Kansas Quidditch club tops world rankings
By Hannah Wise
Monday, October 17, 2011
Kansas’ club quidditch team is the top team in the world, according to the rankings released by the International Quidditch Association on Monday afternoon.
The rankings were released with Kansas at No. 1 after updates from the Brotherly Love Cup in Philadelphia and the Canadian season’s kick off in Ontario.
The team became an official member team of the IQA when it competed in the Midwest Cup in Fishers, Ind., Oct. 9-10. The team left Indiana with their first championship trophy after going 6-0 in a field of 18 teams. They played top teams Ball State University (110-90), Michigan State University (100-70) and the University of Pittsburgh (100-70).
After Kansas won the championship, IQA commissioner Alex Benepe said that he expected that the team would be ranked in the top 15 in the world.
“We were expecting top five,” said Doug Whiston, captain of the Kansas team. “We did a little better than that.”
The jump from relative obscurity to No. 1 is uncommon even in the world of quidditch. Kansas now stands above Middlebury College, which founded the first quidditch team, as well as Arizona State University, Louisiana State University and Texas A&M University.
Kansas averages 137.5 points per game while only allowing 35 points against them on average. The have been designated the team with the top offense in the world this week by the IQA.
Four of Kansas’ six games from the Midwest Cup have been recorded so far. The rest are expected to go up next Monday Oct. 24. Whiston said the team is very excited right now, but he expects they may drop down into the top 5 teams by next week.
The team will travel to New York to compete in the IQA’s World Cup Nov. 12-13. It will be their first World Cup appearance.
The team will be a part of 100 teams competing for one World Cup championship. Brackets for the competition are slated for release in the coming weeks.
Quidditch to compete at World Cup
By Hannah Wise
The Kansas Quidditch team announced on Facebook Friday afternoon its intention to compete at the International Quidditch Association's World Cup Nov. 12-13 in New York City.
The team is fresh off winning the IQA Midwest Cup championship in Fishers, Ind. The Jayhawks went 6-0 in the field of 18 teams over two days of play.
The World Cup will feature 100 teams totaling 2,000 athletes competing. Currently the teams are mostly from the United States but teams from Argentina, Finland and New Zealand are also slated to hit the pitch.
The reigning World Cup champions are Middlebury College, the alma mater of IQA commissioner Alex Benepe.
In the IQA top-five ranked teams in the world are Middlebury followed by Arizona State University, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M, and Boston University.
Kansas Quidditch wins Midwest Cup Championship
The Kansas quidditch team entered this weekend’s Midwest Cup tournament in Fishers, Ind., as a relative unknown. Unranked by the International Quidditch Association, the Jayhawks did not expect to advance to the second day.
Six matches later, the Jayhawks remained undefeated and were crowned the Midwest Cup Champion.
“Kansas was amazing,” said IQA commissioner Alex Benepe. “They’ve sort of come out of nowhere recently.”
The team entered the field of 18 teams Saturday morning and swept Bowling Green State University (190-10) and University of Michigan (100-40) and University of Minnesota (150-0). The Kansas seekers snatched the snitch in all three day-one matches. The Jayhawks finished the first day tied for first place in point differential with Michigan State University at 390 points each.
Kansas was seeded third in bracket play on day two, just behind Michigan State and the University of Pittsburgh. The Jayhawks had to wait more than half the day to play, but practiced, watched other matches and cheered on competitors to keep their energy levels up.
On Sunday, the Jayhawks first faced off against No. 59 Ball State University, handing the BSU Cardinals their first loss of the season.
In an extremely aggressive game, medics were called twice to enter the field. Despite the rough play, the match continued until the snitch runner and the seekers returned to the field. Kansas defeated BSU 110-90 when the BSU seeker snatched the snitch to end the game.
Next, Kansas competed against No. 10 Michigan State University. The Spartans’ higher level of experience was evident from the beginning of the match as they showed off an organized play style.
However, the Jayhawks responded to the challenge by staying within two quaffle scores of the Spartans, and the teams were tied at 70-70 when the snitch runner re-entered the pitch.
After chasing the snitch through the Indiana cornfields and back onto the pitch, junior Nick Caldwell, Kansas’ seeker in the game, used his quickness to turn the snitch runner around and grab the snitch hanging from the runner’s backside.
Caldwell’s snatch put the Jayhawks up 100-70 and ended the match.
“I am literally just on an adrenaline rush after winning,” Caldwell said.
With that victory, the team reached the championship round and faced the University of Pittsburgh. Pitsburgh, a Big East school, lacked the support from other Midwest teams that Kansas had.
The Jayhawks gathered together to sing the “Rock Chalk Chant” while other Big 12 teams joined in Kansas traditions by waving the wheat and cheering “Midwest, Midwest.” One bystander yelled, “Because Pitt isn’t even from the Midwest!”
The snitch took off to begin its run. The teams waited until the brooms up signal was given and the match began.
Pitt took the lead early putting up 30 points before Kansas could respond. Caldwell and Kansas chaser sophomore Tyler Amble led the Jayhawk offense with carefully placed passes around the tall Pittsburgh keeper guarding the hoops.
The crowd cheered when the snitch runner and the seekers re-entered the pitch. Kansas was down only 10 points. To win, the Jayhawks needed sophomore seeker Aaron Pope to snatch the snitch.
Pope made the snatch just moments after the snitch entered the pitch, securing the championship for Kansas with a final score of 70-50.
“The first thing I did was look at the score and I saw that 30 points put us up and I have never been that excited,” Pope said.
This is the Jayhawks’ first tournament championship victory. After meeting the chairman of the IQA, the team is trying to raise funds to travel to New York in November for the Quidditch World Cup, which has more than 100 teams registered from across the globe.
“I want Kansas to come to the World Cup of course,” Benepe said.
After showing the quidditch world what the Jayhawks are capable of, the team hopes to compete at the World Cup Nov. 12-13.
Quidditch border showdown this weekend
Rivalry. Competition. Broomsticks. The Kansas quidditch team is preparing to face off in its Border Showdown against Missouri this Sunday at 3 p.m. This is the team’s first match-up of the season. The match marks the start of the second season for Kansas Quidditch.
The Jayhawks finished 7-3 last season. This will be Missouri’s first intercollegiate match. Both Kansas and Missouri teams are unofficial members of the International Quidditch Association. Kansas Quidditch is an officially recognized university club team.
The Jayhawks have been practicing twice a week since the beginning of the school year to prepare for the season. They bring out their brooms, set up the hoops, lace up their running shoes and begin to play outside of the Ambler Student Recreation Center.
The team has been working to increase its speed and aggressive style on the field.
“Last year we played mostly a passing and speed game. This year we have more physical players so we are able to do all three now so we will be able to compete more efficiently,” said Doug Whiston, a junior bludger.
Last season the team traveled to Wichita to play in the Wichita State Tournament in October. It placed third of six teams. At the time, the Kansas team had only been in existence for a couple of weeks.
The team’s second tournament was the Hogsmead Tournament in Fayettville, Ark. The Jayhawks placed third out of eight teams. The team plays a different style than many other collegiate quidditch teams.
“We spread the field out by passing a lot more. Other people just force their way into the goals,” said Hai Nguyen, a junior chaser.
This weekend will be a test for the Jayhawks. They have not seen Missouri play before, while the Tigers were in the stands watching the Jayhawks play in Arkansas. Even with the Tigers’ prior-scouting, the Jayhawks feel like they still have the advantage because of their experience level. When the Kansas team got started last fall they were not prepared for the quick-paced nature of the sport.
“Right when the whistle blows they will figure out just how fast the game is going to be and it will catch them off guard,” said Ngyuen.
Junior seeker Granville Hare said that Missouri has reported that they are bringing 15 athletes to town this weekend. The Jayhawks have a 40-member team and plan to use it to their advantage. The quidditch substitutes are the same as indoor soccer so that athletes can sub in and out when they are too tired.
“We are going to have a line of people that are going to sub-in for each position,” Hare said.
The team’s offensive goal for this weekend is to avoid the opposing beaters and keep its passing consistent as it head to the hoops.
“Chasers sneak around the hoops so you can hit them with a pass and get an easy 10 points,” Whiston said.
The Jayhawks work in a zone defense with the keeper. They try to limit the opposing team’s passing game by having the two beaters covering the opposing team’s chasers. At the same time, the Jayhawk chasers work to steal the quaffle from the opposing chaser with possession.
Hare will be making his debut this weekend.
“I’ve got a few butterflies, but this is Missouri’s first game so I think we’ll have an easy win here,” Hare said.
The Jayhawks take on the Tigers Sunday at 3 p.m. in the field east of Robinson Gym.