Quidditch scores well with fans

ROANOKE COUNTY – Virginia Tech’s quidditch team may not have scored well enough to place in the first Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship Tournament, but Roanoke County scored some high marks as the host of the tournament.

Virginia Tech’s team was eliminated in the first round of play against second-place finisher Maryland.

VT Goal Virginia Tech’s Leo Priddy with the score against Franklin & Marshall Colleges. Carter VanHuss is behind and Kitty Schaffernoth is with the green dodgeball. Photo by Mike Stater

Based on the fictional sport played on broomsticks in the popular Harry Potter book series, quidditch maybe one of the fastest-growing club sports on college campuses nationwide. The game features a seven member co-ed team competition with elements of rugby, dodge ball and hide-and-seek.

About 350 players representing 19 teams from eight states visited Roanoke County’s Green Hill Park to play in the regional tournament.

The tournament ended with Villanova University taking first, followed by the University of Maryland in second. Villanova defeated Maryland in the finals 60-50, coming from behind with a snitch catch to win. For the eight spots reserved for the Mid-Atlantic region at this year’s World Cup in Kissimmee, Fla., in April, the following teams received bids: Villanova, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Richmond, and QC Carolinas.
“The tournament went really well,” said Logan Anbinder, the Mid-Atlantic regional director for the International Quidditch Association.

“As such a new sport, most of our tournaments are hosted on college campuses, where the school administrations are not necessarily able to dedicate as many resources as we’d like to the events. It was fantastic to be able to host the tournament at a neutral site, and specifically to be able to do so with all the support and enthusiasm of the Roanoke Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, and Roanoke County Parks, Recreation, and Tourism.

“The facilities and amenities that the county provided has, I think, really help set the standard for future regional championships. The location for next year’s regional will be voted on by our official member teams in the spring, and after all the success we had this past weekend, I know teams would love to see Roanoke on the ballot again.”
Anbinder added that quidditch is sort of a quirky sport, but it’s still first and foremost a sport – an athletic competition – and it was wonderful to see Roanoke County support that.

“The atmosphere added by the Tri-Wizard Tournament on Sunday really helped bring together lots of different groups throughout the community in a way that doesn’t always happen at quidditch events, and it’s definitely something that we’d love to replicate in the future.”

Kitty Schaffernoth, a third-year architecture student, is one of Virginia Tech’s team captains. She has been playing for about two years.

“I was disappointed that we were knocked out in the first round, but overall I was really impressed with the interest shown at the regionals,” she said. “We really take this sport seriously and we think the sport will grow because of events like this.”

Landon Howard, president of the Roanoke Valley CVB said, “Our job is to solicit sports groups matching the venues offered in the region. Roanoke County worked collaboratively with the bureau to provide a proposal fitting the needs of IQA. We were ecstatic to learn the Roanoke Valley was chosen over Winston-Salem, N.C., College Park, Md., and Salisbury, Md.”

For more information about the sport, visit www.internationalquidditch.org.

– By Mike Stater, contributing writer