Quidditch club flies high

  Connor Kropp, Naseem Farahid, Peter Dvoracek, Harry Vang and Sara Jorgenson practice playing quidditch at RSOP on Thursday, Jan. 25. Photo by: Krista Mathes

Connor Kropp, Naseem Farahid, Peter Dvoracek, Harry Vang and Sara Jorgenson practice playing quidditch at RSOP on Thursday, Jan. 25. Photo by: Krista Mathes

The players kneel on opposite sides of the pitch, heads down, brooms lying on the right-hand side of their body. They seem ready to pounce.  

"Heads up, brooms up," the referee yells.

People from all around the world have dreamt about playing Quidditch in real life just like Harry Potter. If you are anything like them, you can make that dream a reality with UMD’s very own Quidditch Club.

Quidditch is more or less a combination of dodgeball, basketball and flying broomsticks. Six players, all in athletic apparel, make up each team: A “keeper,” who protects a vertical hoop (think vertical hula-hoop on a stick), three “chasers,” whose primary goal is to throw a volleyball through the other team’s hoop, and two “beaters,” who attempt to hit the opposing teams’ chasers with dodgeballs, temporarily knocking them out of the game. In place of actual brooms, each player holds a three-foot-long dowel rod between their legs, which increases the difficulty of the game because you can only ever use one hand to pass, catch and score.

“We kind of get a range of athletic people and then super nerdy people,” Gryffindor Team Captain Sara Jorgenson said. “There’s no other way to put it.”

The UMD Quidditch Club, or the “Iron Dragons,” (appropriately named because of the iron range) was founded in 2013 and has been growing ever since. This year the team has over 28 members — the largest the roster has ever been.  

“I want to see if we can…go into official tournaments and be a full on playable team; more than just a club,” Hufflepuff Captain Nathan Gasmen said.

UMD’s Quidditch Club is part of The United States Quidditch Association (USQ), the national governing body for all official organized Quidditch matches and tournaments. Think of it like the NCAA for Quidditch. It serves over 4,000 athletes from almost 200 different schools around the country.

In order to accomplish this goal, the team would ideally have a full roster of 21 active players, as well as a dedicated coach, and people qualified by the USQ to be official referees. It is a long process, but the club hopes to be a registered team by next fall. In preparation for this, the club captains have scheduled matches against the U of M Twin Cities team as well as the Twin Cities community team, TC Frost, to happen during the spring semester of 2018.

  Sara Jorgenson, Connor Kropp, Jacob Wolfe and Deryck Hak practice their skills at RSOP on Thursday, Jan. 25. Photo by: Krista Mathes

Sara Jorgenson, Connor Kropp, Jacob Wolfe and Deryck Hak practice their skills at RSOP on Thursday, Jan. 25. Photo by: Krista Mathes

Besides their weekly practices, playing Quidditch is not the only activity that the club participates in.  

“We’ve done dances, we’ve done volunteer hours,” Gasmen said.

“We also do some hanging out, playing games, socializing,” Jorgenson said.

The club hosts an annual dance, known as the Yule Ball, which was held on Jan. 27.

William Bartemes, the Slytherin Captain, summed up the dynamic between the members in the club as more than a team.

“We try to not just be a club when we play Quidditch, we also like to be a sort of family,” Baremes said.

Editors note: Connor Kropp is a member of the Quidditch team.

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