By Danielle Lehmann
For many teams who did not earn a bid for US Quidditch Cup 10, competing against out-of-region teams is no longer a possibility. Last year, however, Texas State Quidditch changed that prospect for many who just missed out on national-level play. Texas State returns with Consolation Cup II this weekend, when 22 teams (Editor’s Note: One team has dropped from Consolation Cup II, but as of press time the identity of this team has not been confirmed) make their way across the United States to compete in the intense tournament.
The first Consolation Cup was the brainchild of Beth Peavler, who wanted a tournament that did not have the restrictions of US Quidditch Cup or the long-winded ceremonies and other entertainment.
“I wanted to host a tournament that cut out excess and focused on the actual game play,” said Peavler. “I also saw an opportunity for the many teams with fall USQ regional [championships]. In the Southwest, our regional weekend is always late February, which seems like a reasonable timeline (in relation to US Quidditch Cup), but what do you do in the north when you don’t qualify for the national [championship] in November? Hosting a ‘D-2’-type national tournament gives teams an alternative option to plan the rest of their season.”
Peavler did much of the organizing, recruiting, and scheduling on her own, partnering with Texas State Quidditch to help with managing day-of events and fundraising.
“I was very proactive about planning ahead, having contingency plans, and making sure that if I claimed to be able to run a quality national tournament, that I better live up to it,” said Peavler.
Even with Peavler’s extensive planning, a month before the tournament she was told that a men’s lacrosse game was going to prevent her from using the fields she reserved. This would drastically cut the number of pitches and amenities and stop her from accomplishing the tournament she promised. Peavler was not about to give up. She worked with the lacrosse club president and they eventually moved their game ― a quiet victory known only to a few only weeks before the tournament.
“Last year, I was a big fan of how well the tournament was run, top to bottom,” said Cody Narveson, who played for Minnesota Nice QC last year. “It may have been the most organized tournament I’ve ever been to, World Cups included.”
Two weeks before US Quidditch Cup 9, 27 teams converged in Texas. Of those 27, eight earned bids for US Quidditch Cup 10 this year: Tribe, Macaulay Honors College Marauders, Indiana University Quidditch Club, Marquette University Quidditch, the Silver Phoenix, University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Baylor University, and the Long Beach Funky Quaffles. Of those eight, four were in the semifinals of Consolation Cup I: Baylor University, the Long Beach Funky Quaffles, Marquette University Quidditch, and UTSA. Nine teams are returning for Consolation Cup II this weekend: Hofstra University Flying Dutchmen, Harvard Horntails, TC FROST, Philadelphia Honey Badgers, San Marcos Sharknados, Austin Quidditch, SFA Lumberjacks, Death Row Quidditch Team, and Louisiana State University.
For Consolation Cup II, four players are working together to help the tournament live up to its expectations from last year: Leif Montgomery has taken over as tournament director; Tess Acosta as assistant tournament director; Jenna Bollweg as public relations, marketing, and fundraising manager; and Carrie Soukup as tournament volunteer coordinator.
“Last year was really successful, and we’re always up for a challenge, so we decided to go for round two,” said Montgomery. “There are a lot of teams that deserve an opportunity to play at a national level that don’t get a shot otherwise. We want to provide these teams with the opportunity they deserve, without policies we disagree with, such as stay and play.”
Many attending players are looking forward to this opportunity to play teams from other regions, including Narveson, who is returning to Consolation Cup this year as a captain of TC FROST.
“The teams in attendance at Consolation Cup are on the cusp of moving up to the next level within their respective regions, and I love competing against players who use that as fuel and play like they truly want that recognition,” said Narveson. “It’s an incredible dynamic and not all games throughout the quidditch season are like that.”
Similarly to US Quidditch Cup, however, many teams still struggle to collect the funds for the long trip. Narveson said that his team’s travel costs are mainly funded out of pocket.
“We have been able to offset a percentage of our expenses throughout the season by selling some merchandise and hosting a fundraiser earlier in the winter, but it hasn’t been nearly enough to cover the bulk of our fees,” said Narveson.
Travel time and cost are often the primary hindrances for teams when deciding whether or not to attend a tournament, and Consolation Cup is no exception.
“There were a lot of teams that couldn’t come because it requires them to travel from the other side of the US,” said Montgomery. “Because of this, we’re not going to have as many teams as we would’ve liked, but we understand.”
Even so, in both years, seven out of eight regions have had at least one representative at the tournament, giving lower-tier teams the inter-regional competition they need to grow and prepare for next season. While it’s too early to see the full impact that Consolation Cup has on a team’s upcoming season, experience gained in San Marcos can be a major stepping point for subsequent success.