Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hannah Monty Down Under

By Danielle Lehmann

On the field, Hannah Monty makes tackling bludgers and shooting quaffles look easy, but she’s much more than a really good quidditch player. Off the field, Monty juggles being team captain, vice president of the Australian Quidditch Association, law school, additional sports, and the recent title of ‘world traveler.’  

Monty discovered quidditch early in 2011. During her first year at the University of Western Sydney (UWS), where she was studying law, a friend showed her a flyer for their school’s quidditch team.Monty’s previous experience with the fictional world of Harry Potter helped her decide to try it out. Although Monty wasn’t able to tackle the sport head on at first, she received her first chance to play at the QUAFL Cup at the end of 2011.

However, Monty did more than one would expect being that it was her first time on a quidditch pitch. At the end of the day, she was the most successful seeker of the tournament and helped UWS take second place. After that test drive on a broom, her passion for the sport and her team began to grow.

“I love everything about quidditch,” said Monty. “It’s intense, fast-paced, and brutal. What more could a sport need? My team at UWS also has a really good training attitude and team culture, which makes it more enjoyable.”

Chaser, in Monty’s opinion, is her best position, but she can play as a beater (and as she showed in the QUAFL Cup, seeker) as well. She enjoys both positions but chooses which to play depending on the opposing team and her own teammates strengths and weaknesses. Analyzing those strengths and weaknesses, including her own, is one of the many reasons why Monty is so successful on the field.

“I’m pretty sure my speed, ball skills, general field knowledge, and awareness are my greatest skills as a player,” said Monty. “Also, as a female playing in a male-dominated sport, I don’t like to be considered a weak link as such, so I push myself to compete at a higher standard and force my teammates to recognize me as a valuable asset rather than a filler player.”

Her dedication to herself and her team is seen throughout her time on the pitch. One of Monty’s career highlights thus far was when she was at the Global Games playing against Canada. She was trying to gain a spot in the gold medal match against Team USA, but she broke her cleats three minutes in. This didn’t break her determination though; she went on to play the rest of the game without a sole on her shoe.  

Monty also accepts quidditch responsibilities off the pitch. She wears many hats in UWS and isn’t afraid to get things done.

“At UWS I'm the team captain, coach, president, treasurer, secretary, and general overlord of all things quidditch,” said Monty. “We have a small group of dedicated people on our [executive board] who help out as much as possible. I like to title myself captain arsekicker because my main job seems to be kicking everyone else's arse to get things done, along with organizing tournaments that we host.”

Monty is also involved in the Australian Quidditch Association (AQA). She applied to be the Vice President in October because she wanted to be involved but wasn’t sure how she could help as a student.

“I figured I was good at organizing quidditch things and could use my knowledge from studying law to help out,” said Monty. “Now my main role in the AQA is as a point of contact, helping with membership, writing policy, and ensuring that everything we do is legally sound.”

If that wasn’t enough, she’s also working with Quidditch New South Wales (a state body), which is in the process of being established. It will run statewide tournaments every month. Monty is directing the first tournament of the year at UWS.

While Monty has been engaged with quidditch, she’s also been very involved with Ultimate Frisbee. She is representing Australia in the U23 women’s Ultimate Frisbee team being held in London this summer. The pre-tour will take her through several European countries before finishing in London, but she doesn’t plan to miss out on any quidditch opportunities while abroad. She’s hoping to attend the quidditch European Games in Sarteano, Italy in July even though she won’t be able to play.

Monty has one more year at UWS and then will go on to complete her Masters. Although she’s unsure where that will take her, Monty knows that quidditch will continue to be a part of her future. Whether she stays at UWS and on her current team or plays for the Western Sydney team that’s starting, this won’t be the last year we see Monty on the pitch.

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