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The Daily Tar Heel

UNC Quidditch teams heads to the World Cup

UNC Quidditch junior and co-captain Amit Katyayan plays in the Mid-Atlantic regionals tournament. Photo courtesy of Dani Palmer.
UNC Quidditch junior and co-captain Amit Katyayan plays in the Mid-Atlantic regionals tournament. Photo courtesy of Dani Palmer.

Even Dolores Umbridge couldn’t keep the UNC Quidditch team off the field this year.

And now the team is headed to the World Cup.

Hot off the heels of winning the Minerva Cup, the UNC Quidditch team fought its way through the Mid-Atlantic regionals to qualify for the World Cup.

The team managed to clinch one of 10 spots after placing sixth in the mid-Atlantic regional tournament that was held on Saturday and Sunday in Leesburg, Va.

With this being the team’s first official year in the International Quidditch Association, it has started strong by placing in the World Cup, which will be held April 5 and 6, 2014, in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Dylan Meyer, a junior and current president of the club, expressed pride in advancing through what he considered to be the most difficult region.

“(I am) incredibly excited, especially because mid-Atlantic championship, I think … that we had by far the hardest pool to go through,” Meyer said. “We pulled through that pool and got ourselves in a position to make it through our brackets into the World Cup.”

Clay Ballard, a junior and vice president of the team, emphasized how quickly the team has achieved success.

“I am super excited — this is a great year for UNC Quidditch. We have surprised so many other teams because we’ve just really came out of nowhere,” Ballard said. “But we knew this year that we were going to be really good competitors.”

With an international reach, the tournament will see teams coming from the United States, Canada, France and Greece.

In conjunction with its growing popularity worldwide, the sport has attracted increased attention at UNC. Ballard said that the team has seen a lot of interest among freshmen this year.

“This year we had a really, really big pool of freshmen that were great and played really well, ” Ballard said.

In addition to being large in number, Max Miceli, a junior and captain of the team who is also a staff writer on The Daily Tar Heel’s sports desk, said that the freshman class has been very dedicated and has contributed to the increasing success of the team.

“A lot of the freshmen on our team are more dedicated than most of the returning players,” Miceli said. “Our freshman class is huge. If you look at the players that went up with us this last weekend, I would say probably like 70 percent of them were freshmen.”

Although they were denied classification as an officially recognized club sport last year, the Quidditch team hopes to change their status this year.

Club qualification involves an approval process in which a board decides whether or not a team activity can become a certified club sport.

“We ran into some difficulties last year,” said junior and former team captain Alex Drose. “But it’s a whole new board this year so we are excited.”

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