This story was originally published in the April 06 issue of Fourth Estate.
Tatyana White-Jenkins, staff writer
Mason’s Quidditch team has qualified for the chance to become crowned World Champions in their first official year as a team.
The Quidditch team will be attending the U.S. Quidditch World Cup 8 in Rock Hill, S.C. The event taking place on April 11, will be featuring 80 of the best Quidditch teams in the world,.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the players,” said Robby May, coach of Mason’s Quidditch team. “Their hard work has paid off.”
In order to make it to World Cup, the team had to compete in the mid-Atlantic regionals and place in the top 10 out of 20 teams. It was a difficult feat, but Mason was able to beat U.Va., securing the seventh bid to World Cup.
“Going into Regionals, we really wanted to get a bid,” said senior Jonathan Milan. “We had confidence we could get our bid, but we had some tough teams in front of us that we would need to execute well against to get our spot. We did so and our win that secured our bid is one of my happiest memories.”
Although Mason’s bid was not a complete surprise, the team defied expectations. May attributes the team’s success to their ability to work as a team in working toward success.
“Everyone thought if GMU was to secure a bid to World Cup, they would do so by earning one of the last two bids (bids 9 or 10 out of 10),” May said. “I think having a team mentality, selflessness and strong work ethic is what has led to their success so far. No one wants to be the super star on the team. Everyone understands that in order to win, especially against experienced teams like U.Va., we have to work together.”
After proving themselves during regionals, the team is looking forward to being able to further defy expectations and prove themselves at World Cup.
“I want to show that we are a force to be reckoned with,” said sophomore Laurel Mahoney, the newly elected Qudditch president. “We have had some bad tournaments but overall I feel that we are a really good team. I view this as a chance for us to really show off what we can do, especially because nobody expected us to get to World Cup. No one expected us to do that well but here we are.”
An important trait the team thrives off of is their vast amount of teamwork. The team believes they have created a community that they can depend on.
“We are really good at communicating and we are very much a family,” Mahoney said. “I have a lot of faith in my teammates.”
Beyond creating a communal culture to prepare for the World Cup, the team has continued to better strengthen their in-game skills and abilities.
“To prepare for World Cup, the team will continue working on teamwork, strategy and fundamentals,” May said. “Perfecting the little things, like working together and minimizing unforced turnovers, will be important. We’ll also be introducing a couple different defenses and working to improve our scoring opportunities on offense.”
Members of the team have also found ways to personally prepare for World Cup.
“We are going to have to play a lot of games in one day so we have been preparing for that,” Mahoney said. “I personally have been going to the gym as much as I can and I’ve been trying to eat healthier and prepare physically and mentally. I’ve been trying not to focus on the negative and just focus on doing my best.”
Other members have also incorporated extra workout sessions, along with longer practices.
“We’re practicing three days a week, rain or shine, working to get better. People make schedules with other members to work out to get stronger. We have six hour practices when we feel a need to focus on something,” senior Jonathan Milan said.
Competing in the World Cup will serve as a way for the members to gain more experience and develop as team.
“World Cup will be more about going in with no expectations, working hard to see what we can do against teams outside the mid-Atlantic region, and gaining the experience to keep growing and improving for the years to come,” May said. “I’m most looking forward to exposing the team to the top Quidditch programs in the nation. Watching the sport in person is much more exciting and impressive than film, especially at the biggest tournament of the year with some of the best teams in the world.”
Photos provided by Nicole Harrig and Arielle Flax.