Monday, January 19, 2015

80 in 80: CMU

As part of our efforts to preview all 80 teams competing in USQ World Cup 8, the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with David Wilber, captain and coach of Central Michigan Quidditch (CMU).

Photo by Jessica (Jiamin) Lang

QP: Alright, so last year CMU bowed out a little earlier than everyone had expected at World Cup. Keeping that in mind, what are your team's goals this year at World Cup? And does last year's early exit serve as motivation for the team?
David: This year, our goal is the same as last year: to reach the Sweet 16. We have lost in the Round of 32 the last two years, and finally getting to the Sweet 16 would be good for our program. Last year’s loss has definitely motivated us to do better. We came in pretty cocky as we had won a ton in the spring semester, and I think we let that get to us. We will not let that happen this year. We will be working much harder this semester to make sure we finally get past the Round of 32.
QP: Last year at World Cup, your team had arguably the strongest beater corps in the Midwest, led by Team USA selection Ashley Calhoun and current Ball State Cardinals beater Andrew Derry. You also had Tom O' Neil, who was an intimidating physical presence on pitch. How has the loss of those players impacted Central Michigan this year?
David: Well, obviously losing their talent is huge, but I think the biggest thing was their leadership. Ashley was our head captain, and Andy was our president and an original member of the team. Although Tom was in his first year, he was an older student and his presence at times showed what a leader he could be. Due to this, I felt like there was a leadership gap heading into this year, but players like Becca Bennett and Brandon Booth have filled in amazingly.
QP: Brandon Booth has become known for his play on pitch, but he's also become known for having an incredibly fiery personality during gameplay. Does Becca Bennett help to level out that dynamic with a cooler head?
David: I think so, yeah. She is someone who is always very level-headed; she doesn't let her emotions mess with her game. On the other hand, Brandon feeds off his emotions during the game. When on the pitch together, though, Brandon seems to be calmed by her some. He still plays aggressively, but he is able to keep a level head. The two of them have great chemistry on and off the pitch, and it shows when they play together.
QP: That's always great to have. So, what is CMU looking forward to most at World Cup?
David: Just another chance to compete against the best teams in the country. We aren't out to prove anything to anyone but ourselves. We know we are a great team, and World Cup will give us a chance to show it on the field.
QP: With that in mind, are there any teams in particular you'd like to compete against at World Cup?
David: Personally, I want to play the best in the world, so I'd love a chance to compete against Lone Star Quidditch Club and the University of Texas. You can't know just how good you are until you've gone against the best.
QP: Obviously, everybody wants their crack at Lone Star and Texas. Are there any other out-of-region teams that you think you’d match up well with?
David: I think we still match up well with the Silicon Valley Skrewts. They knocked us out last year on a snitch grab in a game where I think we didn't play up to our level. It'd be nice to have another shot at them.
QP: That, and redemption is always a great storyline for a match. Are there any players who maybe aren't as well-known who you think will make an impact for CMU at World Cup?
David: For some reason, people still don't know Chris Fisher's name, but they should. He has some of the best hands I've ever seen and is one of our top goal scorers. Another one is Jack Slater. He is a first year beater and is getting better with every game. He is also a giant monster and has become our enforcer in the beater game.
QP: I agree with you. I'm sure you are well aware that I am a pretty big Chris Fisher fan; he’s always a threat behind the hoops. Also, it's great to hear that some first year beaters are making strides. At the beginning of the season, beating was the weakest portion of CMU's game, and it was trying to make up for the losses we mentioned earlier.
David: Yeah. That was the only area we really lost people, and so it was definitely a concern of ours coming in. I mean, those are players you just can't replace overnight. Our beater corps is made up of mostly first and second year players who have made huge strides this semester. We are all excited to see just how far they can go this semester.
QP: I can't help but agree with you. I'm excited to see CMU in the spring and the progress the beaters have made. Thank you for your time, David!
David: No problem, man. Thank you.

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