by George Williams
The Mile High Fantasy Tournament, held on July 11, was an incredibly successful tournament. Tournament Director De'Vaughn Gamlin boldly designed this multifaceted tournament to improve recruiting and overall quidditch quality in Colorado by allowing new players to try out the game while still maintaining a competitive atmosphere. Dozens of new people came to learn the game and take part in the four team tournament, making it one of the smallest fantasy tournaments of the summer. In spite of its modest size, Mile High Fantasy turned out to be one of the most fun quidditch tournaments of the summer. The tournament felt a lot like pick-up quidditch, as it was fun, friendly, and competitive. Players improved, teams bonded, free Slurpees were had, and at the end of the day, a champion was crowned.
Yellow Team - Yeska Yankees (Brandon Nhean)
Yellow team ended the tournament in fourth place after forfeiting due to dwindling roster numbers throughout the event. Anchored largely by University of Northern Colorado veteran chaser Antonio Loera, the Yeska Yankees filled their roster largely with newer players. They struggled most from their GM not being able to play, as Brandon Nhean would have made an excellent addition to their chaser line. The Yeska Yankees played an impressive snitch range match against the eventual champion, So Fresh So Green, and kept games close throughout the tournament, even managing to secure a win against the Blue Dream Team.
Blue Dream Team (Kym Couch)
Like most teams at Mile High, the Blue Team was led by veterans, with new players filling out the rest of its roster. The Dream Team was led by utility players Joel Johnson and Dan Hanson, both playing especially effectively at the beater position. The Dream Team's chaser line was led by the physical presence of Barima Ackah-yensu, who was often impossible to stop without a bludger. The Dream Team looked strongest in its semifinal matchup against Magma Kush, keeping the game in snitch range throughout the entire seeker floor.
Runners-up - Magma Kush (John Wong)
Like most fantasy teams, Magma Kush, the Red Team, played okay throughout the tournament and found their chemistry just in time for bracket play. Led heavily by ball carrier, keeper, and defensive stonewall Kyle Epsteen, its passing game found its groove just in time to make for an exciting final. Epsteen had excellent passing options in De'Vaughn Gamlin, Abbie Simmons, and Antonio Loera (after the Yeska Yankees split), who combined for most of the goals in the final. Beater Steven Gruenewald also became more effective for Magma Kush as the tournament went on, culminating in his performance in the final as Red’s beating helped it to become the first team to consistently keep the eventual champions in check. With the final in range with the snitch on pitch, Magma Kush played exceptionally well, but was unable to snatch the championship from the undefeated Green Team.
The Champs - So Fresh So Green (Dakota Briggs)
The underlying strength of So Fresh So Green was its consistently deep roster of utility players. Dakota Briggs and Porter Marsh often led its beater game, while also making remarkable contributions chasing and, in Marsh's case, seeking. Marsh stood out, as he came away with a perfect four out of four snitch catch rate, earning him the title of tournament MVP. Emily Webster and Brandon Handy also made big contributions at beater, often locking down the defense with smart beats. The quaffle game was largely controlled by keeper George Williams, but Brentlee Cass and first-time player Kyle Esparza also had valuable ball-handling and off-ball contributions. All of that is without even mentioning So Fresh So Green's first two draft picks, chasers Brandon Vela and Justine Taylor. Vela filled his role as a valuable off-ball chaser while Taylor dominated the pitch, often taking and dishing out big hits and finishing drives. In the end, the sheer teamwork of So Fresh So Green proved dominant, and Marsh was able to seal the win in all four matches. With the snitch grab in the final, it bested Magma Kush 160*-90, walking away with the first place trophy and the $100 worth of prizes offered up by Gamlin as Tournament Director.
An Incredibly Fun Tournament
At the end of the day, the Mile High Fantasy Tournament was a success because of the efforts of Tournament Director De'Vaughn Gamlin and his volunteers. With great quidditch, trophies, prizes, and breakfast provided, the Mile High Fantasy was a perfectly balanced, fun-filled weekend. It was clear that Gamlin put a lot of time and money into making this tournament work, and when all was said and done, it made for an incredibly enjoyable tournament.