Club quidditch team hosts first home tournament
The club hopes to be ready for nationals
GVL/Kevin Sielaff - Students gather to speak with the Quidditch Club in the upstairs dining area of the Kirkhof Center for Campus Life Night 2.0 which takes place on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017.
For the better part of a decade, lacrosse has been known as the fastest growing sport in the nation. At Grand Valley State University, there is another sport that is gaining popularity that also uses a stick, but this sport comes from the wizarding world of arguably the most popular book franchise in history.
The GVSU Quidditch club brings the fantastical sport of quidditch from the Harry Potter book series to the turf of the Kelly Family Sports Center. The club hosted its first event of the season in Allendale Saturday, Jan. 21. The Lakers hosted an event earlier this season in Sparta, Michigan.
“It was really well run,” said club president Katlyn Feley. “A lot of people came up and asked if we would host again. Other teams seemed to really like it, and our team seemed to enjoy having a home tournament.”
The Lakers hosted a five team tournament that included visiting schools Michigan State and Bowling Green State. The Lakers placed fourth ahead of the Spartans, and Bowling Green State earned the top spot.
“It ran really smoothly,” said GVSU coach Brooke Portwood. “Our team performed pretty well to the standard that I expected us to.”
This season, the Lakers are ranked tenth in the region, two spots outside of the top eight that are invited to the national tournament.
“We just missed qualifying for nationals by one game,” Portwood said. “We’re right on the cusp of becoming good.”
Typically 80 teams participate in the national tournament, and only the top 8 from each region are invited. The Lakers are ranked 78th in the nation but will be left out of the tournament.
The club qualified for nationals in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The team did not travel to nationals in 2014 because of player conflicts, but in 2013 the team made some noise in the tournament.
“The first year we went, we actually surprised a lot of teams,” Portwood said. “They didn’t have very high expectations for us, and we came and actually made it to the second day of the tournament.”
It has been two years since the Lakers attended nationals, but another trip could be in the near future.
“I would love to see this team go to nationals again,” Portwood said. “We’ve been there before and it would be great to get there again. We we’re so close (this year).”
The club has been quickly rising in numbers in the past couple of years. The team currently has 24 players on the roster, which is plenty for a sport that only requires seven players on the field at one time. With players having other obligations, the club relies on having reserves readily available.
“It seems that every year we recruit a good number of people,” Portwood said. “We usually maintain a solid practicing group of 21 people.”
Although the team is not participating in the national tournament, the Lakers will be traveling to San Marcos, Texas for the Consolation Cup II March 25 and 26.