Campus Life

Utah State Quidditch Team Qualifies for National Championship

(Photo from the USU Statesman Online)

The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or Utah State News Service (formerly The  Hard News Café) or both for inclusion in Utah State Today without additional editing by its editor.

Utah State Quidditch Team Qualifies for National Championship

By Whitney Eversole in The Utah Statesman Thursday, March 31, 2016

They may not have had flying broomsticks, but that didn’t stop the Utah State Quidditch Club team from qualifying for US Quidditch Cup 9, the national Quidditch championship tournament.

The team will head to Columbia, South Carolina on April 16-17 to compete against 60 of the country’s top teams.

Quidditch is a co-ed, full-contact sport, said Devon Anderson, one of the team’s captains. The game was born on the pages of the Harry Potter novels, and is played in essentially the same way it is in the books, except for the flying issue, as well as some different rules with the “snitch.” Though the sport has been around for 10 years, the Utah State Quidditch Club began just last year, when Anderson was a sophomore.

“It’s a lot more legit than I thought it would be,” Anderson said. “I saw a flyer for it last year and just kind of thought it was a joke. It ended up being the most physical activity I have ever done. I have a football and wrestling background, and it’s way more intense than those things.”

The team just missed the cut for nationals eligibility last year, but this year they finished second out 27 teams at the regional championships in Los Angeles. The nationals team, comprised of 14 players, nine of whom are freshmen, has already traveled to seven tournaments this year. They qualified for nationals just five weeks ago, and immediately had $10,000 to raise.

“It’s been an expensive year for everyone,” Anderson said. Anderson and his co-captain, Cameron VomBaur, have been hard at work organizing fundraising efforts. The team has set up an Indiegogo page, and have been selling t-shirts outside the campus store for $12 each. According to Anderson, the money they raise will go towards travel and hotels, and everything else is coming out of the players’ pockets.

Even more important than fundraising, Anderson said the biggest way students could contribute to USU Quidditch is by getting involved. Practices are all open, and are held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6-8 p.m. at Legacy Fields. They will soon be moving to the Quad, weather permitting. The team is looking to expand, and is considering adding a junior varsity team to its current roster because of a spike in interest.

“Every single person I’ve ever met who has legitimately tried it enjoys it,” Anderson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone come to just one practice.”

He explained that the sport has gotten progressively less “nerdy” over the years. While original players started out wearing capes and riding brooms, it has evolved to a different stage of sophistication, replacing brooms with PVC pipes and capes with coordinated uniforms. Now, Quidditch brings people together, regardless of their background with Harry Potter or any other aspect of life. In fact, the team’s captains last year had never read a Harry Potter book or seen a single movie.

“You have people who are there just because they love Harry Potter, but then you have people that just like to hit people and have a good time, and then you have the middle ground,” Anderson said. “That’s one thing I really love about Quidditch is it brings people from a lot of different backgrounds.”

The Quidditch community is known for being a very open and close-knit group, widely accepting of the LGTB community and anyone else, regardless of background.

“It will become your family, for sure,” Anderson said. “I really do just love my team.”

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