With the opening year of the International Quidditch Association (IQA) Conference, the Spartan Spitfires, MSU’s traveling Quidditch team, set the bar high by taking first place in the inaugural Great Lakes Conference Cup.
MSU took the title by defeating Grand Valley State University , Purdue University and Central Michigan University .
Advertising junior Erin Betman, who plays beater for the Spitfires, said the victory was a great accomplishment.
“It was the first time the team had ever swept the tournament,” she said. “We usually play very well and end up placing in the top four each time, but had never actually placed first before.”
Quidditch is a game derived from the popular Harry Potter series. According to the IQA’s website, on-field play consists of three chasers on each side, whose main objective is to score goals with a volleyball known as a quaffle.
Two additional players on each side are called beaters, who use dodgeballs, called bludgers, to disrupt the flow of the game by knocking out other players. When a player is knocked out, he or she is temporarily removed from play and must drop any game balls.
Zoology sophomore Kayla Pohl, a beater for the team, said the team reached great success with her first tournament.
“I’ve become close to many people on the team in just the few months we’ve practiced and played this season,” she said. “Part of the reason MSU’s Quidditch team performs so well, I think, is because we spend time together outside of practices and tournaments and really get to know each other.”
Each team also has a keeper, whose job is to defend the goal hoops from opposing chasers.
Spartan Spitfires’ keeper, chemical engineering junior Tyler Rafferty, said it’s an honor to represent the Spartans.
“My favorite thing about the team is our competitive drive,” Rafferty said. “You have a special connection with the rest of the team that sweats, bleeds and pushes their bodies through exhaustion to earn a victory.”
This year, about half of the team is made up of freshmen. Political theory and constitutional democracy junior Stephen Riccardi, who is the president of MSU Quidditch, said the young team will advance even further with time.
“The fact that we have such a young team that’s so talented and only going to get better is mind-blowing,” Riccardi said.
On Nov. 10-11, Spartan Spitfires will compete in the Midwest Regional Championship in Mason, Ohio.