Friday, November 6, 2015

2015-16 Great Lakes Regional Preview

By David Wier and 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.

Ball State Cardinals
Source: Matthew Brown Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana is home to the Ball State Cardinals. The Cardinals are a college quidditch team founded back in 2009, during the first half of the first decade of quidditch. Matthew Brown is the captain. Brown will be working with a team missing only three players this upcoming season: Kevin Conboy, Melinda Staup, and Danielle Anderson. “We have a strong core group of players who can all step up for us and be leaders,” said Brown. “With minimal losses from our team last year we have a lot of pre-season cohesiveness to build off of and could make it easier to bring new players into. That being said, Brown noted that one of the challenges the team will face is trying to fill the gap that the loss of the team’s two strong female beaters created.
Bowling Green State University (BGSU)
Source: Pari Yost Bowling Green State University, located in Bowling Green, Ohio is home to two quidditch teams: BGSU and the Falcon Warriors. BGSU was founded in 2010 and will be captained by Pari Yost for the 2015-16 season. Players Zak Hewitt, Chad Brown, Nick Gallmeier, and Alyssa Rybinski, most of whom made appearances during MLQ’s inaugural season, will not be returning to BGSU. “We have a lot of returning players [who] now have World Cup experience under their belts,” said Yost about the 2015-16 season. “Our recruitment has been going really well, and our team is more committed than ever… I think with the losses of Chad Brown and Zak Hewitt we’ll be missing our real consistent performers. And once again, with our recruitment going really well, we’re nervous about making sure that our team chemistry is consistent as in years past.” Central Michigan Quidditch Club (CMU)
Source: David Wier The Central Michigan Quidditch Club, founded in 2012, is a drinking team with a quidditch problem. CMU is affiliated with Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan and is captained by David Wier. Wier is working this year without a large portion of his old starting line, including David Preuter, Amber Harmon, David Wilber, Brandon Booth, and Tyler Richards, all of whom will not be returning for this season. “I recognize a lot of our starting talent is no longer with us,” said Wier. “That being said, I firmly believe we have the right people in leadership positions to make powerful strides in recruitment and guide Central Michigan Quidditch Club in a year of growth and rebuilding. Just getting people to stick around is so important. Quidditch can be costly and time consuming, but if our team leaders can instill a love for the game early on, which I’m confident we can, recruitment will be a success.”
Eastern Michigan Quidditch (EMU)
Source: Caleb Baird Sometimes it’s difficult to raise awareness about the sport of quidditch, and like many teams, Eastern Michigan Quidditch faces challenges with player development and recruiting. One time, EMU was able to play a game as the halftime show for a Detroit-Mercy basketball game. The game worked as both a recruitment opportunity and a chance for spectators and players alike to come together and enjoy the somewhat comical nature of the sport. EMU is a college team founded in 2009 and located in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and will be coached this season by Caleb Baird. Players Thomas Cortta, Victor Randazzo, Keith Keusch, and Brianne Prichard will not be returning to EMU, but Baird is confident in EMUs strong leadership core and incredible focus. “This is the last chance for a lot of the veterans to win games here at EMU, and after last season, we’re ready to put our heads down and work to seriously improve,” said Baird. “We’re tired of being the punchline of Michigan quidditch teams.” Baird also commented on what the addition of the Great Lakes region to USQ means for his team. “The Midwest [and] Great Lakes split is going to force us to either develop into a much better unit quickly, or become lost among all the great teams in our region,said Baird. Falcon Warriors Quidditch Club
Source: Pari Yost The second team located in Bowling Green, Ohio is the Falcon Warriors, a community team founded in 2013 that acts as BGSU’s B team. Although a captain has yet to be named, BGSU captain, Yost, will have a hand in its leadership as the organization’s president. Looking at the future for one of only a handful of B teams to make World Cup, Yost had a few things to say. “The [Falcon Warriors are] growing in reputation since they received their first bid to World Cup last season,” said Yost. “So any players [who] are returners will have the experience of hard competition and know how teams should work. As always with a community team, it comes down to recruitment, whether or not we can get players [who] are fully committed and are willing to learn the game and all of its strategies.” USQ World Cup 8 was the Falcon Warrior’s first World Cup appearance, where they ended the tournament 1-4.
Photo Credit: Falcon Warriors
Grand Valley Quidditch (GVSU)
Source: Jacob Dillon Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, is home to the Grand Valley State Quidditch team. This season, 5-year-old GVSU has many new players, which makes it difficult for the team to work together well on the field. The new recruits are quick learners, and though it is taking some time for them to adjust, Coach and Co-captain Jacob Dillon, isn’t worried. “We have a great depth of individual talent at every position, and a more athletic group than we have had in years past,” Dillon said of his team. Dillon works with Isaac Schipper, who is the assistant coach and co-captain of GVSU. The two are working without a few key players from last year: Katie Tompkins, John Alexander, and Danny Selgo, as well as Ashley Folkert Bryan, who now plays for Great Lakes Community Quidditch. Great Lakes Community Quidditch (GLCQ):
Lake Effect Maelstrom and Lake Effect Tempest
Source: Chris Barnard and Matt Dwyer An interesting development is happening in the Great Lakes region right now: since Luke Changet’s departure from Blue Mountain Quidditch Club (BMQC), the community club, based in Dayton, Ohio, has split into two community teams, Lake Effect Maelstrom and Lake Effect Tempest, under the umbrella title of Great Lakes Community Quidditch. As BMQC, the team managed to make it into the Top Eight teams at USQ World Cup 8, despite the fact that last season was its first year in existence. And although Jack Norgren, Katie Milligan, and, of course, Luke Changet, have left, the two new teams have received an influx of players, with over 40 players in the ranks to fill their spots, and the beater rotation is looking stronger than ever. “In addition to old faces, some high profile people have joined us; Trevor Campbell, Chad Brown, Sara Makey, and David Prueter, just to name a few,” said Chris Barnard, one of GLCQ’s three coaches. “We are looking to have an amazing beater rotation this upcoming season, and we hope to pair it effectively with our quaffle game.” Barnard is aided by Matt Dwyer, who works primarily on gameplay for Tempest, and John Gaffigan. The team also prides itself on being a place where anyone in the region can come play quidditch if they want to. As the two teams have sights set higher than BMQC’s spectacular World Cup debut last year, it is possible the GLCQ teams’ lack of chemistry as well as little practice time, could be a hindrance on the pitch. Dwyer noted that, particularly for Tempest, the team is lacking beaters, and should injuries or conflicts occur, there would not be enough experience to go around. However, the team is not in a bad place. “Our strengths are a wealth of experience from a lot of players and programs,” said Dwyer. “We have a lot of playmakers and stars working to slot together and make a great cohesive unit. We pass and hit pretty well too.” Barnard is also confident in the ability of the two teams to put away a lot of food. “We could go head to head with any team in the country and beat them in a spaghetti eating contest,said Barnard. Will any teams dare to accept the challenge, and will GLCQ out-do last year’s heroics now that it has become two teams? Both of those questions will be answered as the season progresses. Indiana University Quidditch (IU)
Source: Matt Pesch Out of Bloomington, Indiana comes the 4-year-old Indiana University Quidditch team. Established in 2011, this college team is home to one of only three players on MLQ’s Indianapolis Intensity who did not belong to the Ball State Cardinals. IU is captained by Corey Cockrum, who also acts as the coach, and Matt Pesch. Although the two are missing their three highest-scoring chasers in Will Edwards, Mike Digatono, and Dylan Marshall, as well as Caroline Alexander and Tisha Burks, Pesch sees a lot of talent and potential in some of his teammates. However, the team will have to contend with the fact that there is a wide gap in both the skill level and natural talent between its best players and the rest of the team. This dynamic will make for an interesting one to watch as the team heads into the rest of the season.
Miami University (MUOH)
Sources: Krista Siegfried and Matt Mignery Though it was first established as an official quidditch team in 2009 in Oxford, Ohio, Miami University has not quite broken into the top tier of teams. Or rather, it has not yet. “We’ve always been considered a ‘bubble team’ in the past, never quite making it into that top tier. It’s time for us to step up and make it happen,” said Miami representative Krista Siegfried. MUOH is a college team from Miami University in Ohio if you are looking for palm trees, you are in the wrong region. Captain and Coach Matt Mignery may be missing star players like Matt Dwyer, Tina Kindstedt, Stephanie Raudenbush, and John Chabot, but the new recruits the team does have show promise in their speed and their early cohesion with the experienced returning players. Mignery and Siegfried are looking forward to seeing how the team’s passing game works with the team’s well-trained beating corps.
Photo Credit: Kate Rapnicki
Michigan Quidditch Team
Sources: Matt Oppenlander and Zach Fogel Michigan Quidditch Team is the official college quidditch team of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. This year, the team is captained by Matt Oppenlander and Zach Fogel. Oppenlander preferred to give little away about his team, including the players who are not returning, but did say his team would benefit from its overall athleticism and physicality. Michigan was the first team to ever beat Middlebury College in a World Cup match, which happened at IQA’s World Cup V. The team also did well overall during bracket play of USQ World Cup 8 last season, and will most likely do similarly this season. Ohio University Quidditch Club (OUQC)
Source: Ryan Scott If you’d like to wish the Ohio University Quidditch Club “bonne chance!” this season, it is likely the majority of the team will understand you, seeing as 90 percent of the players speak French. This bilingual group, based out of Athens, Ohio, feels ready to dominate in the team’s new region. We are looking to start a new era for our program. We are putting in the hours and preparing for our best year yet,” said Ryan Scott, president and captain of OUQC. “With a nice blend of experience and new talent, we hope to play at a much higher level than previous years. And so far we have begun to do so.” Though the college team from Ohio University is missing five players from last year AJ Davis, Ryan Altenbach, Brittany Follett, Brandon Lutz, and Jeff July the only real challenges Scott can foresee are the following facts: One, that the Great Lakes is a smaller region than OUQC’s previous one. Two, the team has had a change in leadership and an influx of new players to work with. The former will potentially make qualifying for US Quidditch Cup 9 more difficult and the latter has not proved to be a great obstacle to overcome for a program that has begun its third official year on an extremely positive note.

Photo Credit: Erin Milligan
Ohio State Quidditch (OSU)
Source: Jeremy Boettner The Ohio State Quidditch team from Ohio State University in Columbus faces the obstacle this season of replacing over half of its roster. “We have some big shoes to fill, which has made these first few months a rebuilding process,” said Captain Jeremy Boettner. Boettner shares his captain responsibilities with Chris Bowman and Julie Fritz. The three of them are missing graduates David Hoops, Matt Eveland, Kelsey Franklin, and Braden Stevenson, in addition to a number of others who are simply not returning to the team. The well-established team, founded in 2008, will benefit from roster flexibility afforded to it by talented players who have the ability to work well in multiple positions. This will help Ohio State fill in the gaps left by failing to retain so many players.
Purdue Intercollegiate Quidditch Club (PUQ)
Source: Michael Nalepka One of the oldest teams in quidditch can be found in West Lafayette, Indiana, home of Purdue University and its quidditch team, Purdue Intercollegiate Quidditch Club. PUQ was founded in 2010 and is currently captained by Eric Eichelberger and coached by Michael Nalepka. Few players were lost going into this season, which means the team will have the benefit of a seasoned combination of experience and chemistry on the field hopefully helping continue the momentum the team gained last season. Even so, Purdue is competing in a strong region this year, something Nalepka knows well. “Our region is full of great teams, but I believe we can compete with the best in this region… [we] hope to show the region how good Purdue really is,” said Nalepka, regarding his teams chances for this year. As the season gets underway, it will be interesting to see how well Purdue’s experience will stand up to the rest of the competitive crowd.
Photo Credit: Sarah Ranfranz
Q.C. Pittsburgh (QCP)
Source: Mike Bolock Do you know who the sexiest team in quidditch is? If you guessed the Q.C. Pittsburgh, you’d be correct! QCP has been widely regarded as the sexiest team in quidditch since its founding in 2009. At each tournament the players pose for shirtless photos in any weather, a tradition that will continue this season. Located in Pittsburgh, the team boasts two captains: senior Mike Bolock and junior Chandler Larkin. The team is new to the Great Lakes region, as a decision was made just this season to compete in the new region instead of the Mid-Atlantic, where the team is located. QCP will be missing four players this year: Max Dyal, Kimaya Padgaonkar, Aaron Miller, and Tyler Norton. This team’s players have a lot of individual talent, and they excel on the fast break. One person does not make a team, however, and QCP will need to work on teamwork, defense, and awareness on the pitch. Decision-making skills on offense and defense is something QCP will also be focusing on this season.
Photo Credit: Q.C. Pittsburgh
Southern Indiana Quidditch (SIQ)
Source: Keller Stevens If you hear players complimenting someone’s butt after a goal or suggesting something about the actions of their teammates mother after a good steal, you just might be playing the Southern Indiana Quidditch team. SIQ is known for its brash, but friendly, sarcasm amongst its players, and while it’s never antagonistic to other teams, many are taken aback by the familiarity the team’s players have with one another. This familiarity makes for cohesive play on the pitch for this team from the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. The team is headed by Michael Rusche in the primary captain position, Erica Hart as president, and Keller Stevens and Amelia Calilung as coaches. Stevens also acts as a “speaking captain” during games simply because his voice carries the farthest. Our team has always been very quick [and] agile with many cross-country-based players in lieu of heavyweights,” said Stevens. “Our star player, Shane Ritz, breaks the mold of 6’3” keepers and is the team’s top scorer after three years.” Concerning new recruits, Stevens noted a number of new players who will help flesh out the team’s offense. “This year’s recruitment brought in Taylor Haymaker, Trent Martinez, and Mark Foster who add heft to our chaser line which was lacking last year. Returning chaser Lauren Maurer is our top female chaser and is the scrappiest player on the team with the scars to prove it,” said Stevens. When asked about beaters, Stevens thought veteran players would help bring the team’s beater corps to a new level. Beaters Cole Musgrave and Morgan Liley have stepped up their game this year and improved dramatically making our beater line dangerous even against teams like Mizzou Quidditch and Iowa State Quidditch,” said Stevens. “Liley in particular is the girl to watch at [the] upcoming regional [championship]. The team is without its star beater, Wes McKinney, chaser and seeker Amelia Calilung, chasers Grant Gordon, Henry Kathman, and Jimmy Pyles, and Stevens himself who was a chaser and seeker. Even so, both Stevens and Calilung have stayed on to work with the team and are looking to help it to break into the top tier of teams.

Photo Credit: Jack Graves

Wooster Scottish Nationals
Source: Charlotte Tierney A lot of teams have pre-game rituals, but the Wooster Scottish Nationals from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio have a particularly fun one: the team likes to change up its reply to the head referee’s “Ready?” before each match to get hyped. So if you have ever heard the cry, “Eggs all day, stir fry at night,– one of the team’s favorites – before a match, chances are it was the Scottish Nationals getting pumped! Wooster was established in 2012, and the team played its first IQA-official game that year. Since then, the 2014-15 season was the team’s first official with USQ. Charlotte Tierney and Chris LeCompte are the co-captains, and while LeCompte is the registered coach, the two of them share that responsibility as well. The College of Wooster is not a big school, boasting only about 2,000 undergraduates. This makes recruiting difficult and many of the athletes that the Scottish Nationals recruit play other sports during the quidditch season. This is something the team sometimes struggles to work with, but it also means the players the team does find will be more passionate about the complexities of the game. Additionally, the team is looking to build off of its World Cup appearance last season: “Our strengths this year definitely come from experience and more strategic insight. In years past our goal has just been to ‘do better than last year’ but this year our goal is to actually be better,” said Tierney. Tierney went on to say that the team would be working hard to make sure it can compete with the larger schools in the region and earn another bid this season.

Photo Credit: Brad Whitehall
Chris LeCompte contributed to reporting

The following teams have not responded with information: Michigan State Quidditch, Toledo Quidditch, and Western Michigan University Thestrals.

Q.C. Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon Quidditch Club are not listed on the USQ website as registered in the Great Lakes region, but will be competing at the Great Lakes Regional Championship. Carnegie Mellon’s preview was published in the Mid-Atlantic article.

If your team has not been included in this article, but is interested in being added, please email

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