Quidditch championship coming to Rock Hill
Saturday, Feb. 01, 2014

Quidditch championship coming to Rock Hill

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/28/15/05/FI3mn.Em.138.jpeg|209
    An International Quidditch Association match between UCLA and the University of Texas.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/28/15/05/XpmTF.Em.138.jpeg|145
    The Winthrop Quidditch team warms up before a local match. The team will compete in the 2014 International Quidditch U.S. Southern Regional Championship in Rock Hill on Feb. 15-16.
  • Learn more:

    For information on the 2014 International Quidditch Southern U.S. Regional Championship, visit www.iqaquidditch.com.

Brooms up!

The Rock Hill/York County Convention and Visitors Bureau, in partnership with the Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, will host the 2014 International Quidditch Southern U.S. Regional Championship.

The free event will be played at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Feb. 15-16.

Fans of author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and movies will be familiar with Quidditch: Fictional players from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry ride brooms chasing a variety of balls that would hover in the air.

The real-life adaptation of the game now is an organized sport, complete with tournaments, regional championships and a World Cup. The International Quidditch Association reports that Quidditch is played at more than 300 universities and high schools throughout North America, Australia and Europe.

According to the IQA, Quidditch was founded in 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont by then-freshman Xander Manshel. The game has since evolved into today’s game, with a mix of elements from rugby, dodgeball and tag.

Two teams of seven people play in this full-contact, co-ed, broom-riding competition. The goal is to throw one of four balls through elevated gold rings on the pitch, or field.

Competitors must play with a broom between their legs at all times. Player positions follow closely the fictional game, with “chasers,” “beaters,” “keepers” and “seekers.” The balls are known as the “quaffle,” “bludgers” and the “snitch.”

“The IQA is thrilled to be bringing our Southern U.S. Regional Championship to Rock Hill in February,” said Alex Benepe, International Quidditch Association CEO. “Between that event and our World Cup in North Myrtle Beach in April, it’s clear that South Carolina is becoming a major destination for sports, and we’re proud that Quidditch can be a part of it.”

Rock Hill will host as many as 20 universities in the competition, including Florida State University, University of Miami and Rock Hill’s Winthrop University.

Spectators can get in the spirit of the game by donning their favorite Harry Potter character outfit for the costume contest, to be held 2-4 p.m. Feb. 15. Registration is free onsite and open to all ages. Winners in the under-12 and 13-and-older brackets each will receive two tickets to Carowinds.

“The contest will allow youth and adults to bring Harry Potter to life and live out some of their fantasies while enjoying a championship-level Quidditch event,” said Auvis Cole, sports sales manager for the Rock Hill/York County CVB. “There will also be a ‘kidditch’ field for kids to come out and play themselves, with the help of IQA volunteers, who will teach the game all weekend.”

Karin Janick is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Karin? Email her at thejanicks@yahoo.com.

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