By Danielle Lehmann
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.
Boggarts Quidditch Club at Colorado State University (CSU)
Source: Chelsea Moller The Boggarts are a college team from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The team has two captains: TJ Schneider is the field captain, focusing on managing practices and strategy, while Chelsea Moller is the organizational captain and manages tournament planning, communication, and fundraising. Splitting the responsibilities between two captains helps the Boggarts stay sharp on the field without missing out on any recruiting opportunities, which is important since their biggest challenge this season will be to recruit new members. The team’s previous organizational captain – chaser and seeker Ally Whitney; field captain and chaser Jo Vlieger; as well as chaser and seeker Kellie Due will not be returning for this season. Although the Boggarts will miss these players, Moller has said that the team’s beater game improved dramatically last season and expects those beaters to bring that improvement to the pitch this year.
Photo Credit: Boggarts Quidditch Club at Colorado State UniversityIllinois State University Firebirds (ISU) Source: Jeffrey Siwek
The Illinois State Firebirds, located in Normal, Illinois, are a team to watch this season. Jeff Siwek and Austin Pruyn are co-captains for ISU. Siwek was the team’s chaser captain last season, so he has some experience coming into the full captain position this season and is keeping his team’s strengths and challenges a mystery for now.
Photo Credit: Isabella Gong PhotographyIowa State Quidditch Source: Jacob Vogts Established in 2010, Iowa State Quidditch is located in Ames, Iowa. This year, the college team will be coached by Marc McWilliams, Erin Toohey, and Emily Whitemarsh. Although the team is still trying to develop its own distinct style of play, ISU will be welcoming back many players from last year, giving the team a great opportunity to work on gameplay strategies.
Photo Credit: Iowa State QuidditchKansas Quidditch (KU) & Crimson Warhawks (CW)
Source: Matt Dwyer Kansas Quidditch and the Crimson Warhawks are the A and B college teams for the University of Kansas. Established in 2010 in Lawrence, Kansas, this year the teams will be coached by Matt Dwyer and captained by Austin Pitts. There are a handful of graduates who will not be returning to the teams, including Samy Mousa and possibly Doug Whiston. Outside of normal conversation, these two teams use large quantities of Twitter messages, hashtags, and GIFs to communicate between members. Especially with the use of the hashtag #DwyerSux, it is clear that the chemistry between KU and the CW is not bound by the A and B team division.
Kansas Quidditch and Crimson Warhawks both attended USQ World Cup 8 | Photo Credit: Sofia de la Vega Photography
Marquette University Quidditch (MU)Minnesota Nice Quidditch Club (MNQC) Source: Cody Narveson The Minnesota Nice Quidditch Club is a community team from Minneapolis. Josh Zemke and Cody Narveson are the co-captains for the team’s inaugural season. The team’s recent establishment may bring doubt into some people’s minds regarding its players and skill, but the team is ready to prove those expectations wrong. “The biggest obstacle for MNQC is going to be defying the expectations and assumptions that people have likely already placed upon us,” said Narveson. “MNQC is a first-year community team with no real quidditch-relevant faces to its name. The team practices in the same city as TC Frost and Minnesota Quidditch, the latter being the organization where most of Nice’s players got their start. Realizing and carving out our own identity is going to be the most difficult part of our first year.” The team’s location in Minneapolis is both a positive and a negative for it. MNQC competes to recruit graduates from Minnesota Quidditch with the community team TC Frost. However, the teams’ proximity to each other means they have others to practice within the immediate area. It also means MNQC has strong experience and chemistry, even in its first year. The bulk of MNQC’s roster includes players with at least one year of quidditch experience, which will give them a leg up on other first-year teams. In addition, most of its athletes have played with one another previously, which will only jump-start the team’s chemistry.
Source: Nathan Digmann Located in Milwaukee, Marquette Quidditch is a college team that was established in 2011. Matthew Fiebig, Nathan Digmann, and Matthew Angel were recently appointed as captains for this season. Marquette Quidditch will be missing a few of its key players from last season, but those returning to MU will move on as well as they can. “Something that I think should probably be pointed out as a strength would be the number of experienced returning players,” said Digmann. “In years past we have had very heavy turnover, and as a result we have had to rebuild in the fall each year. It’s tough to improve as a team when you are using a lot of practice time just learning the rules and how to play.” This season, MU will focus on its commitment to building and sustaining team chemistry. This may be done by playing team bonding games, such as “Would You Rather?”, which seem to have worked as a way to bond in the past.
Photo Credit: Minnesota NiceMinnesota Quidditch (MNQ) Source: Tim Ohlert Located in Minneapolis, this college team was established in 2010 at the University of Minnesota. This season, Minnesota Quidditch will have Hallie Schley, David Pray, and Tim Ohlert as captains, but the team will be missing a handful of players, including Cody Narveson, Josh Zemke, Jacob Drewa, Jimmy Dillon, and Nick Berg. Like many other college teams, the most significant challenge MNQ will face is its high turnover rate and training new players for this season quickly and effectively. Even with the large number of departing players, the team will start the season off with a strong roster, its benches hopefully lined with a large number of new players. “We’re returning a good crew of juniors and seniors who have now played together for a few seasons, which should enhance our cohesion and allow us to attain a higher level of play,” said Ohlert. “Key players include Hallie Schley, a potent beater who brings a strong presence to her play, and Carly Eichten, whose versatility between positions and strategic roles allows us to approach opponents in various advantageous ways.”
Photo Credit: Minnesota QuidditchMizzou Quidditch Source: Jon Quattlebaum Mizzou Quidditch is starting its fourth year this season as a college team in Columbia, Missouri. Head Captain and chaser Jacob Boyce, along with Assistant Quaffle Captain Kaylee Skistimas and Assistant Beater Captain David Becker, will be working hard to build off the team’s success at USQ World Cup 8, where the team made it to bracket play. The team will be challenged, however, since it will be missing some key players. Keeper Josh Ebbesmeyer and chaser Tim Leible graduated last season, Brett Smith is back in the Marines, and Dan Shapiro could be around the pitch, but due to an ACL surgery over the summer, his ability to play is unknown. Even with these absences, Mizzou Quidditch is returning to the field armed with many experienced players and a strong beating game. Although Becker, Taylor Korte, and Maddie McConnell are the only beaters returning this year, those three talented players are an essential part of this team’s strong beating corps.
Photo Credit: Mizzou QuidditchNorthwestern Kneazles Source: Matt Du A college team in Evanston, Illinois, the Northwestern Kneazles play at Northwestern University as a conditional sports club. Although the team is technically not a full sports club, if the team recruits a lot of players this year, then they could become official, meaning the Kneazles could get additional funding and advising support from their university. Established in 2011, the Kneazles will be captained by Matt Du this season. The loss of beaters Juan Herrera and Farzan Fatemi – as well as chaser Kara Greenberg – will be a big hit for the team. The Kneazles will have to overcome their absence to be truly competitive, especially because the team is generally smaller in physical size and strength compared to many other teams. “We consider our team’s strengths this season to be our seeker, who has been doing an outstanding job for us the past three years; our relentless optimism, which will help us make the best of any challenges we face; and our new exec board, which is not only more experienced than ever and which will help with recruitment, but now includes assistant captains, which will enable us to have improved strategy and practices,” said Du.
Photo Credit: Northwestern KneazlesUniversity of Northern Colorado (UNC) Source: Brandon Vela A college team in Greeley, Colorado, the University of Northern Colorado Quidditch Club will be captained by Brandon Vela this year. He will be graduating and will not return next season, so Vela is working on welcoming new leadership to the team. UNC also lost numerous players, including Scott Rice, Carlie Jones, Johnson Huynh, and Paula Pineda last season. To try to fill the holes they left, the team has been using these past few months to recruit as many new players as possible. “We don’t have the best record right now, but this year has been a recruiting year, and we are actually playing much better than I expected,” said Vela. UNC has traveled to many games and tournaments and even held its own tournament in Oct. 2015, NoCo Cup V. It was Vela’s second time hosting the tournament, although the team has hosted the tournament for five years now. The games have been instrumental for the team to find its chemistry with new members. Webster University Quidditch Source: Dane Davis Based in Webster Groves, Missouri, Webster Quidditch is the only quidditch team in St. Louis. Although its home pitch is on the Webster University campus, Webster Quidditch accepts anyone from the community who wants to be involved with the sport. Captain Jordan Palmer and Coach and Captain Dane Davis are leading the team this year in its first USQ-official season, even though the team was established in 2010. It has taken Webster Quidditch five years to get to the point where the team meets USQ requirements and can pay the necessary fees. This is an incredible feat when one considers that five other teams in St. Louis attempted to do the same thing in 2010, but none have made it as far as Webster Quidditch. Adjusting to the level of play of USQ-official teams might come for a challenge for Webster Quidditch, but the team prides itself on being physical and on having a stout defense.
Photo Credit: Nick AppleWichita State University (WSU) Source: Daniel Pabst Located in Wichita, Kansas, the Wichita State Shockers are a college team established in 2009. Daniel Pabst is the captain for this season and has a team that will remain largely intact from the previous year. The team’s aggression and chaser speed are assets, but teaching new players and making sure they are ready for tournaments will be a challenge for the team this year.
Photo Credit: Wichita State University Quidditch _____The following teams have not responded with information: Loyola University Chicago and TC Frost. If your team has not been included in this article but is interested in being added, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.