By Taylor Veracka In order to gauge the 2015-16 season, the Quidditch Post’s regional editors reached out to the captains of each USQ-official team to talk team strategy, incoming and departing players, and more.
Carnegie Mellon Quidditch Club
Source: Nick Weir If you see a team carrying around its brooms in a gold bag, then that team might just be the Carnegie Mellon Marauders! The Marauders are a college team located at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The team lost a few graduating members, but until the new season really begins, it is unknown how many people actually left, though it is predicted many of last year’s large freshman group will be returning. “However, we are not the most athletic team, so there will be lots of practice and conditioning this year,” said captain Nick Weir. Besides their general plan of attack on the practice field, the Marauders do have a sense of security in that the majority of their team will have at least one year’s experience playing, as well as an executive board to help everything run as smoothly as possible.
Photo Credit: Carnegie Mellon Quidditch Club
Sources: Miranda Reinberg, Joshua Cohen, and Jacqueline Lynch Drexel Quidditch Club already has a leg up on the other Mid-Atlantic teams, despite the fact that it only became USQ official this year: Drexel University’s mascot is a dragon, so DU has a magical creature incorporated into its team. Though it was established in 2010, the Drexel University-affiliated team located in Philadelphia still considers itself a young team. “Drexel Quidditch is a new team to the league, and a lot of our players are new to the sport, so we do have a disadvantage with that. While not being as experienced will be a challenge, it’s a challenge we’re ready to face. We have over 15 members eager to learn, so we’re ready to tackle this challenge head on,” said Drexel Treasurer and co-Captain Miranda Reinberg. Joshua Cohen is the other acting captain for the team. DU is very enthusiastic, and though its star keeper Connor McKibbin-Vaughan has graduated, the players are all ready to work hard. They are passionate about quidditch and look forward to learning more about both the sport and themselves in addition to growing as a team this year.
Photo Credit: Drexel Quidditch ClubDuke University Quidditch (DUQ)
Source: Arvind Kumar “Our strengths for this coming year definitely come from the number of experienced players on our squad,” said coach Arvind Kumar. “For many of our players, this will be their third or fourth year with the team; that time has allowed us to bond both on and off the pitch and become a very cohesive unit.” DUQ is a college team from Duke University and was established in 2009. Located in Durham, North Carolina, Kumar coaches, while Jack Grady has inherited the role of captain from graduated captain and coach Nick Albertson. After this change in leadership, DUQ will have to work hard to bring new and inexperienced teammates up-to-speed before tournaments begin. The goal is to get the new recruits playing comfortably in their respective positions as quickly as possible so the focus can turn to strategy and skill-building. George Mason Club Quidditch (GMU)
Source: Robby May George Mason Club Quidditch is the most diverse and fastest-growing sports team at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. The team, founded in 2013, is entering its second year with captains Ben Mertens and Jon Milan at the helm. Robby May is acting as the coach this season. The team only lost two players this year – Ryan Martin and Dylan Bynon – which means its strength comes from the chemistry the team is afforded due to the high number of returning players. GMU was able to qualify for USQ World Cup 8 last year despite the fact that 2014-15 was its first season as an official team, and additionally it received the sportsmanship award for the tournament. This season, GMU will work on staying focused and executing consistent game play, especially against more advanced teams so it can potentially return to US Quidditch Cup 9 later this year.
Photo Credit: Flax PhotographyGrove City Legion of Broom (GCLB)
Source: Robert Dacey Not every team may start a match with the national anthem, but Grove City, Pennsylvania is home to a quidditch team that does. GCLB is entering its first year as an official USQ team and its third overall. Robert Dacey – who, prior to coming to GCLB, played for and acted as captain for CAMPS Quidditch – is not only the current head coach but also founder of the team. Luckily for GCLB, its only player not returning is female chaser Sophia Clifton, so the majority of its team will enter the season already having experience playing together. GCLB benefits from athletic and speedy seeking and a beating team with talent and potential. It may face challenges regarding the team’s small size and small number of scorers, as well as the continued problems it has had in the past. These issues are mainly caused by how many players the team has and will be mitigated as the team grows and matures.
Photo Credit: Kir Michelle Photography
The Hopkins Hallows
Source: Bobby Stafford Though they are currently involved in a feud with the Johns Hopkins Magic Club as to who the real wizards are at the school, the Hopkins Hallows will still be able to devote most of their energy toward doing well this season. Established in 2010, the Hopkins Hallows are Johns Hopkins University’s college team and are located in Baltimore. They are entering their fifth year in existence captained by Bobby Stafford and are missing four key players due to graduation: beaters Becky Marcus, Luis Rendon, Patrick Nunez, and chaser Ryan Patterson. Though the team has been described as “undersized,” Stafford attributes speed, cooperation, and an extreme willingness to work and grow as the team’s strongest qualities. Additionally, the strong retention rate from last year’s large crop of freshmen will strengthen the team dynamic when practices begin this season. Their youth may prove to be a challenge, as well as the team’s overall ability to stay healthy while pushing hard, something that posed a problem last year.
Photo Credit: Hopkins HallowsThe Horn Tailed Horcruxes
Source: Stephen Baibos The Horn Tailed Horcruxes are a relatively new community team established in 2012, officially joining the competitive circuit in 2013. The team plays in South Orange, New Jersey and is coached by Rocco Ricciardi and managed by Stephen Baibos. Having recently completed tryouts, the team has a plethora of new players who will be working with the strong core of experienced members. The team’s returning players have very close relationships and have a good time playing together, making for good chemistry on the field. This is important, as the Horn Tailed Horcruxes place more emphasis on having fun than winning games.
Photo Credit: Alexis SmithJames Madison University Quidditch (JMU)
Source: Holt Williams If you happen to see a pair of handsome twin beaters on the pitch, you might be watching a game featuring the James Madison University Quidditch team. Possibly better known as the Madison Marauders, this team has been called the handsomest around, though the source may be a bit biased. The Marauders are playing their first season as a USQ-official team, though they were formally established about five years ago as the James Madison University team in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The team boasts not one, not two, but three captains: Holt Williams, Brett Veater, and Ethan Robinson. According to the trio, the team is pretty motivated to win. “Our strength is in our drive to go to the top. This is our first year in USQ, and we want to come out strong,” said Williams. JMU will have to work on cementing their playing style; at the moment it consists of a make-it-up-as-you-go approach. This is something they’ll have to adjust when facing more competitive teams in the future and will be a progression for spectators watch out for this season.
Photo Credit: Joe WinnLock Haven University Quidditch (LHQ)
Source: Zach Whitsel Lock Haven University Quidditch, located in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, prides itself on many things: its ability to play in any weather, sportsmanship on and off the field, and never backing down from a challenge – such as how to keep up the momentum once the coach and captain of three years has left the team. This college team was established in 2012 and is currently captained and coached by Zach Whitsel; however, the previous three years, the formidable Jonyull Kosinski was at the helm. “Jonyull Kosinski was our coach and captain the last three years and he has built our team to what it is today,” said Whitsel. “It is a lot of pressure to fill his shoes but I'm going to try my best to do so.” Unfortunately, LHQ has lost many strong players besides Kosinski. Taylor Nedurian, Andy Parzanese, and Scott Terstappen will not return this season. Lock Haven University Quidditch is a very close team, however, and draws its strength from the fact that it’s almost like a family, something that influences its good chemistry on the field. LHQ might face some difficulties with the change in leadership, as it is the first time since its founding that Kosinski is no longer in charge, though the team is still optimistic about its chances to make an appearance at US Quidditch Cup 9 this year. With all its strength in perseverance and aggressiveness on field, it will be interesting to see how LHQ handles this transition.
Photo Credit: Isabella GongMansfield University Fire Ferrets Quidditch
Source: Taylor Donahue Though the Mansfield University Fire Ferrets are a new team, the support shown by Mansfield University surpasses that of many other teams. Not only do the faculty, students, and administration come out to cheer them on, but the Ferrets are also taken seriously university-wide, creating a sense of pride that the players use as motivation to win for the school. They were recently established in 2013 in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, by Taylor Donahue, this year’s captain, who believes the squad has another advantage new teams generally tend to lack. “[On the pitch] we definitely bring a lot of energy and confidence for a small, young team,” said Donahue. “A lot of younger teams, when you watch them, seem kind of clumsy still, and you can see the lack of proficiency in the errors they make while playing. I think we lack a lot of that clumsiness, largely because we have a lot of skilled athletes on the team who are willing to dedicate themselves well beyond the 12 or so hours a week we schedule practice in order to perfect their ball handling, speed, and maneuvering.” Two players, Sandra Pong and Solene Boutillier, will not be playing because they are international students returning to their home countries. A few have enlisted in the military, but will be back to play after basic training ends. Max Schaar has graduated, but his twin brother Sam Schaar was retained to play as a beater this season. The Fire Ferrets seem to be in excellent shape going into this season, but will have to contend with training a large influx of new players – both first year and international – to play the game at or near the same level as the returning players.
Photo Credit: Colleen Moore
Maryland Quidditch (UMD)
Source: Jeremy Dehn What does it mean when a team is “100% kale free?” Well, for one it means the team doesn’t eat kale, but to truly understand the joke, you would have to play for Maryland Quidditch. This team, from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, was created in 2009, making it pretty well-established in the quidditch world. This year, UMD is captained by Jeremy Dehn, who will be working with a team missing five players: Bryan Barrows, Sam Gaffigan, Harry Greenhouse, Erin Mallory, and Josh Marks. “Filling the spaces of those who graduated will be our biggest challenge,” said Dehn. “Every player who graduated was dominant on the pitch, and a lot of the program’s success in the past few years was a result of those players’ efforts.” Overall, UMD is a team that is larger in size and athleticism than some teams in the region, and the team plans to use this to make up for the missing players.
Photo Credit: Maryland QuidditchPenn State University Nittany Lions
Source: Robert Hedges The Penn State quidditch team can be found in University Park, Pennsylvania. Officially known as the Penn State University Nittany Lions, this well-established team was founded in 2008, making it one of the oldest in the region. The three captains, Robert Hedges, Scott Axel, and Tommy Byrne, are lucky enough to be working with almost the same team that they had last year, due to the fact that only one person graduated: beater Becky McAlary. “This year we are practically returning with the exact same team, and already have the team chemistry to hit the ground running at the beginning of the season,” said Hedges. The team may have a hard time getting in practice hours before US Quidditch Cup 9, as it did last year due to cold winter conditions, but at least it’ll be heading into it with a strong core of experienced players who know how to dominate on the pitch.
Photo Credit: Victoria Aas HenriksenPhiladelphia Honey Badgers
Source: John Bridstrup The Honey Badgers are a Philadelphian community team established in the fall of 2010 originally as the Delaware Valley Dragons. They are coached by John Bridstrup and Stephen Jaworski. The Honey Badgers’ roster will be absent six players from last season as they enter the new year: graduated beater Molly Markel, injured beater Lisa Nitzsche, seeker Clifford Moll, and chasers Christopher Moll, Mike McCool, and Isabella Gong. “I think our main strength this year will be simply that we have another year of experience for our returning players,” said Bridstrup. “Last year was the first time we came close to being competitive, so we really need to build on that. We had a strong spring that saw us playing snitch range games against [World Cup] qualifying teams and even beating New York University, albeit both of us had depleted rosters.” The hardest challenge the team faces is keeping the attendance up at practices, as many of the members have other obligations. The Honey Badgers are unique in that their roster is a good mix of players with different life experiences: ex-college players, current college students whose universities have unofficial teams, and interested community members. The team does not recruit graduates from big quidditch programs like most community teams, due in part to the lack of such programs in the area and the team’s early founding. The Honey Badgers are working with many of the unofficial teams in the area to help them reach a more competitive level at inner city tournaments.
Photo Credit: Isabella GongRutgers University Quidditch (RUQ)
Source: Phill Cain It is well known that any team will benefit from players who work well together, and RUQ is no exception. Most of its players are the same age, and after playing and hanging out for two years together, the team is looking to capitalize on the bonds that have grown. The New Brunswick, New Jersey team was officially established in 2013, and Phill Cain and Lindsay Marella are the co-captains as the team enters its third year. “We have been around for about two years now officially, and we’ve come extremely close to making it to World Cup,” said Cain. “We actually qualified for WCVII but due to complications with our school, we were forced to drop a few days before. I believe last year we were only a game or two away from qualifying at the regional championship.” Cain anticipates that the team will be able to qualify for US Quidditch Cup 9 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship in November. Until the start of the season, it is unknown which players RUQ will still be playing and what obstacles the team must face this coming year, so it is difficult to predict how far it might actually go.
Photo Credit: Rutgers University QuidditchUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Quidditch (UNC)
Source: Lee Hodge It has been said that relationships and quidditch don’t mix, but try telling that UNC. Last year it had not one, but four couples playing together. This college team has been around since 2011, but only got competitive recently in 2013 – perhaps due to the strong bonds formed amongst some members. Unfortunately, some of those members may not be returning. “We have a lot of players not returning this year,” said captain Lee Hodge. “A lot of them were key players, such as Max Miceli and Courtney Reynolds, but that is going to be good for us because it’s going to make us grow as a team this year and make us come together as a team as we try to rebuild.” As close as this team is, UNC is still a young team with a lot of inexperienced players, but this is something it will be working hard to change in the future.
Photo Credit: UNCTri-State Lightning Quidditch Club (TSLQC)
Source: Dante Close Though the Tri-State Lightning Quidditch Club was only officially established this past August, the team has a lot of experience on its hands: most of the players have been playing quidditch for over four years (and if you combine their experience they collectively have over 50 years of involvement). “Many of us have been in administrative roles on other teams or have otherwise coached players in several capacities,” says co-captain and coach Dante Close. Close is aided by Bruce Donnelly, who also captains and coaches the community team in Bayonne, New Jersey. Tri-State Lightning plans on bringing innovative and adaptive play to the pitch – logistically and strategically – and Close thinks the team will be “interesting” to watch in its first season, if not for competitive reasons. Team chemistry might be an issue considering the fact that TSLQC is brand new, and with so many experienced players it will be difficult to find out which of the many tried-and-true systems put forth will work for this team.
Photo Credit: Tom PowersUniversity of Mary Washington Quidditch
Source: Hallie Heinzen In Fredericksburg, Virginia, the University of Mary Washington has put together its first official USQ team this year. The University of Mary Washington Eagles began playing together in 2013, but will now formally join the Mid-Atlantic region. Though the team – and school – are small, the Eagles have a strong core of players with World Cup experience, though they will be without two of them this season: Riley Starrs and Ryan Doughtry will not be returning. Tino Bordone is the coach and captain for the Eagles, and is aided in the captain position by Quinn Ogden. Though small, the Eagles are ready for the challenge of playing in a tough region.
Photo Credit: Jasper GardnerThe University of Richmond Quidditch (URQ)
Source: Abby Hegarty Small schools tend to have a difficult time fielding their varsity sports teams, let alone quidditch teams, but URQ doesn’t have this issue. “The fact that we have a team and are successful is incredible when you consider the pool we have to draw from,” said Abby Hegarty, the team’s president. URQ will be captained by Brendan O’Connor and Andrew Loesch this season. Located at the University of Richmond, the quidditch team was founded in 2009 and boasts a large roster, which explains why the team will be missing nine players when they take the pitch this year: Jeremy Day, Casey Schmidt, Julia Baer, Derek Roetzel, Amy Murphy, Kevin Alloway, Austin Nuckols, Ian Mitchell, and Natalie Pollard. Despite the big loss, URQ is still a well-established team at the university, and its goal is to show that it will continue on its successful path. The University of Richmond only has a population of about 3,000 students, and while this means there are far fewer potential recruits out there, it hasn’t necessarily been a problem in the past.
Photo Credit: Flax PhotographyVirginia Quidditch Club (UVA)
Source: Erik Morlock Virginia Quidditch Club, a college team for the University of Virginia, is also known as the Whomping Wahoos. (A Whomping Wahoo is a cross between the Whomping Willow and the unofficial UVA mascot: the Wahoo.) This team was created in 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia. This is the first year that the team will be without its founding members, who have all graduated. Erik Morlock is the current president, but the captain won’t be decided until later this year. Players not returning this year include Kyle Stolcenberg, former chaser and coach of the team. “We lost a lot of depth at male chaser,” said Morlock. “That’s the biggest hole to fill physically. I think the real difference comes with Kyle Stolcenberg graduating. He was the coach and brains behind our whole team. We’ll be incredibly fortunate to have someone fill his shoes with half of the quidditch brain he had.” The team’s beating corps will be used to pick up some slack, as it has a lot of experience, and has already made an impact in both defensive and offensive progress. UVA will not need to recruit heavily in that area, and will therefore be able to focus on other aspects of the team that need attention. An obstacle for the Whomping Wahoos to overcome is their fading element of surprise. Often overlooked in the past, UVA had been able to easily upset opponents that underestimated its abilities. However, now it is gaining recognition as a competitive team, and one to be on the lookout for. Losing Stolcenberg will also put UVA at a disadvantage, as he was excellent at reading opponents and strategizing before and during games to help the team improve its play each match.
Photo Credit: Virginia Quidditch Club
West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia Mountaineers
Source: Jeff Stevens If a state in the Mid-Atlantic region has a quidditch team, chances are it has more than one. That’s not the case, however, in West Virginia, the state home to the West Virginia Mountaineers. This college team was established in 2010 at the University of West Virginia, though it did not join USQ until 2013, and is the only quidditch team in the entire state – for now, that is. The 2014-15 season was its first as a truly competitive team, as shown by its appearance at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. Graduate student and founder of the Mountaineers, Jeff Stevens, is still with the team, acting as captain and coach. The team will be losing quite a few players to graduation, including chasers Emily Buras, Chris Bolser, and James Ramos, along with beaters Michael Hipelius, and beater/chaser Rikki Bower. Not to worry, though, as the Mountaineers have a large recruitment pool to draw from. “Additionally, we enjoy the support of the No. 3 club sports program in the country which gives us access to great facilities, a large pool of potential players, and financial support,” said Stevens. However, the influx of new players includes the burden of the newbies being young and inexperienced. It will take time to train everyone in their roles and bond as a team. At the same time, the Mountaineers do not have very many USQ teams in the area with which to scrimmage and host tournaments, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage as compared to other teams in more populated areas of the region.
Photo Credit: Jennifer TestermanWizengamot Quidditch at VCU
Source: Colby Palmer Looking for some fundraising ideas? Wizengamot Quidditch has some good ones! The team, located at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, used an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds to send itself to that year’s World Cup. One of the tiers provided the option of tattooing then-president Tommy McPhail. A local donut shop contributed thousands of dollars to Wizengamot Quidditch in exchange for McPhail receiving a tattoo on himself in the shape of a doughnut with snitch wings. Besides that gem of a fact, VCU was established in 2008 and was the first team to be created in the state of Virginia, making it one of the oldest in the Mid-Atlantic region. Colby Palmer and former Wizengamot player August Wade work together to coach the team. Nine players have left Wizengamot, primarily due to graduation: Tommy McPhail, Jason Gardner, Erica Bennett, Amanda Ortman, Lee Reid, Dan Newton, Darren Creary, Todd Zimmerman, and Seth Poplawski. However, the eagerness and determination of the returning players will fill the holes created by the departing players. Already, the returning players have made progress and are looking to surprise other teams with their abilities this fall. On the other hand, the new players may prove to be an obstacle VCU needs to overcome, as it will be necessary to train them all in time to fully compete in tournaments. However, Palmer isn’t worried. “We have a lot of people who are new to the sport, which might be viewed as a negative, but we think that it’ll breathe some new life into the team, and we’ll be able to do things that people haven’t seen before,” said Palmer.
Photo Credit: Hannah Huddle
____The following teams have not responded with information: Appalachian Apparators, District of Columbia Quidditch Club, Stockton University Ospreys, Villanova Community Quidditch, Virginia Tech, and Wilmington Warhawks.
QC Pittsburgh has informed us that the team will be playing in the Great Lakes region this season. If your team has not been included in this article, but is interested in being added, please email email@example.com