Wednesday, March 11, 2015

80 in 80: Arizona State

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 Kaylee Buchholtz, co-president of Arizona State University (ASU).
Photo by Phoebe VanGelder
Quidditch Post: ASU surprised a lot of people by reaching the semifinals at the West Regional Championship; to what do you attribute the team's strong tournament?
Kaylee: I think we surprised ourselves, honestly. Going into this year, we knew it would be a rebuilding year. In the past, we have only been able to attend a handful of tournaments throughout the season, meaning that we primarily rely on each other for improvement. This year, however, we have had a tournament every few weeks, which has been huge for our development as a team because it’s allowed us to see what works, what doesn’t, and what areas we need to improve on to be competitive. We have been steadily improving throughout the season, and I think that really shows from this last tournament.

QP: How is the team preparing for World Cup?
Kaylee: In the usual ways. We’ll be conditioning, practicing harder, and fundraising.  There will be a lot of fundraising. ASU will be hosting one more official tournament before World Cup. Then, there is the Arizona fantasy tournament, where we’ll gain some experience playing with and learning from players from some of the other World Cup qualifying teams. For the next few months we’ll be on quidditch overload.

QP: Last year, ASU advanced to bracket play. What are the team's goals for this year?
Kaylee: To get past the first game of bracket play. But in all seriousness, we’re coming for the Cup and staying for the party.

QP: Is there one aspect that the team is most looking forward to?
Kaylee: We hear that the Harvard Horntails are looking for a rematch.

QP: Well, you did beat them on a snitch catch last year. Are there particular players you think are key to ASU being successful?
Kaylee: We were very fortunate with our recruiting this year. Michael Bernstein is our keeper and really anchors our chaser line, while Ryan McGonagle is one of our newest beaters who has proven invaluable to our defense.

QP: Can you talk about what each of them brings to the pitch?
Kaylee: Michael brings a level of physicality on offense as well as defense that motivates the rest of our chasers to keep their energy high. Ryan has an incredible raw talent combined with a strong understanding of our beater game.

QP: ASU has some excellent beaters in addition to Ryan with players such as yourself, Josh Mattison, and Vicky Sanford, all of whom showed well at Snow Cup (with some on the tournament-winning side). Would you say there's a particular reason for the strong beater corps?
Kaylee: Well, we came into this year with a strong corps of veteran beaters. Most of us have had great mentors in Josh Mattison and Duston Mazzella for several years.  Combining that with the natural talent of our freshmen, it’s been a fun year.

QP: How would you describe the team's style of play?
Kaylee: Physical basketball.

QP: Could you please elaborate?
Kaylee: I think the best way I can explain it is that we play basketball with tackling and use speed to our advantage.

QP: Anything else you think our readers should know about ASU?
Kaylee: The horns are just for show. We have hearts of gold.

QP: Thanks, Kaylee!
Kaylee: No problem!

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