The Quidditch team at The University of Southern Mississippi has seen great improvement in 2013 since it was first started two years ago.
The team recently traveled to Tallahassee, Fla., to compete against teams from across the Southeast. The Renegade Cup, hosted by Florida State University, was difficult for the Southern Miss Quidditch team because few players were able to attend.
“Originally I thought we were going to do extremely well, and then I heard about all the players who weren’t going to be able to make it,” said Nicolas Kubicki, a junior psychology major and president of the Quidditch team.“A lot of last minute stuff came up, and while I did still have confidence in us, I didn’t know how well we were going to do.”
“We went with 13 players, which is a pretty small number compared to other teams. Some had a full roster of 21 players,” said Kyle Carpenter, a senior philosophy major and one of the team’s captains.
Overall, the team did well considering the low number of players. They finished with two wins and one loss in the first half of the tournament and won two more games in the second half.
“We only have three or four players left from the original team. Nine out of 13 players we took to the Renegade Cup were actually new to the team this year,” Carpenter said.
Anna Hotard, a sophomore English and communication studies double major and another team captain, said she is really excited about how much better the team is this year than last year.
“We are definitely doing better than we were this time last year because we had won none of our games,” Hotard said. “We didn’t start winning until second semester last year. This year we have won games at both our tournaments. It’s just a very different team all together because of all the new people.”
The team was started by Kubicki in 2011. Since then, they have undergone many changes.
“It’s been an interesting ride,” Kubicki said. “Overall, the team is a lot more competitive and a lot more athletic than when we started. One of the things we ran into when we first started was it was a bunch of people trying to teach themselves how to play the game.”
“When we played other teams we were still learning. Now that we have a base of veterans who have played a little bit, we can help the new people learn a little easier,” Kubicki said.
“We started out small our first year and then our second year we exploded. We had a huge member base, but we didn’t have a lot of depth in our skill level, so a lot of the new people left because of that. This year we have a smaller base closer to the size of our original team, but a deeper skill set,” he added.
Carpenter is also one of the players who has been a member of the team since they went to their first tournament in 2012.
“Only three or four people from the original team are still part of it,” Carpenter said. “We have had ups and downs. Our lowest point was last year because we went to our first tournament with a full roster, but a lot of those people dropped out after seeing the full physicality of this sport.”
“We were lucky enough to only lose two really solid players to graduation last year, and the new recruits have been really solid this year,” he added.
Even with all the success the team has experienced, they notice people still don’t treat quidditch as a sport. But, the team really sees quidditch as a legitimate sport.
“It’s something you don’t fully understand until you’re out there playing it,” Hotard said. “I would say we are a team to look at on campus. We are entering our third year and last year we qualified for the World Cup, which is huge for us being such a new team.”
The team has really made the effort this year to emphasize the physicality of the game.
“We are definitely improving a lot, we got a lot coming up for us, so keep an eye on us,” Hotard said.
The team will play their next tournament in Nov. 24 in New Orleans, La. against teams from Loyola University, Tulane University and Louisiana State University.