The University of Texas (Austin, TX) is no newcomer to the world of sports. Its Division I football and baseball teams are among the best in the nation, to name just two of their successful programs. Sports Illustrated even deemed the school “America's Best Sports College” in 2002. With such an athletic background, it's no surprise that Texas Quidditch became the first team to win the World Cup in the absence of Middlebury College (Middlebury, VT).
Photo by Kat Ignatova/IQA Photo Editor.
Alexandra Young and Aaron Rodriguez founded Texas Quidditch in spring 2010, according to current co-captain Christopher Morris: “They started the club here, and as the organization was forming they asked if anyone would be interested in forming a traveling team to compete against other schools,” Morris said. “Over the past few years, the organization has grown to more than 100 members, including two traveling intercollegiate teams. The amount of talent on the team has steadily increased each year [until] this point. We are a team full of great athletes that recruits more and more great athletes now.”
The championship roster consists of twenty players, five women and fifteen men, according to co-captain Augustine Monroe.
The past year leading up to World Cup VI has been an impressive one for the Longhorns. After placing ninth at World Cup V, the team went on to win the Louisiana State University's (Baton Rouge, LA) Annual Mardi Gras Cup in 2012 and 2013, as well as the Lone Star Cup in 2012.
On April 14, Texas Quidditch became World Cup champions after a win over UCLA (Los Angeles, CA) 190*-80. Per tradition at the University of Texas, the UT tower was lit in the school's trademark burnt orange to commemorate the win on May 6.
Teammates rush seeker Kenny Chilton after his succesful snitch catch against UCLA in the final game at World Cup VI. Photo by Isabella Gong/IQA Staff.
Over the year, the team practices several times throughout the week in addition to lifting weights, holding sprint workouts, and individual skill practices. Monroe said that Texas keeps their practices “simple yet effective.”
“[To prepare for the World Cup,] we got smart,” Monroe said. “After losing Regionals, everyone was hungry for improvement. We developed and practiced several new strategies that definitely paid off. In the time between Regionals and [the] World Cup, we became a new team that was ready to outplay any team in every area. Our beaters are not given the credit they deserve: without them, there would be no way we would have made it as far as we did.”
In addition to simple practices and strategizing, Morris said the team created a unique, fun workout that combines team members' interest in gaming with getting fit. “One thing that picked up for a while is Halo Fit,” Morris said. “We integrated playing Halo with a workout based on how well we played.”
So what else led the team to win it all at the World Cup? Morris stressed the importance of teamwork and sportsmanship as a cornerstone to the team's dynamic. “Texas Quidditch's defining attribute is its players and the passion they have for the sport,” he said. “Every player on the team has the ability to step up and be the main player in any game, but each one will step down and sit out if that is what will help the team win. There was no person that focused on being the one-person show. We all worked together to achieve our goals as a team, suffered through varying workouts, and shuffled schedules around to give everything we had into the team. Texas Quidditch's players display the meaning of passion in their love for the sport.”
And the team could not be more thrilled to hold the title of World Cup Champions.
“Winning the World Cup meant so many things for me, my teammates, and our organization as a whole,” Monroe said. “The final victory validated our efforts and sacrifices; everything we ever did to prepare for this tournament was finally worth it. I love my team as they are a very special group of people who I will always treasure… 20 years down the road, I will remember this team and the beautiful memories that we have made in our time together, and probably cry a little."