Team Spotlight: Lock Haven University

In January 2012, Jonyull Kosinski wanted to create...
In January 2012, Jonyull Kosinski wanted to create a new program at Lock Haven University at Pennsylvania (Lock Haven, Pennsylvania) combining his two loves, lacrosse and quidditch. After doing his research, he discovered the IQA. Since deciding to create his own team with the help of friend and assistant captain Spencer McCoy, the group has grown from just a handful of players to a flourishing 38-person roster, rising from an unofficial student group to a successful competitor in the IQA's Mid-Atlantic region.

Photo credit: Serra White

“We had a consistent turnout of maybe five or six including myself and my assistant captain,” Kosinski said. “[Now] we have 38 on my roster, 38 brooms, and now no less than 33 come to practice every time. It's incredible.” The team began officially competing this fall, appearing in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, where they went 3-3, and Kutztown University's (Kutztown, PA) unofficial Whomping Willow Warfare tournament, where they placed second. At the time of writing, the team currently stood at 62 in official IQA rankings.

LHU Quidditch at the Whomping Willow Warfare tournament. Photo reprinted with permission from LHU Quidditch.

“We actually performed a lot better than we thought we would [in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship],” Kosinski said. “We won our first game ever which we were ecstatic about. We beat VCU, which was huge, and Penn State came over and just destroyed our field because of how happy they were that we beat VCU and bumped them up...We didn't even really care [about our losses]; we were a little bummed at our losses, but we were so incredibly grateful [for our wins].” Still, no matter their winning record, Kosinski said that what concerns him most is that his team enjoys practicing and playing together, among other goals. “As cliché as it sounds, fun was my big thing,” Kosinski said. “I stress that every practice and every game in the huddle. I feel like I have all kinds of different roles [as president, captain, and head coach], but the first thing I want to tell them is I'm not trying to drill [them] into the ground… [Another] big goal of mine that I had was just to build a positive reputation in our region and I can assure that we've definitely done that, especially at Regionals and going to [Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, MD,)] just competing. So along with that, I just wanted to see a win and we definitely got that.” Konsinski said that he also stresses having a positive attitude on and off the field to his team. “The respect that we got from our region because of how well my program performed and the attitude that we gave the entire time,” Konsinski said. “I have no tolerance for any negativity on the field and my team never shows that—so I could not have been more proud whether we lost all six or won all six, we performed as well as I could have ever imagined."

The LHU Team celebrates after a game. Photo reprinted with permission from LHU Quidditch.

Alexander Garancheski, the LHU team's treasurer, said that he believes the team greatly benefits from the sense of internal community. “I can only speak from my personal experience, but I believe our biggest strength is the large and tightly-knit family that our team has become,” Garancheski said. “Our players help one another both on and off the field, whether it's academic studies or extracurricular activities. We hold team bonding events regularly and many players hang out with one another on a regular basis. I couldn't be more proud of what the program has become.” Tommy McPhail and Scott Behler, public relations officer and head coach, respectively, of Virginia Commonwealth University's Wizengamot Quidditch (Richmond, VA) described Lock Haven as “an up-and-coming team with a really solid base,” but one that “require[s] a lot of little tweaks.” “[Kosinski] seems knowledgable of the game and adept at reading the field,” McPhail and Behler said. “Their chaser line-up is strong. However, Lock Haven's weakness is their beater work. Their beater speed needs to be upped.” Wizengamot Quidditch played against Lock Haven in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament, where they lost to their new competitors in a close match ending 50-40. Garancheski said that while their biggest difficulty is traveling with over 21 players, the team hasn't faced any major road blocks. “I don't think we have any significant weaknesses that are out of the ordinary,” Garancheski said. “We often stress how important on-field communication is and how important it is to maintain consistent movement in game.” McPhail and Behler said the key elements to any starting team are recruitment and patience. “No team is going to be truly fantastic their first semester, but if you can get a solid footing and solid number of people coming out to play, you'll find players who bring other friends who wouldn't usually come out to quidditch.” Looking ahead, Konsinski said that team looks forward to more fundraising and raising awareness on their schools' campus as well as a spot at the World Cup. “Definitely a World Cup chance, I mean, that's the obvious goal for our team,” Konsinski said. “Other than that, it's really just to get fundraising going….a lot more home games; we have yet to have our first home game so I definitely want to show my university what it's like. I definitely want to do more to get a little more recognized on campus.” There's no doubt that Lock Haven Quidditch will continue to grow and improve during the remainder of their first season and beyond. Garancheski said that becoming part of the team was not only one of the better decisions of his college career, but of his life in general. “Joining the team was one of the best decisions I have made in my entire life,” Garancheski said. “I'm honored to be part of such an incredible program [which] includes our own team, Lock Haven University for supporting us, every team that we meet, the universities that invite us to tournaments and allow us to play on their grounds and fields, the supportive fans, parents and the IQA itself. I cannot stress enough how much we love this game, and how excited we are for the future of Lock Haven Quidditch.”