Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Regional Split Signals Dawn of New Era

By Ryan Sparks

Earlier today, US Quidditch (USQ) announced that the Midwest Region will finally be split. Starting in the the 2015-16 season, the Midwest region will now contain the following states: Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Colorado (formerly a Southwest state). The new region that USQ is forming will be called the Great Lakes Region, which will be comprised of Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky (which was formerly in the South Region).

Quidditch analysts (and players) have been calling for the Midwest region to be split for years now, with the common grievance that the region was just too big. Players in the region from the Great Plains (Kansas, Missouri, etc.) had to travel countless hours to play other teams within their region, and attend the Midwest Regional Championship

Many people today complained about the fact that states Illinois and Wisconsin were not included in the new Great Lakes Region, due to their geographical location, bordering Lake Michigan. However, the Great Lakes Region as its currently comprised will feature 20 teams, while if it included Illinois and Wisconsin it would feature 27, leaving the Midwest with just seven official teams based on 2014-15 registration. Ultimately, this route wouldn’t have achieved the desired effects of the regional split.

I think the region splitting is great, and it's going to be nothing but beneficial to both parties,” said current USQ Midwest Regional Director Alex Scheer. Having the Great Lakes and Midwest is going to help the growth of our sport. The Great Lakes, [which is] already established, will pour out some much needed attention to Kentucky, and the Midwest will be dominated early by Kansas, [University of Minnesota], and [University of Missouri]. However, smaller teams are going to spring up now that they won't have to travel 12 hours for a Midwest tournament. This can only be a positive.”

One thing can be sure, following the split, that the new Great Lakes Region will be incredibly competitive. Of the 18 teams that qualified for World Cup from the Midwest this year, 12 are going to be a part of the Great Lakes Region, and six are going to be a part of the new Midwest. Of the 30 teams that attended the Midwest Regional Championship, 18 will be in the new Great Lakes Region. Of the teams that remain in the Midwest, they have a rather clearly defined hierarchy over the past few seasons. The question remains: does this spell the end of truly competitive quidditch in the Midwest? The University of Kansas (KU) is the clear top team in the new Midwest, and though the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota are both good teams, they are not on an even plane with KU just yet. Meanwhile, in the Great Lakes, the hierarchy is not so clearly defined. Ohio State is the clear number one, but other top teams in the region are still very competitive with them. No matter what happens following the split, quidditch in the Midwest will never be the same.

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