by Leah Summerville Farrar | April 29th, 2012
By Kenny Chilton
Slider Photo by Matt Hellman
Twelve teams from Texas and Louisiana gathered in Austin, TX on April 14 to play in the University of Texas’ first intercollegiate quidditch tournament, The Lone Star Cup. The Southwest region brought its usual overall physicality in the form of Loyola University New Orleans (New Orleans, LA), Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX), Texas State University (San Marcos, TX), Texas Tech (Lubbock, TX), Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA), the Silver Phoenixes (College Station, TX), Texas A&M (College Station, TX), the Texas Deluminators (Austin, TX), the University of Texas (Austin, TX), Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX), and Baylor University (Waco, TX).
Texas Lutheran University (Seguin, TX) also came out for their first official tournament. In addition to the 12 teams, UT played host to IQA commissioner Alex Benepe himself, who spent the day acquainting himself with the Southwest teams, particularly the newer ones. “The average level of play of all the teams was definitely the highest average level of play I’ve seen,” Benepe said. “The final match was one of the best games I’ve ever seen, if not the best. It was amazing.”
The mix of veteran and newfangled teams made for an intense Saturday of Quidditch. With the strong winds misdirecting quaffles and bludgers all over the three pitches, Texas started the day off by claiming wins over Texas State, Loyola and the Silver Phoenixes in pool play and taking the number one seed. “We played our game in every pool match and only got better as the day progressed,” Texas keeper Augie “Slipstream” Monroe said. “Our talented chasers were able start every game off with a goal and never let up throughout the day.”
Texas A&M went undefeated in pool play–beating Texas Tech, TCU and a very strong Baylor squad–to take the number two seed. A&M, winners of their own tournament just two weeks prior, were taken into overtime by a Baylor snitch grab, where they managed to catch the snitch to ensure victory. “I have to say that Baylor has now become, in my opinion, one of the four elite teams in the Southwest,” A&M captain Drew Wasikowski said. “They’ve been able to keep a relatively clean playing style, which is always respectable. It was the best game I’ve ever seen Baylor play, and I look forward to seeing them at World Cup 2013.”
LSU took third seed after winning against TLU and SHSU and losing to the Deluminators in a powerful overtime performance by both teams. The Deluminators took fourth seed, securing the last bye for the first round of bracket play. Teams such as Texas State, Baylor and SHSU continued to show continued improvement and ferocity on the pitch, raising the bar from where they were at the A&M Classic. “Facing off against the best seekers in the South was challenging to say the least,”
Virginia snitch Rob Szabo, who could recently be seen snitching on the Great Wall of China, said. “I battled against normal sized people as well as giants, each having either ridiculous agility or physical strength. I’ve experienced new tactics and learned a few new strategies in both my offense and defense game, and I’ll be sure to employ them on the pitch next time.”
In bracket play, we saw rivals Texas and Texas A&M fight their ways to the final match. Baylor and LSU advanced to the semi-finals after hard-fought matches against the Deluminators and Texas State, respectively. The scores were some of the closest the Southwest has seen in recent tournaments. So close, in fact, that had the Deluminators or Texas State caught the snitch, the games would have gone into overtime.
The A&M versus Texas game turned out to be 36 minutes of brutality, finesse and fiery play by both teams. Texas started out quickly, grabbing a quick first score followed by several more unanswered scores. They were led primarily by their speedy chaser front and strong beater play, keeping both bludgers for most of the match. Not to be outplayed, the veteran A&M squad began a comeback, showing their usual determination to win by slipping through the Texas defense to secure some goals. Snitch Mason Kuzmich ruled the last part of the game, successfully warding off five different Texas seekers as A&M attempted to rally their team within range of Texas’ score. Finally, after 22 minutes of fight, Texas ended the game with a snitch grab and a score of 150-60.
“Objectively speaking it was the best match of quidditch I had ever seen played,” LSU player and head referee Beto Natera said. “I think it was the culmination of what the Southwest has been trying to do over the past few years. It was the melding of physicality, offensive and defensive skill and strategy all done within the rules.”
Teams showed the results of a tough Southwestern quidditch semester, particularly LSU and Loyola, who were missing many key players due to injury or inability to travel to Austin. The Lone Star Cup was no exemption to the physicality of Southwestern quidditch, seeing it’s fair share of blood and firm hits. “I remember distinctively being a beater ref in the final match and watching countless times where people such as our director, Becca DuPont, get dominated by multiple people at once,” Texas State Captain Jordon Parisher said. “In the Southwest it’s simple, you better go to the hoops hard otherwise you will be sent home crying.”
Overall, UT’s first tournament went off without too many setbacks. The medical staff was on standby all day, and even when the games ran over time, the fields were able to stay open to accommodate the final game. “I believe it was very well-organized,” head organizer Allyson Burton said. “Having a complete list of referees for every pool play match helped cut down on stress and confusion on the part of both the organizers and players.”
After the first Lone Star Cup, UT looks forward to hosting at least one more tournament during the 2012-2013 school year. The tournament was a great way to see the progress the Southwest region has made as a whole. “All of the teams have shown vast improvement from the beginning of the year,” Burton said. “I was impressed by their physicality, but also sportsmanship. I felt that there wasn’t an unhealthy level of aggression during any matches.”
Scores and Results: