Narwhals top ASU, UA to win Lumberjack Invitational
By Tatum Rochin
The NAU Narwhals trained long and hard up to last weekend, and on Oct. 13, they were able to demonstrate their skills and clench the first annual Lumberjack Invitational.
The Narwhals invited the ASU Sundevils and UA Wildcats to Flagstaff to take part in the tournament, with each team playing the other teams twice
Quidditch is a full-contact sport, and the matches this past weekend were not short of tackles. The players wore no padding, and with elements from rugby and dodgeball infused in the sport, physical detriments were bound to occur.
Aggressive play, especially by the NAU and ASU teams, led to a few injuries and many “brooms down” moments, where the players would drop their brooms and kneel on one knee, waiting for the injured player to get up and walk on their own. Because of the hard play, an ASU player took a blow to the knee and had to be carried off of the pitch. Luckily, all of the other players were able to stand up on their own after being hit.
Junior Bridget Petersen, who started the NAU Quidditch team two years ago, became interested in the sport after seeing some clips online.
“I saw some videos online, which is how I had originally got interested in it. It sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided our school should probably have a team,” Petersen said. “Our ultimate goal is to win the Quidditch World Cup, of course.”
Petersen also commented on the physical aspect of the game.
“I visited the IQA [International Quidditch Association] website and read the rule book. You definitely can tackle people in Quidditch,” Petersen said. “There are some restrictions on physical contact, but we can hit just as hard as football players, but the difference is we have no padding.”
In the literature world, a Snitch is a tiny golden ball that can fly around freakishly fast, while the two seekers try to grab it for an extra 150 points for their team. In the real world, the Snitch is a person dressed in yellow with a tennis ball attached to a sock that hangs from the waist. Once a seeker is able to grab the snitch, they earn an extra 30 points for their team.
Of their four matches of the day, the Wildcats were unable to gather any wins over the Sun Devils or Narwhals. However, their seeker was able to capture the Snitch in their first match against ASU.
The Snitch had been tricky, sitting in the audience and pulling a black sweatshirt over himself. When he was spotted, both seekers raced to get to get to him first. The ASU seeker was quicker, but after being hit by a dodgeball (bludger), he had to retreat back to the pitch, which gave the UA seeker enough time to grab the snitch and with it, an extra 30 points.
Although the catch was impressive and gave the Wildcats a confidence boost, they were already down by 140 points and were unable to best the Sun Devils.
At the end of match play, the Narwhals and the Sun Devils were tied at 1–1. This led to a play-off game, where the winner would take home the first ever Lumberjack Invitational trophy.
As usual, the match started with some rough tackles and impressive goals from both teams. After the players had been attacking and defending, the Snitch ran on the field and the two seekers followed. Porter Marsh, a freshman seeker for the Narwhals, was able to catch the Snitch first, and the 30 points gave NAU an 80–50 victory over the Sun Devils.
Even though the Narwhals had home field advantage, there were plenty of fans for the Sun Devils and Wildcats cheering from the crowd. The spectators brought almost as much energy as the players to the matches, rooting wildly in support of their team.
Head coach for the Narwhals, senior Eric Andres, added to the excitement of the games by encouraging and giving strategy to his players from the sideline. Andres has been with the team since it started in 2010.
“My goals for this year are [to] tackle harder and beat ASU,” Andres said.
Those two goals were certainly accomplished Saturday when the Narwhals demonstrated dominative play over the two other Arizona universities.
The Narwhals will continue to practice for their next competition at the Tempe Tussle at ASU on Nov. 10.