Antwerp QC, Much of Belgian Core, Leaves Competitive Quidditch

By Tyler Walker, Managing Editor
Sean Pagoada, Correspondent

A Tale of One City

To date, the South Regional Championship title has never left the state of Florida–more specifically, it has never left the city of Miami. Thanks to the college and community split, there are now two chances for that to happen. However, while there is a possibility the community title could move to Gainesville, the college title is unlikely to depart from South Beach.

Since the split, no single state has claimed both its region’s titles, but that could change this weekend. In the community division, the title will likely come down to a matchup between Florida’s Finest and Gainesville Siege. This season, Siege has won the only official match between the two 160^*-130. It shouldn’t be ignored, however, that Finest has taken an unofficial game.

Outside of their head-to-head results, both teams have had very different paths to the regional championship. Finest has only played one out-of-region team in its seven games this season.

Meanwhile, Siege’s schedule has included seven games against out-of-region opponents. Siege’s experience with regional diversity could be the difference this season as they become the newest contender trying to wrestle the region from the city of Miami.

In the college arena, University of Miami seems unlikely to lose their title. Miami has only played one in-range game against college competition–though it’s worth noting this game ended in a loss to Florida State University. Miami’s lack of in-range games could very well be their Achilles Heel as it leaves their snitch-on-pitch game ultimately untested, and it is unlikely they win all nine games out-of-range. Florida State, on the other hand, is 3-2 for in-range matches.

Credit: UCLA Quidditch

Consolation Prize or Consolation Cup
It’s unlikely Southern Storm and Terminus Quidditch Atlanta will contend for their region’s only community bid. They will, however, be competing to keep their standings high in hopes for an at-large bid. Both teams are in good positions to receive one of the 11 at-large community bids offered to teams who failed to qualify during regionals; discounting the teams who are likely to qualify during spring regionals. The standings show Storm at fourth in line to receive an at-large bid, while Terminus trails at 10th.

These standings put a lot of stress on the three-game series between the two teams at the South Regional Championship. The winner puts themselves in a good position to make US Quidditch Cup 11, while the loser could add up to eight or nine losses to their record and drop in the standings. Both teams have the ability to pull a game from either Florida’s Finest or Gainesville Siege, but the most likely scenario sees their only victories against each other. Depending on the results of the series, the loser might have to plan a trip to San Marcos instead of Round Rock.

Rise of New Colleges
The University of Central Florida, Florida State and University of South Carolina programs have existed since the 2012-13 season, but have dropped to unofficial status and back again over the years. It is rare to see programs emerge from obscurity and unofficial status and be able to compete for a bid–or a regional championship in Florida State’s case–but that looks very likely this year.

All three teams are poised to receive a bid to Round Rock, and each could secure their spot this weekend. Florida State comes in with the best resume of the three; their 12-5 record makes them seem a lock. Although their only notable win was over Miami, they have also played a handful of close games against other college teams. However, they have the least amount of recent experience out of the three main contenders, so they are by no means a certainty.

The team with the most experience, on the other hand, is South Carolina. While the program was reborn this year, a good deal of their players found success last season with the 2017 regional runner-up Carolina Heat. Gamecock’s record this season shows they would be outclassed in a community division but have a 3-0 record against fellow college teams; and that’s the only record that will matter at regionals.

Finally, the Nearly Headless Knights come in with the biggest turn around, and the change in momentum came less than a month ago. Before the O-Town Throwdown, Central Florida only won three of their last 20 games dating back to the start of last season. However, at last weekend’s tournament, they only lost one out of five games. Boasting in-range victories against Florida, South Florida and Florida State and an out-of-range win against Florida Gulf Coast University, there only loss was against Miami.

The interplay of these three collegiate contenders will definitely be something to watch.

Credit: Gabriel Antonio Moreta

Player to Watch (in no particular order)

1. Quinton Meadors – #9 – Charleston
2. Annika Socha – #17 – Miami
3. Tony Zhu – #23 – Miami
4. Jared Woodard – #97 – South Carolina
5. Elijah Greenawalt – #91 – South Carolina
6. Cailé Criscione – #10 – Miami
7. Erin Smekrud – #51 – South Carolina
8. Sammi Paragano – #3 – South Carolina
9. Jess Daly – #11 – Miami

1. Jacob Baldwin – #14 – Miami
2. Antoine Danzy – #4 – Central Florida
3. Andrew Ibarra – #25 – Florida State
4. Jean-Claude Demont – #0 – Florida
5. Daniel Lange – #12 – Charleston

1. Shaun Gabrielli – #11 – Florida State
2. Ellen Hinshaw – #7 – Miami
3. River Galicia – #33 – Charleston
4. Kayla Wilson – #15 – Florida
5. Alex-Davila Wolheim – #10 – Central Florida

1. Clay Curtis – #47 – Central Florida
2. Tony Bonadio – South Carolina
3. Hao Wang – #18 – Florida

Honorable mentions
1. Tony Bonadio – #11 – South Carolina
2. Johnathan Lee – #15 – University of Tennessee

Credit: Will Duggan

Collegiate Bid Predictions: Sean Pagoada
University of Miami
Florida State University
University of Central Florida
University of Florida

Community Standings: Tyler Walker
Florida’s Finest: 7-2
Gainesville Siege: 6-3
Southern Storm: 4-5
Terminus Quidditch: 1-8

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