The Eighth Man

Countdown to Kissimmee: University of Kansas

Kansas Quidditch started the season facing injuries but is looking to find their spark and impress at World Cup VI. Credit: Kansas Quidditch

Kansas Quidditch started the season facing injuries but is looking to find their spark and impress at World Cup VI. Credit: Kansas Quidditch

The Jayhawks faced a lot of hope and promise as the defending regional champions. However, their year has been plagued with a lot of disappointment compared to the lofty expectations set for them. Despite a weakened dominance in the region, they qualified out of the Midwest regionals. Kansas is a dangerous team offensively, though they seem to be missing their spark from the previous season. They face gaps that need to be  filled from graduation and just sheer bland play at the start of this season. Although they had a few tournament wins early in the season, those tournaments were not competitively up to par with many other tournaments last semester. Kansas is a wildcard for this upcoming World Cup.

 

Best Win: None

 

Worst Loses: vs Purdue University x2 (80-50, Nov. 11; 40-30, Nov. 10)

 

Players to watch: captain Hai Nguyen (chaser), Ronell Sharp (chaser), and Connor Drake (keeper)

 

Kansas is often a question mark in terms of players and team dynamic. In two different tournaments so far this season they’ve seemed to be different teams in multiple different games. They faced many injuries going into regionals, and the overall team dynamic has changed significantly from the previous year. The female players on the team are not as strong as they have been in previous years, and several of the veterans from first semester have graduated.

 

Strengths: Their strengths lie in the speed and depth of the male chasers. Kansas has a very strong response when faced with a good chaser core: in games against more offensively minded teams, they utilize their depth and strategize to cover and shift with the beaters to take out what is necessary to keep the other team guessing and trying to adjust.

 

Weaknesses: The weaknesses of Kansas are ambiguous, depending on their lineup for the World Cup. The main and most glaring problem is with the seeker position.  At Midwest Regionals and other earlier tournaments, their seeker was simply not catching snitches. Last year, key snitch grabs helped them to win games and  catapult them to the top, while it has hindered them this year, and they have lost quite a few games on a grab.

 

Overall, Kansas is a very unpredictable team with great speed and experience in the male players, but they are not unstoppable. They will face a greater challenge for this World Cup, but veteran player Doug Whiston seems confident that Kansas will be healthy and prepared for the tournament, including recruiting for some key positions on the team.  Expect to see a different team at World Cup than from the Midwest Regionals, and Kansas should make the splash at World Cup that was expected from them at regionals.
Prediction: Kansas should make the sweet 16, but will likely fail to make it past that stage.

 

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