Thursday, April 9, 2015

80 in 80: Wooster

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 Emma Kahn, coach of the Wooster Scottish Nationals.
Photo courtesy of Wooster Scottish Nationals
Quidditch Post: Wooster was obviously a very late recipient of a World Cup bid. What does that mean to your team?
Emma: First, we are in a state of astonishment that a bid came to us. We never expected this to happen in our time here, but we are so grateful and ecstatic to have this opportunity. We realize it will be an uphill battle for us, but we ready and excited for the challenge.

QP: How were you able to scrape everything together in under a week? That's really impressive
Emma: Well, a lot of us were already planning on attending as spectators, which definitely helped in the planning. We also were already training for a tournament we were planning on having next Saturday, so people were already mentally getting into “game mode.” When we delivered the news that we were being offered a bid, people immediately jumped on the opportunity to go. We fully realize that this is completely crazy and last minute, but we're going in with the mindset that we are pulling this out of nowhere and will give it our all.

QP: That might be an advantage in a few ways since I doubt many teams know a lot about you. How has the team been preparing for such an uncertain event?
Emma: Honestly, we haven't been. We've been preparing for our home tournament next week. However, we have changed our practice schedule for the upcoming days in order to begin to prepare for the level of competition of World Cup 8.

QP: So I'll be honest; I don't know a whole lot about the program. Can you just talk a bit about the history of quidditch at Wooster?
Emma: We're a third year team. We started in 2012 with 9-12 players and were still attempting to go to tournaments. Last year we played as a basic team in the Midwest Region, and this year we decided to continue being a competitive team and went official. This year we have approximately 25 people that consistently come to practice. Wooster is a small, Division III liberal arts school, so we have a smaller pool of potential players to draw from. We are fortunate to have the athletic players that we have, and we hope to continue the trend in athletic people choosing to play quidditch.

QP: I venture with about 2,000 students, Wooster is probably the smallest school attending. Would you say the team has any key players?
Emma: Matt Loberg and Owen Brennan are pretty great quaffle handlers for us, and Chris LeCompte is also a solid keeper and has great awareness of the game when on pitch.

QP: Can you elaborate at all on what makes them so good?
Emma: Matt has the best combination with speed and agility on our team, has remarkable athletic intuition about the game, and is effective in capitalizing on one to no bludger opportunities around the hoops.

Owen possesses a lot of similar qualities, but is a first year, so he has a lot of room to grow into an even better player than he already is. Having a low center of gravity, Owen is very quick and brings aggression to our defensive line.

Chris is one of our largest players and is not afraid to take people down. That, combined with his vast knowledge of the game and strategy, makes him a huge asset to our team.

QP: It's obviously short notice, but are there particular teams you hope to play?
Emma: We can't wait to play Lone Star Quidditch Club in the finals. Just kidding. Realistically, we would love to play Osos de Muertes, Clone Star Quidditch, and Illinois State University Firebirds. Playing any of those teams would be a great experience for us.

QP: I guess that opens us to the question of your goals for World Cup.
Emma: We want to play our hardest, have a good time, and at the end of the day feel good about our participation. And of course, if we could win, that would be sweet.

QP: What do you hope the team takes away from the experience?
Emma: Not many people on the team, outside of myself and a few others, have ever played with or against people from other regions. World Cup is a fantastic opportunity to see how one's skills go up against other styles and strategies. I hope that Wooster takes this opportunity to grow and learn from these other teams that we will play.

QP: Thanks for doing this on such short notice Emma; we appreciate it.
Emma: No problem, thanks so much.

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