Penn State to Host Intercollegiate Quidditch Tournament

Football may not play at home on Saturday, but you can root for another team in the shadow of Beaver Stadium: Penn State Quidditch.

Penn State’s Quidditch team will host its first tournament of the season – the Penn State Nittany Invitational – this Saturday, October 5, at noon at Stadium Field West. Teams from Pitt, RIT, Ball State, Lock Haven, NYU, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Maryland will compete.

If you’re not familiar with Quidditch, beater and team captain Scott Axel makes clear that the game is no longer the leisurely broom-and-ball sport that once graced the yards of Harry Potter fans, young and old. Now, it’s a legitimate club and international sport – governed by the International Quidditch Association – with coast-to-coast rivalries that bring the nation’s elite beaters, chasers, keepers, and seekers to the forefront of top collegiate pitches.

“Quidditch, to someone who has never seen it before, is a mixture of rugby, dodgeball, team handball, and ultimate frisbee,” Axel said. “It is a full contact, co-ed sport.”

He’s not exaggerating – former high school wrestling standouts are used “to temporarily knock out players from play,” while “aggressive cross country runners” chase after the snitch.

“Penn Staters should come check out our tournament this weekend to see what the sport of Quidditch actually is,” said Eliott Bryson, the president of Penn State Quidditch. “I feel like we’re written off by a majority of campus who have never actually seen a game.”

Now is as good of a time as any to check out what Quidditch is all about. With the growth of the sport, Penn State will face more widespread and experienced competition than in past years.

“The biggest threat we have in our region is the University of Maryland,” Axel explained. “There are new teams in the Northeast and Southwest that can steal the show this year. Boston and L.A. have great communities for players.”

In a manner similar to Penn State’s other athletic teams, Penn State Quidditch has stepped up its own recruiting, scouting, and skill development to better match up against the increased caliber of competition.

“We’ve managed to recruit and develop a talented crop of players over the past few years who will prove to be a tough test for the nation’s elite teams,” Bryson said. “Our practices are intense and strenuous.”

So, if you’re looking for a new sport to check out, swing by the Penn State Nittany Invitational this Saturday. All Muggles get in free.

To learn more about Penn State’s Quidditch team or the rules of the game as played by the International Quidditch Association, check out our profile of Club Quidditch here.

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Ben Berkman

State College, PA

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