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MSU Quidditch team competes in World Cup

November 14, 2010

Bludgers, beaters, chasers and seekers, keepers, quaffles and, of course, the golden snitch.

With more than 750 college students running around with broomsticks and capes, the average Muggle might get overwhelmed.

The MSU Quidditch team was one of the 46 teams that competed in the International Quidditch Association, or IQA, fourth annual Quidditch World Cup Saturday and Sunday at DeWitt Clinton Park, in New York City.

The team lost to Texas A&M University in the first elimination round by a score of 180-40, international relations junior and beater Grant Nelson said.

“We fell behind early and we’re playing from behind the whole game. We were never able to come back,” Nelson said. “Everyone played well and we had a lot of fun.”

Quidditch is a sport derived from the “Harry Potter” books by J.K. Rowling.

Middlebury College began the first intramural Quidditch league in 2005, according to the IQA website. In 2007, the IQA was founded by Alex Benepe, a Middlebury student, following the first ever intercollegiate Quidditch match between Middlebury and Vassar College.

This year was the first time MSU was represented at the Quidditch World Cup, international relations sophomore and team captain Will Hack said.

“It’s intense but at the same time, we’re a bunch of athletic nerds,” he said. “It’s a bunch of people who love Harry Potter and running around having fun.”

Despite drawing a tough schedule during the tournament, including three time defending champion Middlebury College in round-robin play, the team had a strong showing, Hack said.

“We did pretty well,” Hack said. “We got a pretty tough draw, we played three time defending champ Middlebury in the first game and we played two other close games against Franklin & Marshall (College) and Syracuse (University).”

The team won against Franklin & Marshall College with a score of 80-60 and Syracuse University with a score of 70-0. Their loss to Middlebury was decided by Middlebury finding the golden snitch, as they lost 60-30, history junior and chaser Lawrence Lazewski said.

The team was formed at the beginning of last fall, Lazewski said. Competing in the Quidditch World Cup for the first time gave the team a chance to compare itself to some of the country’s elite Quidditch programs and helped them evaluate themselves, he said.

“Defensively, we played pretty well,” he said.

“We started off slowly. If a team came at us strong to start the game, we struggled. But once we got into our rhythm and we started playing our game, we did well.”

Although they take the game seriously, Nelson said the team appreciates the novelty of the sport.

“It’s almost laughable at first when you think about people playing Quidditch — especially at an intercollegiate level,” he said.

“But everyone is really into it and the games are intense.”

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