By Andy Marmer
The Round of 32 commenced with chalk largely holding firm with one notable exception.
No. 26 seeded Gulf Coast Gumbeaux took the fight to the No. 7 seeded Los Angeles Gambits and emerged victorious in a classic match 190*^-170 with Tad Walters catching both snitches for Gumbeaux. The Louisiana-based community team led for most of the match, but were clawed back to a tie game at the 18 minute mark. The Gambits extended their lead to 30 before Walters made the first of his two catches to force overtime tied at 140. The Gambits took a narrow lead in the extra session, but were unable to extend their lead out of range, setting the stage for Walters’ heroics. Gumbueax will face No. 10 seeded RPI Quidditch who knocked off aspiring Cinderella No. 23 Silver Phoenix, the lone Pod 5 team to advance to bracket play, 200*-50 in a dominant display. Silver, as the lone B-team to qualify for bracket play, but could not muster a bracket win.
No. 8 seeded Quidditch Club Boston (QCB) continued its march to a repeat title with a 160*-10 win over No. 25 seeded Cal Quidditch in a dominant display showcasing the defending champions capabilities. They’ll meet the No. 9 seeded Lost Boys who turned in a strong defensive display to knock out No. 24 seeded Oklahoma State University. QCB last lost in a January 2016 match against the Lost Boys at the Bat City Showcase and with many Emerson College graduates populating the Lost Boys roster, the Boston – Los Angeles rivalry will take on its latest chapter.
In an intense match, the defending runners up, No. 6 seeded Rochester United survived an upset-minded No. 27 Rutgers University Quidditch 90*-70. Rutgers never trailed in the match until the snitch was pulled and hung with Rochester United for the entirety of the match, but could not get the snitch pull to go its way. Rochester United will face Florida’s Finest who in a tense match lasting more than 30 minutes knocked off the University of Rochester Thestrals 100-90*.
Looking for its fourth title, No. 5 seeded Texas Quidditch (UT) handled No. 28 seeded Ohio State Quidditch 140-70* in a dominant display. UT will next face No. 12 seeded Bowling Green State University (BGSU), who jumped out to a 50-0 lead over regional rivals the Ball State Cardinals and survived a comeback bid that briefly brought the game within snitch range to win 120*-50. BGSU and UT will meet in a rematch of their World Cup VI semifinal matchup that UT won comfortably on the road to its first championship.
No. 5 Texas 140-70* No. 28 Ohio State
No. 6 Rochester United 90*-70 No. 27 Rutgers
No. 26 Gumbeaux 190*^-170 No. 7 Los Angeles Gambits
No. 8 QCB 160*-10 No. 25 Cal
No. 9 Lost Boys 80*-10 No. 24 Oklahoma State
No. 10 RPI 200*-50 No. 23 Silver Phoenix
No. 11 Florida’s Finest 100-90* No. 22 University of Rochester
No. 12 BGSU 120*-50 No. 21 Ball State