The Eighth Man

The Keir Rudolph Show: New Seeker Leads Kansas to Spring Breakout Title

Keir Rudolph's dominant display, going four-for-four on grabs, all within two minutes, helped Kansas to a tournament title. Credit: Kansas Quidditch

Keir Rudolph’s dominant display, going four-for-four on grabs, all within two minutes, helped Kansas to a tournament title. Credit: Kansas Quidditch

After ousting the University of Minnesota in the finals, 90*-40, Kansas were the victors in a tournament full of mud, a little sunshine, and some more mud at the Spring Breakout Tournament, hosted by the University of Missouri.  Playing conditions were, to put it gently, bad. Fields were mostly made up of thick mud, and players risked losing their cleats with every step they took. It was nearly impossible to gain any traction, and by the end of the day, the fields would have been a dream come true for any professional mud-wrestler. Kansas though, was able to carry out their game plans, and with the help of newfound seeker Keir Rudolph, clinched the title.

It was tough to gather any kind of real information from a tournament marred with so much mud, but there were no real surprises regardless.

In pool A, Team Ohio: Quidditch Police, a mercenary team made up of various Ohio players, surprised many. They won against a tough Missouri team, 60*-10, and were beating Kansas in quaffle points when the snitch was caught off pitch, giving Kansas the narrow victory, 50*-30. Regardless, this showing from Team Ohio proved they were contenders in this tournament. Kansas was able to take care of business in the rest of the pool, and went into bracket play undefeated and with the No. 2 overall seed.

In pool B, Minnesota took care of business and clinched the overall No. 1 seed for bracket play with huge point differentials in all games. Minnesota’s closest game was against Illinois State, whom they beat by 60. ISU went on to place second in the pool, as Northern Illinois University and Merc Team 2.0 failed to impress.

In pool C, the Crimson Warhawks were able to clinch, but by not-so-convincing margins. They were held to a very close match by Iowa State, winning 90*-50, and did not score as much as expected in other matches, giving them the lowest seed of the unbeaten.

In bracket play, the most intriguing matchups before the semi-finals were a convincing Team Ohio victory over the Warhawks in the quarterfinals, 80*-10, and a narrow, heartbreaking loss for Northern Illinois, who caught the snitch off pitch only to fall to Mizzou, 40-30*. In the semifinals, Team Ohio faced off against Kansas, while Minnesota played ISU, leaving a final four of all three World Cup qualified sides, as well as a very stout Team Ohio squad which featured several starters from Ohio State, No. 16 Bowling Green,  and Miami (OH), and two more starters, one from each Toledo and No. 14 Michigan State.

Minnesota again dispatched of ISU in the semifinals to clinch their spot in the finals, and Kansas, in a very tough game, eventually clinched their spot in the finals behind the long arms of Rudolph, 90*-70. The finals, a rematch of last year’s World Cup Sweet 16, fell to Kansas, again with a snitch grab from Rudolph.

Rudolph, a freshman, was not only the tournament’s breakout player, but also its MVP. Only a freshman, Rudolph has limited experience with quidditch, and this was his first ever tournament as a seeker after trying out keeper at Midwest regionals. Rudolph is not only tall and lanky, but also fast, agile, and strong, and can power through even the toughest of snitches. At this tournament, Rudolph was asked to seek four times, and caught four snitches. No snitch lasted more than two minutes on pitch with him, as his incredible reach and immense strength proved impossible to fight off. Rudolph is certainly a player to watch out for at World Cup, and with the addition of an elite seeker, Kansas may have turned themselves into legitimate contenders.

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