeley in overtime.

“We can compete with the best,” says Benoy. “So far, I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

With old teams come the new, as Utah State Quidditch Club makes their first appearance on the national stage after a roller coaster of a first season.

“Our biggest focus was fundraising at first,” says chaser Sierra Whipple-Padgen. Many times, USQ teams find the monolith task of raising travel funds to be their biggest competition. However, USQC mounted an enormous effort that resulted in $10,000 over four weeks of fundraising. On Saturday, Utah State defeated one of the oldest opponents in quidditch. But once you pay your way, is it worth it?

“This is amazing, I absolutely love it.” says Whipple-Padgen, inspired to find how friendly the community was. Citing unknown players from teams on the other side of the country walking right up and complementing her play, she knows how supportive it can be. “It’s incredible. I love it. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”

Whether they’re coming from a legacy program or a brand new institution, quidditch teams know that sacrifice and hard work pay off in big ways. Keep following #MyQuidCupJourney for more thrilling accounts of what it takes to make it to nationals and succeed, no matter the score.

Photo by Jessica Lang.