The U.S. National Quidditch Team, consisting of six former Longhorns, are leaving the International Quidditch Association World Cup in Florence, Italy, with gold medals draped around their necks.
A perfect 8-0 run, capped off by a 120-70 victory over Belgium clinched the third World Cup title for the Americans and Longhorns.
“I know a lot of the team had been training hard for two years for that moment,” former Longhorn Martin Bermudez said. “Belgium was incredible all weekend so I was just glad we were able to come together and win.”
Texas put a U.S. National Team-high six players on the squad: chasers Kaci Erwin, Nick Marino, Martin Bermudez and current Texas coach Simon Arends, beater Hallie Pace and keeper Augustine Monroe. The national team also featured another former Longhorn in assistant coach Aryan Ghoddossy.
“A lot of us have been playing quidditch together for about 3–6 years and we’re all really close friends,” Bermudez said. “The sport means a lot to us so to share this experience is amazing.”
The team entered bracket play as the No. 3-seed and finished 4-0 after day one, including a 90-60 victory over defending champion Australia despite falling behind by 40 points. The USNT later took down the defending champs one more time in the quarter finals, this time cruising to a 100-30 win.
“I think it was crucial to have played Australia on day one,” Bermudez said. “Despite the result, we could get the redemption narrative out of the way and just focus on the tournament as a whole. Australia hit us in the mouth and we were able to make proper adjustments because of it.”
Quidditch, which spurs from Harry Potter films and novels, was created in the United States in 2005. The sport continues to gain traction with over 400 local teams around the world, according to U.S. Quidditch.
Seven players — three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and one seeker — are all mounted on brooms as they attempt to throw the quaffle (volleyball) through one of the three hoops on the opposite side of the field resulting in 10 points each. Two beaters also use bludgers (dodgeballs)to knock out their opponents.
The seeker tries to catch the snitch, a ball attached to the waist of the snitch runner. Once the seeker captures the snitch, the team is given 30 points and the game is over.
Although coming home with gold is the ultimate goal, Bermudez said the sport’s continual growth allows the team to return with something else as well.
“I think we hope to bring back more exposure to the sport as a whole,” Bermudez said. “Coming into the tournament, I wasn’t sure what to expect but after this experience I’ve realized how much quidditch has evolved around the world and how good that is for the sport.”
This World Cup victory marks the U.S. National Team’s third gold medal after placing first at the 2012 Summer Games and the 2014 Global Games.