Congratulations; you’re very lucky to have secured your trip to Kissimmee, Florida for US Quidditch Cup 10. Whether you’re a player, volunteer, or fan you’re in for an amazing weekend full of high-level competition and camaraderie. However, whether it’s your first or 10th national championship (is there anybody who has actually attended 10 national championships?), you’re in for a whirlwind of a weekend. With so much happening in such a short time, it can be difficult to prioritize what to watch, and that’s why we’re here. No matter what, you’re going to have a great weekend, but the Quidditch Post’s spectator’s guide will help you to get the most out of your time in Kissimmee, Florida.
Saturday, April 7
Arrive at the field and watch opening ceremonies
Make sure you get a good seat for the opening ceremonies which start at 8:15 a.m. Which region will display the most regional pride?
Our first option of the day.
The question is – did you grab breakfast? There’s 25 minutes between the end of the opening ceremonies and the first round of games. If you haven’t yet eaten, make your first trip of the day to the vendor village where there is an array of food and drink options; however, you probably aren’t the only one, so if you can hold out on food for awhile, head to your first field and stake out a good seat. It’ll also be a chance to watch the teams warm up and see which ones are loose, and which might be letting the nerves get to them.
One of the coolest things about US Quidditch Cup is seeing how many quality games are going on at once. At 9 a.m., eight games will go brooms up at about the same time. This provides a great opportunity to wander by each field, get your bearings for later when you will need to know where these fields are, and take in the magnitude of how much quidditch is being played and how popular the sport is nationwide. Once you’ve checked out a little of each game, make your way to Field 1 for what remains of the Ball State vs. UCLA game. Ball State boasts Team USA seeker Jason Bowling and UCLA is winless in SWIM games this year; while that suggests a close game should go Ball State’s way, this is the US Quidditch Cup and anything can happen. Also, you’ll be spending a lot of time on Field 1 and getting there early will allow you to get the best seats possible for later games.
If that game isn’t very competitive or Field 1 is too crowded, Cal Quidditch vs. BosNYan Bearsharks on Field 3 is a good second choice. Cal disappointed at the regional championship, but is still 13-4, while BosNYan is one of the only teams with elite talent and competitive ability who still focuses on fun and equal play time.
The runners up of two maligned regions face off for regional pride. Carolina Heat is a first-year squad, but one with numerous veteran players from various college programs. The Heat reached the finals at the South Regional Championship, falling 200*-100 to Florida’s Finest. Kansas has long been the class of the Midwest but were knocked off by Mizzou Quidditch 190*-110 in the Midwest Regional Championship finals. Each region only has five teams attending US Quidditch Cup and for regional pride, they’ll need their second-place teams to perform well – this game will be crucial to determining how far these teams can go in bracket play, or if they get there at all.
Getting to Field 1 early is paying dividends as you should have a great seat by now. Despite the relative proximity of these two squads, they have not faced off in an official match since at least the World Cup VI season and this Pod 1 vs. Pod 2 matchup should be a hard-hitting affair. Maryland has long been the class of the Mid-Atlantic and boasts a physical squad not afraid to lay a hit. Likewise, RPI relies on skilled senior leadership and can play a hard-hitting game. Two of the top collegiate teams squaring off should make for a compelling game.
Two regional champions face off again. Lone Star Quidditch Club is 12-1 since the calendar flipped to 2017 and reinforcements arrived in the form of players such as Michael Duquette and Blake Fitzgerald; that one loss was in snitch range to fellow elite community team, Texas Cavalry. That loss is one more than Arizona State has suffered all season. Although ASU enters the tournament as the Pod 1 team, Lone Star will be the clear favorite in this matchup; however, Arizona State is no stranger to being the underdog as it was in its West Regional Championship match against the Los Angeles Gambits. This has the potential to be one of the most revealing games of the first day.
11:40 a.m.-12:20 p.m.
You got to see a little bit of Kansas earlier and while you’ll see its second match, you’re here to watch QC Boston begin its title defense. Undefeated for the past 14 months, QCB enters US Quidditch Cup 10 looking to establish a dynasty like Texas Quidditch and Middlebury had done before it. Kansas invented slowball, and while it might struggle to implement that strategy against beaters as good as QCB’s, it will have to contend with QCB’s excellent seeking game in order to stay in range.
Lunch and Fan Festival
Return to the vendor village to grab some food and while there check out some of the shops, animals, kids zone, and the expanded Quidditch Turns Ten exhibit. While we’d like to tell you that you can do this all in the 40 minute break, games run long and there’s a lot to do so skip the next round of games to make sure you can take advantage of all of these opportunities.
Back to Field 1 for our second matchup featuring a pair of regional champions. The Midwest and Northwest are two of the smallest regions in USQ, so each will be relying on its champion to showcase the region’s legitimacy and carry its chances at a national title. Of course, regions aside, both are very good teams with legitimate chances to make deep runs in bracket play, so beyond the underlying storylines this looks like just a really good game of quidditch.
Again, no moving necessary. Two community teams with loads of experience face off with the top spot in the pool and associated favorable seeding on the line. Both teams rely on exemplary beater play and top notch seeking, which should make for a riveting and tense matchup. Good teams, high-stakes – this is what US Quidditch Cup is about.
You’ve managed to catch many of the favorites so far, so it’s time to watch last season’s runners up, who have a very good chance to make a deep run in bracket play. The Quaffles are capable of pulling an upset, as they showed in their win earlier this season over the Los Angeles Gambits; however, Rochester United is likely to win comfortably. The question to ask yourself: is this Rochester team as good as some of the others you’ve seen so far, and how far can they advance?
Sometimes you have to go all the way to Florida to play your local rival. Boise State and Crimson Elite, despite being in different regions, are two of the closest programs to one another, and given that the two squads consistently play at a similar level, have developed a rivalry. This rivalry comes to the national stage in Kissimmee. There’s something fascinating about watching two teams that know each other well and this game should skip the feeling out process that many will have and skip straight into a chess match.
There are a few ways to spend your break. If you didn’t get enough time in the vendor village or at the fan festival, head back over there. If there are any lingering games going on, feel free to check those out, or just wander around and talk to some players and fans, make some friends and get to learn more about quidditch around the country.
5:00 – 5:40 p.m.
Another game that might be a blowout, but provides an opportunity to catch another favorite to advance far. Last time in Kissimmee, BGSU captured hearts with a run to the semifinals at World Cup VI. This year the team enters as the Great Lakes regional champion with just a single loss. Again, compare it to the other top teams you’ve seen and make some predictions for tomorrow.
5:40 – 6:20 p.m.
Another one of the favorites, as Cavalry spent much of the year dominating what many consider the best region – the Southwest – but ultimately failed to take home a regional title, getting knocked out in the semifinals by Texas State. Still the team has lost only twice this season and has a legitimate shot to take home the title. The Warriors are a veteran team, who, while not possessing the skill of Cavalry, feature talented players and enough strategic minds to make Cavalry work, and possibly pull an upset.
6:20 – 7:00 p.m.
One of the most hyped matches of the first day is a rematch of last year’s Round of 16 where Ball State knocked off the three-time champions in a stunning upset. Although Ball State has lost key players from last year’s squad to graduation, this will nonetheless be an exciting match. If Ball State can stay in range, they have the seeking ability to pull off another upset, but Texas will be looking to ensure that doesn’t happen twice.
7:00 – 7:40 p.m.
We check in again with the Great Lakes regional champions as they face off against a first-year community team, boasting numerous players from last year’s champions. Both teams boast solid lineups and the skills to make a deep run, by this late in the day, expect both to be undefeated, looking for a top seed in the bracket.
Again eight games are in action and by now you’ve sat through more than a dozen. Wander around, check out the environment again and watch bits and pieces of the remaining games before heading home for a good night’s sleep.
Make sure to follow the Quidditch Post on Twitter @quidditchpost and at Quidditchpost.com for everything that you might be missing out on. USQuidditchcup.com is also a resource. On Sunday, park yourself on Field 1 early to get the best seat and just stay there the entire time as the bracket narrows.