This past Saturday, 8 quidditch teams gathered on Featherbed Field for the inaugural Keystone Cup, a day-long quidditch tournament, one of many qualifiers for the 2015 US Quidditch (USQ) World Cup VIII.
A fictional sport created by author J.K. Rowling in the wildly popular Harry Potter series, quidditch is a co-ed contact sport that pits two teams of seven players against each other. Quidditch was started in 2005 at Middlebury College, and its popularity has been steadily growing since.
“I would say it’s a mix between rugby, basketball, and dodgeball,” Tournament Director Jack McGovern described the sport.
McGovern, 15, is the son of associate professor of political science Steve McGovern. McGovern, a sophomore at Haverford High School, is the author of The QuidKid, a quidditch blog that he created in 2011. McGovern has also worked as a writer for US Quidditch, the governing body for quidditch in the United States.
McGovern hosted the Keystone Cup with friend Liam Scott, 15, Assistant Tournament Director. McGovern met with Athletic Director Wendy Smith in early June to reserve Featherbed Field for the second weekend of fall break. From there, McGovern started recruiting teams to attend.
“The first team to commit was Bowling Green State, and they’re from Ohio, so once they came, that kind of really sparked a lot of other teams to show interest,” McGovern said. “Not only are they a really good team, nationally ranked, but they are from far away, and it’s not often that far away teams want to come.”
The final roster of teams included Ball State, Bowling Green State, North Carolina, New York University, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Villanova, and The Warriors, a community team from the New York City area. Michigan State University was scheduled to compete, but dropped out three weeks prior to the tournament, and was replaced by NYU.
“That was pretty easy to handle,” McGovern said of MSU scratch. “We had plans in place for that.”
The 8 teams moved through preliminary rounds, quarterfinals, and semifinals, until only NYU and Ball State remained. In the end, Ball State prevailed with a final score of 110 points to best NYU’s 80 points.
The Keystone Cup is the first tournament that McGovern and Scott have hosted. McGovern said that the success of the day was the most surprising part of the experience.
“It’s perfectly on schedule, we have amazing volunteers, they are just making things run seamlessly, it’s a full team effort,” McGovern said. “I’ve gotten a lot of people coming up to me and saying, ‘You know, this is one of the first quidditch tournaments I’ve been to that’s running perfectly on time.’”
“And it’s the only one being run by two high-schoolers,” Scott added.