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 Ben Reuling, captain/coach of the Crimson Elite.
Photo by Janelle Tardif
Quidditch Post: Crimson Elite had arguably its most successful regional championship performance ever. How would you say this year's team differs from last year’s squad?
Ben: We had a great recruiting season this year; we picked up a lot of extremely talented players in the fall. Additionally, Edgar Pavlovsky and I focused really hard on being competitive. We went from one practice a week in previous seasons to three to five a week last fall. We've also attended six tournaments this year so far in order to give our players full speed experience.
QP: Who would you say are some of the key players for Crimson Elite?
Ben: One of the greatest things about this team this year is that we are insanely well-rounded. We don't have one or two all-stars that we have to rely on. It might sound cliché, but every player on our roster this tournament stepped up and performed. We ran three girls and three guys the entire weekend because we can depend on our females to finish just as much as any guy. But having a seeker as skilled as Dan Howland definitely pushes a lot of hard games in our favor. Utah suffers from a dearth of competitive quidditch in the surrounding area, especially when compared with other teams in the West.
QP: You mentioned traveling to a lot of tournaments prior to the regional championship, but how will you be preparing for World Cup?
Ben: We will be scrimmaging a lot with the Utah State Quidditch Club, who is only an hour and a half away. Other than that, we are going to put some serious work into scouting, conditioning, and developing fundamentals during our practices and team scrimmages. It'd be nice to have some closer teams to play with, but we'll just have to work hard to make up for that.
QP: Would you say there are particular players on Crimson Elite who don't get the attention they deserve?
Ben: Like I said, it's hard to point out specific players because they all play so well together. But I'd say the skill level of our females makes us stand out from other teams. Women like Rebecca Lewis, Abbie Simons, Gina Allyn, and Kristin Jakus make up a powerhouse who play the majority of our games. Sydney Lancaster and Sequoia Thomas have a lot of quidditch experience, and they make a lot of crucial plays for our team.
QP: Would you say that Crimson Elite has a particular style of play?
Ben: We learned a lot from playing down in the Southwest. We like to play fast and aggressive and try to initiate contact instead of taking it.
QP: Do you think that style will have any impact for a tournament as grueling as World Cup, particularly with the Swiss Style?
Ben: We are hoping that we can come out fast and put up points early. Really, we just need to be ready to play any team. Whether it’s Swiss or bracket style won't matter as long as we are conditioned and ready to play.
QP: Do you have any particular goals for World Cup?
Ben: Our biggest goal for World Cup is just to show up and represent the West. We are proud of our team and our region, so we want to do well in bracket play so we can earn more bids for the West next season.
QP: Are there any teams that you hope to face?
Ben: Anyone from the Southwest, honestly. I don't know many of the East Coast teams myself, but I know I love to play against the Southwest. The University of Texas at Austin or Lonestar Quidditch Club would be really fun games to be a part of.
QP: Is there anything else you think our readers should know about Crimson Elite?
Ben: Just to keep us on their radar. We are going to be working hard over the next two months to show we can hang with some of the amazing teams we have in this sport!
QP: Thanks, Ben; we appreciate your time.
Ben: Absolutely! Thanks for talking with me.