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Richmond in Quidditch World Cup

Published: November 10, 2011, 3:59 am ET
Markie MartinThe Collegian
Molly “Meeps” Mepyans, right, tries to secure the quaffle (volleyball) from Janelle Whitehurst by flying towards her opponent on her version of the Nimbus 2000.
Collegian Staff

If you see a guy sprinting across campus wearing tight gold gym shorts in the afternoon, don’t be alarmed, it’s quidditch.

Senior Jessie Kelley founded Richmond’s quidditch team in 2009 when she learned that other schools had started playing and competing in the magical game. The Richmond team was christened ‘Acromantula’ after a type of giant spider found in the Harry Potter series, senior Jeff Hunt said.

This weekend, the team will be going to Randall’s Island in New York City for the fifth annual Quidditch World Cup, Kelley said. Hunt said it would be the most exciting series of games this year.
“[It’s] a lot of fun, really physical and pretty violent,” Hunt said.

About 100 teams and 2,000 players participate in the tournament according to the International Quidditch Association, which regulates the sport based off the game in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter.”

Acromantula will compete against teams such as the Tufflepuffs from Tufts, the New York Badassilisks and America’s Finest quidditch Club, a team composed entirely of U.S. Marines, senior Steve Minnich said. According to the IQA World Cup bands, including Harry and the Potters will perform during the tournament and vendors will sell Butterbeer, turkey legs, Bertie Botts beans, real beer and many other desirable things.

During the regular season, Acromantula plays in the South Conference and the Virginia Quidditch League, which includes teams such as Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech and James Madison University. The games rules can be found in the IQA’s 172-page handbook.

“It’s pretty much as close as you can get to the book game, without being able to fly, and being able to dodge bludgers, and have a magical snitch,” Minnich said.

College quidditch requires three chasers on a team and a keeper who guards three goal hoops, Minnich said. Beaters pelt opposing players with volleyballs to defend the goal hoops. Once hit by a bludger(volleyball), the player must run back to touch his or her hoops before getting back to playing, Minnich said.

But forget a tiny golden golf-ball flying around the field, in muggle quidditch the snitch is a person dressed head to toe in yellow. This teammate is often the fastest runner on the team, or an ex-wrestler, Minnich said. The snitch must have endurance, and the footwork to dodge tackles and protect the tennis-ball-in-a-tube-sock that is tucked into their shorts, Minnich said. Hunt said the team had bonded over ups and downs throughout the year, which included the shining presence of Timothy Wiles, quidditch golden boy, and initially using chairs for goals when the team was first getting started. The team was granted official club sport status in 2011.

During homecoming celebrations, Acromantula nominated one of its members, Jasmine Garrett, for homecoming queen and created a golf car display that they topped with a giant golden snitch.
When asked if the team was looking for any new players Jeff Hunt said, “We can use all the new cats we can get!”

Acromantula practices at 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays on the intramural fields, Kelley said. So if you fancy wearing a cape, don’t take yourself too seriously and are up for some Potter-inspired play, it looks like Richmond has a sport for you.

Contact staff writer Caroline Croasdaile at caroline.croasdaile@richmond.edu

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