by Allyson Burton | February 7th, 2013
Editor’s Note: The author is the president of University of Texas Quidditch. A previous version of this article listed the score of the Texas-LSU match as 110-40*, this has been corrected to 150-40*
The parade grounds on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, LA were full of excitement this past Saturday, as ten teams competed in the second annual Mardi Gras Cup, ultimately won by Texas Quidditch (Austin, TX). Hosted by LSU Quidditch (Baton Rouge, LA), the tournament began around 9:30am in pleasant weather that continued throughout the day, creating the perfect environment for intense competition.
LSU Keeper Brad Armentor storms up the pitch | Photo by Paxton Casey
“We began planning in August and reserved the space months in advance. The whole process was a testament to the dedication of Sam Burmester, Jason Winn, and Panya Kroun. Actual setup for the tournament was carried out early in the morning the day of the event by volunteers from LSU quidditch,” explained Beto Natera, LSU Quidditch president. Gameplay consisted of pool play in the morning and bracket play in the afternoon.
Throughout the day, LSU effectively utilized the strategy of targeting opposing teams beaters whenever the snitch returned to the pitch. One of the most exciting matches of the day was Austin Quidditch (Austin, TX) versus LSU, who played each other in both pool play and bracket play, with AQ winning in pool play and LSU winning in bracket play to move up to the finals. “I enjoyed seeing AQ take on such a strong team and win that face-off. The second match was close too. Both games were won by a snitch grab,” recalled Texas Quidditch co-captain Chris Morris (Texas Quidditch and Austin Quidditch both play at the University of Texas at Austin and keep track of each others’ progress at tournaments). LSU’s beater strategy helped to tire out opposing teams seekers, forcing them to substitute several times. “I really liked that [AQ versus LSU] match-up mostly because I went up against a lot of seekers in [the] same game,” recalled snitch Mason Kuzmitch.
Despite a few heavy losses, Sam Houston State University (SHSU) Quidditch (Huntsville, TX) displayed a never-give-up attitude that exemplifies quidditch. Austin Quidditch surprised many teams by going undefeated in pool play despite being ranked No. 91. Their bludger control for many of their games was a major factor that allowed them to achieve third place in the tournament. The University of South Alabama (Mobile, AL) advanced to the second round of bracket play after beating Loyola University (New Orleans, LA) 100*-70. UTSA’s Roadrunner Quidditch (San Antonio, TX) made it to the semi-finals, building off of their second-place finish at the Bottom of the Bracket tournament.
The final match was a repeat of last year’s Mardi Gras Cup, with LSU competing against Texas Quidditch. The game had a strong start, and that intensity continued to build throughout the tackle-heavy match in a display of physicality that has become associated with the Southwest Region. Texas won 150-40*, with LSU catching the snitch.
Morris attributed his team’s success to a full roster, as the team suffered from injuries and absences last semester. “We had a lot of players with stamina and who never got tired. We were able to play 100% the whole day,” said Morris.
University of Central Florida (UCF) Quidditch (Orlando, FL) made the impressive ten-and-a-half-hour drive to attend the tournament and were eager to meet players outside of the South. “I think for most of us, our favorite part was the time playing all these new teams and getting to know all these new people. We’re a group that likes to have fun and know new people from new regions. Winning a couple games was a victory in itself, but getting to meet all these people and representing our school in a new state was great,” said UCF Quidditch’s president Aliick Jorgensen.
In addition to hosting the tournament, LSU also provided housing for many teams, which helped reduce travel costs for teams like UCF. “I’d like to thank LSU for all that they provided for us, including a place to stay. We couldn’t be more than happy with everything they provided for us. They gave us a great tournament, and we had a great time,” said Jorgensen.
Some highly anticipated matches in the upcoming Southwest Regionals include a rematch between Baylor Quidditch (Waco, TX) and Texas Quidditch. “With their defeat of UT last semester, Baylor won’t be under the radar for any team, and I’m interested to see how they handle the pressure of being known as a top regional team,” said Natera. Fans should also watch Roadrunner Quidditch to see if they continue to rise as one of the up-and-coming teams in the region.