Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article ...
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Baylor University had not competed in the finals of other Southwest tournaments. Baylor actually competed against Texas A&M in the finals of the Texas State Diamond Cup. The article also neglected to mention that a team from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, also participated in the Regional Championship. The IQA editorial team regrets the errors.The author of this article is the President of University of Texas Quidditch.
This past weekend, 15 teams from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma battled for 10 World Cup spots in the Southwest Regional tournament. The tournament was held at the Penberthy Intramural Fields at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX. Day one consisted of pool play, and day two was dedicated to bracket play.
Baylor defends a Texas A&M chaser in this weekend's semi-final matchup | Photo by Lauren Carter
At the end of day one, No. 13 Baylor Quidditch (Waco, TX) came out with the number one seed with an undefeated record and a median point differential of 130, thus securing a spot at World Cup VI. No. 4 Texas Quidditch (Austin, TX) trailed closely behind with a median point differential of 120. The two next closest teams were No. 21 Texas State (San Marcos, TX) and No. 1 Texas A&M (College Station, TX) with median point differentials of 60 and 50, respectively.
Teams that won their first game of bracket play automatically qualified for the World Cup. No. 31 Louisiana State University (Baton Rouge, LA), No. 34 University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR), No. 78 Silver Phoenixes (College Station, TX), and No. 52 Austin Quidditch (Austin, TX) all finished second in their respective pools, earning the fifth through eighth seeds, and they won their first match of bracket play to qualify for the World Cup. Texas, Texas State, and A&M also qualified for the World Cup, with Texas beating Texas State, and Baylor beating A&M to get to the finals.
One of the most anticipated matches of the tournament was the Baylor versus A&M semifinal match. A&M's number one IQA ranking made them a favorite for winning the tournament, while Baylor had previously faced A&M in the finals of the Texas State Diamond Cup. The match was extremely close, with Baylor catching the snitch to take the game into overtime. Baylor caught the snitch again less than 10 seconds before the match went into double overtime, bringing the final score to 140^*-110. This game was Paul Williard's (captain of Baylor Quidditch) favorite of the tournament:“It was intense because it went into overtime. We then had to fight back from a 40 point deficient and regroup as a team. I also went to high school with [A&M captain] Drew Wasikowski, which made it a little more fun.”
The Texas versus Baylor final was a surprise for many quidditch fans, who expected a traditional Texas versus A&M final. Texas Quidditch entered the day with their eye on the prize; after taking the second seed to Baylor in pool play, they played through most of bracket play winning by huge margins (300*-0 over Silver Phoenixes in the quarterfinals and 210*-30 over Texas State). However, Texas' skills were truly put to the test in the final match. Baylor got bludger control relatively early in the game and kept it throughout much of the contest, successfully stopping the powerhouse Texas offense. Texas' inability to regain bludger control was a major factor in their defeat. When the snitch returned to the pitch, Texas fought valiantly to block Baylor's seekers, but only having one bludger allowed Baylor to rack up points.
Baylor is the Southwest's new champion. | Photo by Matt Hellman
Teams that lost in the first round of bracket play competed in a consolation bracket in which the final two teams would earn World Cup spots.
The consolation final match between No. 35 Oklahoma State University Quidditch (Stillwater, OK) and No. 75 Roadrunner Quidditch (San Antonio, TX) was one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Although both teams had qualified for the World Cup by earning the top two spots in the consolation bracket, it was a high scoring match with both teams demonstrating their desire to win. It was also the longest match of the day, lasting a total of 36 minutes. The final score was 200* to 140, with Roadrunner Quidditch catching the snitch for the win.
Many other teams in the Southwest had not played against No. 34 University of Arkansas Razorback Quidditch (Fayetteville, AR) before and were not sure what to expect from them. However, Arkansas proved that they are also a powerful team. Lauren Grantham, Razorback Quidditch captain, attributed their successes to the team's positive attitude going into the tournament: “We were thinking about qualifying for [the] World Cup and shutting down the people who thought we weren't a good team. We had a lot of misconceptions we wanted to clear up. We had total determination and absolutely [refused] to believe in any alternative; we were going to do anything to go to [the] World Cup.”
Placing third over A&M due to their higher point differential, Texas State proved they are another team that should not be overlooked. President of the Quidditch Association at Texas State Jordon Parisher was excited by his team's performance. “Our team knew we weren't essentially the underdogs, but the team no one was watching out for. We wanted to basically shock the quidditch community,” said Parisher.
“I've never had more fun at any other tournament,” said Williard. “It was just really well organized. The Denver Dementors (Denver, CO) were a lot of fun.” Although they did not qualify for the World Cup, the previously little-known Denver Dementors were a favorite with other teams and the crowd due to their enthusiasm and creative apparel that recalled the Harry Potter origins of the sport, something that is usually missing in Southwest tournaments. After the tournament, some players took photos with the team around a make-shift “prison” draped in pretend chains and an Azkaban sign.
Many Southwest teams (including Baylor) that qualified have not attended any of the previous World Cups and have rarely competed against teams from other regions, adding to the excitement of the most highly anticipated World Cup to date. “We've never had an opportunity to compete in [the] World Cup since our program began immediately after the last World Cup. We've been waiting for this for a really long time,” said Parisher.
List of world cup qualifying teams (in order of tournament performance)
1. Baylor (SW Champs)
3. Texas State (By MPD)
5. LSU (By MPD)
6.Arkansas (By snitch catch %)
7.Silver (By MPD)
8. Austin (By MPD)
9. RRQ (By Head to Head)
2nd Alt. SHSU
Final rankings were determined by the 5 tiebreakers plus one stipulation. If your team made it farther in the bracket than another team, then they received a preference (1st place to champion, 2nd to runner up, 3-4th compete, 5th-8th compete, 9 was the Consolation bracket champ, and 10th was the consolation bracket runner up). The alternate spots were determined by point differential.
For a complete listing of scores from the tournament, see the Southwest Regional website.
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