Kansas quidditch wins Midwest Cup Championship
- Oct. 11, 2011
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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 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.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect the correct scores of the first day of play, as well as Michigan State’s record.
Edited by Jason Bennett