Freshers Impress at Oslo Open

By Johanne Steinlien and Lisa Tietze

Oslo Open is the annual European Quidditch Cup (EQC) qualification event in Norway. In Norway, teams have to declare at the beginning of the season if they will be playing competitively; non-competitive teams can play in the league and attend tournaments, but they are not eligible to compete in EQC. With two EQC spots on the line this season and three teams announcing their intention to fight for the spots, this season marks the first time in Norwegian quidditch history that there was an actual competition for the EQC spots taking place. Ultimately the spots were earned by OSI Quidditch and NTNUI Rumpeldunk, with OSI winning the tournament.

The tournament followed a round robin format for all seven participating teams. After the round robin stage, teams were ranked based on their performance on Day One and played the knockout phase based on this ranking (1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 3, 6 vs 7, winner vs. 5). Participating teams came from the three biggest student cities in Norway: Oslo, Bergen, and Trondheim. Traditionally, the two biggest teams in Norway ― OSI Quidditch of Oslo University and NTNUI Rumpeldunk of Trondheim University ― are comprised mainly of freshers (about ⅔) due to a high exchange student rate joining those two teams. This is good for the freshers, as they get quite a nice start within the teams and bring their knowledge back to their home country. However, this is bad for the teams, as students leave after half a year, giving the teams little consistency to work with, needing to recruit new people again for when the new semester starts in January and prepare for EQC just a few months later. Yet both teams managed to fare quite well in the international competition, which can definitely be attributed to outstanding new players. We want to shed a light on those contributors, starting with the Oslo team.

OSI Vikings brooms up at Battle Royale 2017 | Photo Credit: Petter Elstad

OSI has had strong recruitment this year and expanded the Norwegian proportion of their roster a bit more, forming a more stable corps in the team for the future. Trym Korsvik and Kenneth Sanglay joined the OSI Vikings this fall and they both quickly became important chasers; both are physical and have a good overview of the game. From Japan, they were joined by Kohei Oyama, a fast quaffle player and seeker. Together with Marie Repgen and Ronie Makhoul from Germany, these players were essential for the Vikings’ lineup this tournament.

The OSI Valkyries are OSI’s second team, which is more focused on learning the game in a fun way and less focused on the physical aspects of the game. However, during the tournament they stepped up to the task and showed that they too can be tough. In the future we might see some hidden talents from these players as demonstrated by Torstein Lumkjær  Nordhagen, who displayed excellent tackles.

Looking to the north, NTNUI Rumpeldunk showed stable recruiting luck once again. The most outstanding recruit from this season is Louis Verdonckt from Gent, Belgium. He displayed excellent defensive play, giving the opponent’s offense no room to maneuver. In the game against BSI Quidditch (Bergen University team), he managed to single-handedly steal the quaffle from the opponents and score five times in the first two and a half minutes of the game, which is proof of his excellent defensive and transition skills. Generally, the Belgian contribution to the NTNUI team this year was strong, featuring chasers Esti De Boever and Thomas De Munck as well as utility talent Jonathan Steukers. Luckily, the team managed to recruit more Norwegians this year than usual with Stine Hansen, Constantin Rust, and Sigbjørn Lærum massively contributing to many goals.

BSI, the team from the Bergen University, is in their second season now. They have established themselves as a stable team with a wide player base and are featured by talents such as beater Dyveke Hatling, chaser Remi Neverdal Birkenfeldt, and keeper Hanna Große, who is on exchange from Germany. At Oslo Open they especially showed off their new chaser talents. Here, distinguished female chasers Tilda Vilde Strid, Birgit Haider, and Karolína Smolková were a big asset to their team, the latter two being from Austria and the Czech Republic, respectively. All three contributed massively to an aggressive defense, were available passing options, and were pass distributors on offense.

BSI Rumpeldunk team photo | Photo Credit: Signe Othelie Stokseth

Another Oslo-based team is the GS Grizzlies, who are also in their second season. As a community team based on a Harry Potter society, they are probably the biggest “Potterheads” group in Norway, which greatly contributes to their lovely playing attitude. This should not hide the fact, however, that they have some talent in their squad. New to this season and already impressing the audience is chaser Siavash Hosseini. Probably quicker than any other player during the tournament, he crossed the pitch and often arrived at the opponent’s hoops way before his teammates. If he stays with the sport and gets more experience, he will have a good shot at becoming a recognized player. Vårin Næss showed great determination in her chasing and seeking game with an impressive aggression and stamina. The very same is true for Sara-Elisabeth Ånesland, who unfortunately was not able to play all of Oslo Open due to an injury. In the beater game, the beater pair of Even Nerheim and Caroline Mikkelsen was a great asset to their team in defense as well as offense and gave their opponents a hard time trying to recover bludger control from them.

Featuring the youngest, but nevertheless impressive players, is Katta Rampeldunk. The team is based in the Oslo Cathedral School where quidditch is a substantial part of the school’s sport teaching program. Many teams in Norway find themselves happily taking players from there once they finish school. Katta have been a constant player in the Norwegian quidditch scene from the very start and this year, for the first time, tried to take a spot to EQC. They ended up in third place, missing their goal ever so slightly, and that with having a small squad of only about 10 people. Besides outstanding players who have been playing for a while now such as keeper Ulrik Olsen (Team Norway), chaser Arjuna Solberg, beater Simen Kloster-Jensen, and chaser/beater Edvard Holen, they had a successful recruiting season this year too. Star beater Stein Elgethun’s little sister Astri Elgethun had an impressive debut at Oslo Open as a beater, so one could say quidditch and beating runs in her genes. She displayed a quick grasp of the game, always supporting her beater buddy. Chaser Tibor Elgvin has been noticed by many as an incredibly fast and agile runner. Due to his tall size and accompanied by a long reach, he also found a spot on the team as a seeker, doing a good job there too. In general, all of Katta’s players displayed a great stamina, most of them going a full match, which is needed with such a small roster and eight games to play within two days.

Once again, the recruiting season in Norway looks good in general, but the two teams that qualified for the European Quidditch Cup, OSI Vikings and NTNUI Rumpeldunk, will have to work hard to introduce another round of freshmen in January to the sport, hoping to get them ready in time for EQC. They will hopefully see many of this semester’s recruits helping out their future teams and meeting them potentially on pitch at EQC.