Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego UR Women’s Rugby?

By Alayna Callanan ’14
University Communications

2,720 Miles. 15 Weeks. That was the goal for The Sledgehammers, UR Women’s Rugby team. Its 33 members are all about fitness and outside of their four-hour weekly skills training sessions; teammates are encouraged to use their own time to stay active. Enter “Where in the World is UR Women’s Rugby?” The goal is to try to run across the country-from the Goergen Athletic Center to San Francisco-in the course of the semester. As of December 4, the team has surpassed the halfway mark, logging 1,629 miles to Wyoming.

In addition to their fitness program, The Sledgehammers’ performance on the field has been outstanding this year; they even earned a shot at Nationals! The Hammers won the NYS National Small College Rugby Organization (NSCRO) Championship, crushing Plattsburgh with a satisfying shutout of 34-0. The win was vindication for the Hammers, who lost the NSCRO title to Plattsburgh last year.

The Sledgehammers went on to the NSCRO New England Regional Championship, but fell to Rogers Williams. Nonetheless, the team had a strong season with multiple shutout wins and mudslides during practice. The Sledgehammers look forward to their tournament and fundraiser ‘Ruck Rochester’ in the spring!

Photos Courtesy of The Sledgehammers.




Just Try and Cross Them!

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

This year, for the first time since the group’s founding in 1999, the University of Rochester Mock Trial club sent two teams to the prestigious Open Round Championships (ORCs). This came about because one of their teams placed in the top seven, taking second at Regionals for an automatic bid, and the other took 8th, narrowly missing an automatic bid, but still securing an open bid to the ORCs.

The president of the club, Hannah Sherry ’13, says that usually only the best mock trial programs and the largest universities send two teams to ORCs, so she is very excited to have earned that honor this year. The teams competed in ORC’s in Greenville, S.C. and in Hamilton, Ohio.

The club typically begins the year with about 35 members, which is carefully winnowed down to around 25. Of these 25, 17 are currently competing. One of these members is Wil Dietz ’16, a newcomer to the college mock trial scene, who won the outstanding witness distinction at a competition a few weeks ago.

This year’s case is one regarding the recklessness of a made-up scuba diving company. Other year’s cases have included murder and drunk driving. However, our mock trial team must spend half their time preparing a case proving how reckless the scuba company was, leading to a fictitious woman’s death, and the other half defending the scuba company. The team only works on one case each year, and tries it at all competitions they attend.

With the occasional help of lawyers from the greater Rochester area, the club practices cross-examinations, directs, and opening and closing statements. The Mock Trial team will quickly become a force for justice in the courtrooms of tomorrow.

A Cappella Accolades

By Caitlin Mack ’12 (T5)
Univ. Communications

The University of Rochester’s co-ed a cappella group After Hours emerged victorious at the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella Mid-Atlantic Quarterfinals at Penn State on Saturday, February 9th, beating 10 other highly competitive groups and placing first in the competition.

The ICCA competition, of which popular comedy “Pitch Perfect” is based, is the only international tournament that showcases the art of collegiate a cappella.  Each year, the tournament takes place from January through April in six regions: West, Midwest, South, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast America, and Europe. Each region holds several quarterfinal events and the top two college groups advance to semifinals. A final event is held in New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where groups compete for cash prizes and the coveted title of Grand Champion.

After Hours’ set of three songs featured the smooth solo vocals of Rei Ramos ’15 on “Too Close” by Alex Clare, which stunned the audience and the judges with its dub-step drop in the last chorus. And, according to The A Cappella Blog, “Too Close” showcased the “monster vocal percussion” skills of Ethan Lobenstine ’12 (T5). The set also included a choral take on Regina Spektor’s “Samson” featuring soloist Michaela Reichert ’16 and David Guetta’s “Titanium” featuring powerhouse soloist Rohini Rege ’14.

Video: After Hours Performs at ICCAs

In addition to winning the competition, musical director Ben McCormack ’13 and Lobenstine were given a special award for “Best Arrangement” for all three songs in the set.  After Hours, along with the 2nd place group, the Penn State Statesmen, will perform at the Mid-Atlantic semi-finals at Rutgers University in New Jersey on March 30.

United-We-SingIn other University a cappella news, Rochester all-male group, The Yellowjackets, were recently named a “Top 10 Must-Hear College A Cappella Group” by schools.com.  The website praised the Jackets new album “United We Sing” and their after-school program (also called “United We Sing”) designed to cultivate a passion for a cappella in local schools.

Audio: Hear “Wavin’ Flag” from “United We Sing”

 The group also was recently nominated for a 2013 Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award (CARA) for their song “I Smile” off of “United We Sing” in the Best Religious Song category. The winners will be announced on April 5 at a live awards ceremony at BOSS, Boston Sings, and then posted to casa.org.

Hoops Victory Crowns Coach as “Winningest”

By University Athletics

The University of Rochester grabbed 28 offensive rebounds and turned those into 32 second chance points to post an 80-53 victory over RIT in the quarterfinal round of the Wendy’s Classic at William Smith College.

UR (3-1) won its 22nd consecutive game in the Classic and its 13th straight opening round game. The Yellowjackets will play in the semifinals at the Palestra on Thursday night against SUNY Brockport, which defeated St. John Fisher, 72-62. The first semifinal game at 6 pm pairs SUNY Geneseo (a 75-50 winner over Nazareth) against William Smith, which held off Roberts Wesleyan, 79-74.

Rochester head coach Jim Scheible earned two milestone victories with UR’s effort. The win was his 259th at UR, putting him into the career lead, one ahead of Joyce Wong who coached from 1978-1999. This is Scheible’s 14th season at UR. It was also his 400th career victory. This is his 22nd season as a head women’s basketball coach. He coached previously at Clarkson University and at Elmira College before coming to UR for the 1999-2000 season.

Forwards Danielle McNabb (eight), Loren Wagner (seven), and Emily Trapani (six) combined for 21 of the 28 offensive boards. Wagner scored 11 points, McNabb had 10 – seven in the second half when the Yellowjackets pulled away – and Trapani scored a career high 13, all in the first 20 minutes.

Ally Zywicki led UR in scoring with 17 points which equaled her career high.

Leslie Havens and Courtney Tennant paced RIT (0-1) with 11 points apiece. Kayla Wheeler had eight points. The Tigers will play in the Thursday consolation doubleheader at Geneseo against the loser of the Brockport-Fisher game.

Rochester finished with an overall 49-18 advantage on the glass, 21-6 at the RIT end of the floor and 28-12 under its own basket.

Trapani scored seven points in a 14-3 run that turned an 8-5 deficit into a 19-11 lead midway through the first half. The Tigers got within one point twice, the last time on a basket by Wheeler with 3:20 left (27-26). Rochester went on a 10-4 spree to finish the half. Zywicki drained a three from the top of the key, then added two free throws. Katie Weiner made one free throw and Breanna Madrazo sank both ends of a one-and-one. Wagner finished the first half scoring for Rochester with a layup. It was 37-30 at the break.

RIT got as close as three, 41-38, just over two minutes into the second half. The Yellowjackets held the Tigers without a field goal for the next six minutes and used a 17-2 run to take command for good. Zywicki scored seven of the 17. Woods dropped in a pair of layups. Wagner made one layup and McNabb scored three points – one field goal, then one of two from the line. That gave Rochester a 58-40 lead.

Story and photo courtesy of University Athletics.

Rochester Midshipmen Awarded at Regional Competition

NROTC Rochester – On Saturday, March 31st, the Rochester Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, composed of students from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and SUNY-Brockport, competed in the annual Villanova University Invitational Drill Meet and Military Excellence Competition. This year’s competitors consisted of old rivals such as the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and numerous northeastern Naval ROTC and Air Force ROTC units.

In the drill competition, the freshman class earned a 3rd place finish in Platoon Inspection under the command of RIT sophomore Conor Kelley. The Midshipmen did even better in the military excellence portion of the competition, earning a 1st or 2nd place finish in almost every event and a 2nd place finish overall. Among the more celebrated victories were the grueling Recon Challenge, the Distance Medley Relay, and the 4×400 Relay.

In the Recon Challenge, the toughest physical event Villanova has to offer, RIT sophomore Ryan Baptiste and RIT junior Abe McAndrew fought their way to a well-earned 2nd place finish. The challenge is conducted as a two-man team in camouflage utility uniforms, and consists of an alternating rope climb, a 5¼-mile run with various weighted packs, a stretcher carry, a combat-carry, and a 1000m fin swim. In the Distance Medley Relay, RIT freshman Daniel Palmiter, UR sophomores Anthony Paschke and David Delong, and UR junior Edmond Boulliane took the top spot.  The 4×400 team took 1st place as well.  This event included UR sophomore Anthony Paschke, UR juniors Ben Desch, Jake Godbolt, and Andrew Smith, and the captain, RIT junior Kunle Akinpelu.

Article written by MIDN 3/C Andrew Myers, a sophomore at Rochester Institute of Technology. Photo courtesy of Ross Spinelli, also a student at Rochester Institute of Technology. Both Myers and Spinelli are members of the NROTC Rochester unit.

With UR Handball, a Three-Player Culture Spawns a National Winner

Univ. Communications – Despite its Division III status in most mainstream sports, the University of Rochester is host to a fair share of very successful off-beat athletes. You may have heard of our mighty squash players, fierce men’s rugby, highly-ranked quidditch team, and champion downhill skiers. To that list you can also add a couple of the world’s best handball players. On the weekend of February 24, Brandon Manrique ’12 won the third-highest bracket of the national collegiate handball championship.

While handball has never been recognized as a varsity sport on campus, several years ago two graduate students, Samantha England and Dan McNabney, channeled their love of the game and their organizational skills to create a club team. Both had played handball for years and wanted to introduce the Rochester community to the sport as well as find new opportunities to train. England has been ranked the third best female player in the world.

They vigorously recruited students and at one point the club had as many as fifteen members. Manrique, a philosophy and economics major, began playing handball when he arrived here as a freshman. However, new rules for club sports required that the student organizations be sustained solely through the recruitment and organizational efforts of undergraduate students. The new rules, combined with the annual graduation of several team members, made it difficult for the club to grow and today Rochester’s handball culture is down to three people: Manrique, England, and McNabney.

To add to these organizational challenges, there is the sheer difficulty of the game. “It’s such a hard learning curve,” said Manrique. “When you step on the court you have to not only be proficient at hand-eye coordination, you have to be proficient at hand-eye coordination with both of your hands, which is extremely tough.”

The game is played with a small, dense rubber ball and special gloves on a racket ball court.  After their first try players can expect to walk away with very sore hands and full-body fatigue. “Once you get past that, it’s just fun,” Manrique insisted. “It’s probably one of the best workouts you can get.”

But it’s not just about bouncing a ball off the walls of an enclosed court. Handball also is a strategic mental game.  “It’s like a game of chess once you really get into it,” said England.

“No matter how good you get at the game physically there’s always going to be some other challenge.”

Since his freshman year Manrique has risen to high ranks in local and national handball tournaments. “He’s in the top bracket right now for local tournaments and he’s only been playing for three and a half years which is unheard of because handball is so difficult,” said England.  She attributes his success to a keen ability to absorb new information and stay calm on the court.  “He’s really improved exponentially because of his ability to adapt to the game. He learns so quickly and implements the new information … He’s the ideal handball player.”

“I felt very calm and prepared. I have the best coaches that have prepared me for any obstacles that I could possibly come across, both mentally and physically,” Manrique said of his recent Division 1B bracket win. “This was easily the biggest athletic achievement of my entire life.”

“I think that he would be able to enter the pro circuit if he wanted to,” said England. “I look forward to reading his name on the Internet and in the handball publications about how well he’s doing.”  Expressing hope that Manrique will continue to play and teach handball to others after leaving Rochester, she added, “I feel happy that the handball community has gained another player like Brandon.”

Above all, it is the community aspect of the game that both Manrique and England find so attractive. While working in Sacramento, Calif., last summer, Manrique was able to quickly find new friends by joining handball clubs. As the only representative of the University it can be tough to travel to competitions without a team to support him, but while at the national tournament Manrique was cheered on by members of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities team, who knew him from the previous year. The game is also accessible to people of all ages which makes for an inclusive environment despite the competition.

“I am always going to be playing handball, there’s no doubt about that,” Manrique said. “It’s all about finding the right community of players. I still have a lot to learn so I’ll take advantage of my coaches here in Rochester while I can. After that, wherever I end up after graduation, I’ll just take it from there.”

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia (www.out-of-russia.com) and the other to photography (www.myorientalism.com).


Top Photo: Brandon Manrique competes in National Handball Collegiate Championship.

Second Photo: Brandon Manrique poses with Dan Sterrett of Lake Forest College, after the final match of the National Handball Collegiate Championship. Manrique defeated Sterett for the Division 1B title. All photos courtesy of the US Handball Association.

Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving Dominate Libery League Tourneys

Rochester Athletics – Over the weekend, it was Yellowjacket Fever at the Liberty League Championship tournaments.

The University of Rochester men’s swimming and diving team scored 14 event wins and set three new Liberty League records en route to running away with the team title in the Liberty League Championships Swimming and Diving Saturday at RPI.  Rochester totaled 1006.5 points, over 200 better than second place RPI.

For the Lady ‘Jackets, the weekend was just as successful. The women swimmers and divers ran away with the title by over 475 points in the team standings at the 2010 Liberty League Championships.  In the two day event, the Yellowjacket women totaled 13 event wins and set six new Liberty League records.

It was was more of the same for the Yellowjacket men, as they jumped out to three straight race wins to start session three at the league championships.

The first winner was freshman James Frauen who won the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:56.42.

A new school record in the 200 breaststroke was achieved by Adam Bossert who completed the win with the time of 2:09.91.  Fellow Yellowjacket Pat Davis was fourth in the event.

The Rochester squad had a great showing in the 100 freestyle where they took six of the first seven spots.  The winner of the race was freshman Chris Doser who swam a 47.21.  Right behind him in 2nd place was Bossert who raced to a time of 48.08.  Freshmen Derek Lam and Booky Porapakkham earned 3rd and 4th place finished while Brian Wong was 6th and Vincent Ness was 7th.

In the day two diving events, Rochester two competitors earned solid finished of 7th and 9th in the 1 meter board event.  Sophomore Zach Howard was the 7th place finished compiling 261.20 points.  Junior Elliott Lasher was the other UR finisher while scoring 343.70 points.

Freshman Brian Wong got in on the action with a win in the 200 yard butterfly, finishing in a time of 1:55.64.

Wong also was a member of the winning 400 yard free relay team along with classmates Porapakkham, Doser and Frauen.  They finished the race in 3:11.25, over three seconds ahead of the 2nd place team.  Rochester’s B team in the event placed third with a time of 3:16.47.  That squad consisted of senior Vincent Ness, junior Christian Vu, sophomore Alex King and freshman Brett Maus.

UR had six multi-event winners over the two day championships.  Leading the way for the Yellowjackets was Wong who ended with six wins (individual and relays), while Bossert and Doser had five wins apiece.  Frauen had four victories while Porapakkham tallied three.  King rounded out the multiple winners with two.

For his impressive results, Bossert was named Male Swimmer of the Year while teammate Brian Wong was named Male Rookie of the Year at the championships.  The UR coaching staff was also named Coaching Staff of the Year.

In the third session for the women’s team, freshman Lauren Bailey got her fourth win of the championships in the 100 yard freestyle, finishing in a time of 54:02.  Teammate Meg Lawless was second in the event Meg Waring was fourth for the Yellowjackets.

In the 200 backstroke, Rochester got a third and fourth place finish from freshman Teresa Xu (2:12.10) and sophomore Farrell Cooke (2:12.49).

In the diving events on day two, the UR women achieved a 1-2-3 finish in the 3 meter board event.  Junior Sara Spielman placed first scoring 393.24 points.  Classmate Megan Braun was second scoring 392.10 points in her dives while senior Rachel deLahunta was third in the event after scoring 356.35 points.  The three finished as the top 3 in the 1 meter diving event on day one of the championships.

The women smashed the Liberty League record in the 400 yard freestyle relay by nearly three seconds en route to another event win.  The team of Bailey, Waring, Lawless, and Xu finished in a time of 3:37.60.  The B squad of Ellie Ansani, Avery Palardy, Kristy Harding and Emily Friedline placed third in the race with a time of 3:46.41.

Waring earned another solid finish, this time in the 200 breaststroke where she placed 4th with a time of 2:34.47.

In the 200 butterfly, Rochester had three of the top-6 finishes with Lauren Bailey finishing 2nd (2:11.20), Friedline getting 4th (2:12.49) and Steph Bolin ending up 6th (2:14.65).

In the overall team standings, Rochester ran away with the title, winning with a total of 1115.5 team points while the second place and host RPI Engineers ended up with 629.5 points.

The slew of multiple event winners included Bailey (5 wins), Waring (4), Friedline (3), Karen Meess (3), Xu (3), Ellie Ansani (2) and Lawless (2).

UR had many award winners in the post meet ceremonies as Braun and Spielman were named Women’s Co-Divers of the Year, Friedline was Women’s Rookie of the Year and the UR coaches took home Coaching Staff of the Year honors.

This article includes reporting from Scott Sabocheck, Athletic Communications Asst., photos courtesy of Rochester Athletics

UR Women Rally for 7th Straight Wendy’s Title

Rochester Athletics – Loren Wagner and Danielle McNabb scored four points each in a game-ending 14-2 run as Rochester defeated Roberts Wesleyan, 56-44, in the Wendy’s Classic Championship Game.

The Yellowjackets needed that run because Roberts battled back from a 17-point halftime deficit and finally tied the score at 42-all with 7:18 to play.

Jodie Luther started the winning rally with a layup. Laney Ming scored in the lane, McNabb made two free throws, Wagner hit a hook shot and a layup, and McNabb made a layup. That put Rochester up, 54-42. Lindsay Kendall made two free throws for Roberts before Jackie Walker closed the scoring with two free throws.

This is Rochester’s seventh straight Wendy’s Classic Championship and its ninth title in the last 10 years. The Yellowjackets have beaten Roberts Wesleyan in each of the last three title games. Rochester is 7-0. Roberts Wesleyan is 6-3.

McNabb was selected as the Classic’s Most Valuable Player. She scored a career high 15 points, hitting 6 of 10 from the floor, 1 of 2 outside the arc, and both free throws.

She was joined on the All-Tournament First Team by Ming (six points, five assists, one turnover, one steal) and Walker ( 13 points, career high 11 rebounds). Marissa Bunce and Kendall represented Roberts Wesleyan.

In the first half, Walker gave the Yellowjackets a great boost, scoring 11 points and collecting eight rebounds in 11 minutes. McNabb scored nine points. Luther had six.

McNabb scored five points – including a trey – and Walker added four more in a 12-2 run over five minutes that put Rochester ahead, 19-11, with 10:37 left in the half.

Roberts answered, getting four points from Lindsay Kendall, and drew within five, 21-16, with 6:51 left. Rochester closed the half with a 16-4 run. Walker and Luther scored six points apiece in the run with all six of Luther’s points coming in under a minute. She hit a jumper in the circle, made a fast break layup on a long pass from Ming, then added a layup. The burst gave Rochester a 37-20 lead at the half.

Read more about the Lady Yellowjacket’s rise to the top at http://www.uofrathletics.com/index.aspx?path=wbball&tab=_basketball.

Article and photo courtesy of Rochester Athletics

NROTC Rochester Puts in Successful Performance at Cornell Invitational

University of Rochester Naval ROTC – On Saturday, Nov. 19, the Rochester Naval Reserve Officer Training Command (NROTC) Battalion competed in the annual Cornell University Invitational Drill Competition, composed of various drill and athletic events. Rivals at the competition included such notable military institutions as the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point, and Norwich University. Despite the disadvantage of not being a military school, the Midshipmen of Rochester’s Battalion, which includes students from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and the College at Brockport, took third overall in drill events and first overall in athletic events.

Success like this does not happen overnight. For some, the training, especially for athletic events such as the 10K race, begins in the summer. For others, such as the newly inducted freshmen, the training in the discipline necessary for close-order drill begins at the start of the semester. From the flashy rifle-twirling performances of trick drill to the coordinated formations of platoon basic drill, each success in the competition represented many hours spent learning and perfecting the various movements and routines. The hard work especially paid off for the freshmen, who faced the tall order of continuing Rochester’s history of success in both Platoon Drill events. In the notoriously high-pressure Platoon Inspection, a nerve-wracking detailed inspection by professional Marine drill instructors, the team of freshmen, led by RIT junior Erik Smolinski, came away with an unquestioned first-place, even against older, more experienced teams from full-time military schools. They then performed a highly coordinated drill routine in the Platoon Basic Drill event, and while many of the students came to Rochester’s battalion with no prior drill experience, they earned a third-place finish.

Also competing in the drill portion of the competition were Rochester’s Color Guard and Trick Drill teams. Both represent a substantial increase in difficulty, requiring members to learn the more complex movements and routines. Rochester’s trick team, formed only a few years ago, showed marked improvement over years past, bringing more experienced members and better routines to the competition. The Color Guard teams proudly and professionally represented the battalion, but unfortunately due to confusion with the routine, neither team placed at this competition.

In the athletic events, Rochester either won or placed in every event. The 4×400 team, led by UR junior Ben Desch, finished first in their heat, but were beat by one other team who ran faster in the next heat, ultimately coming away with a second-place finish. In the pool, Rochester’s swimmers, captained by UR sophomore Trevor DeVisser, dominated the competition, taking first-place in all three relay events (4×100 Free, 4×100 IM, and Crescendo). UR sophomore David DeLong and UR junior Ed Boullianne also performed well, placing second and ninth respectively in the 10K race.

The longest and most grueling event was the Ironman competition. Unlike the famous triathlon, this was an event designed to test the all-around fitness of the teams, composed of push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, a 500-yard swim, and a 3-mile run. The competition was neck-and-neck, but when all the scores were tallied, Rochester came out on top for the first-place finish.

Rochester’s Midshipmen were proud to return home at the end of the competition, having performed well and continuing Rochester’s history of success at the Cornell University Invitational Drill Competition.

Article and photo courtesy of Andrew Myers and David Donaldson, NROTC members.

UR Quidditch: Passion, class, and brooms of course!

Univ. Communications – Many of you may have only heard of Quidditch as the magical sport of J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series. But your dreams of Bludger dodging, Snitch chasing and Quaffle scoring can become a reality when you join UR’s Muggle Quidditch team.

Muggle Quidditch began circa 2005 at Middlebury College in Vermont but has since grown into an international phenomenon. The International Quidditch Association comprises over 1,000 teams in at least 13 countries with over 400 teams in the U.S. alone, mostly on college campuses.

Naturally, Muggle Quidditch does not include any flying or enchanting (unless you count the rapt spectators). As in the books, a game is played between two teams of seven players.  Three circular goals (usually made of PVC pipes and hula hoops) stand on each end of the field protected by two Keepers on each side. Two Chasers per team concentrate on scoring goals (worth ten points each) by passing a volleyball, while two Beaters attempt to knock players out of play by throwing dodge balls.

Each team’s Seeker spends the match trying to capture the elusive human snitch – a person donning gold or yellow clothing with a tennis ball in a tube sock attached to their waistband.  The human snitch is allowed to roam an area far beyond the field, climb trees, hide, and pester the other players. The game comes to an end when the snitch is captured and thirty points are awarded to the captor’s team. In essence the sport is a combination of rugby, dodge ball, tag, and basketball. Oh yeah, and everyone has to run around with a broom between their legs.

“It’s a full contact, athletic sport, it’s not a bunch of nerds running around on brooms,” said Katherine Pieper, president of the UR Quidditch team (aka The Thestrals). “One of the most common misconceptions about Quidditch is that if you aren’t a Harry Potter nerd then you shouldn’t play. I think that’s completely wrong. It’s taken on a complete life of its own. There are people who play Quidditch who are obsessed with Harry Potter, people who hate it, people who have no idea what it is. It doesn’t have to do with Harry Potter anymore and that’s the great thing about Muggle Quidditch.”

The Rochester team has been steadily climbing the International Quidditch Association’s rankings since its founding in 2009. As a Division 1 team, they have been ranked 7th in the world and 1st in New York State. The team has performed well in the annual World Cup Tournaments though last weekend’s result were an admitted disappointment.  The Thestrals did not make it past pool play in their bracket.

“It was a devastating blow for the team, but it did leave us free on Sunday to watch, ref, and Snitch for as many games as we liked,” said Pieper. “Another highlight for us, while it wasn’t our own team, was supporting our friends from the RIT, The Dark Marks, as they made it to the Finals for Division 2 of the Cup, ultimately coming in second place.”

You may be surprised by this warm camaraderie, but the UR Quidditch team has earned a solid reputation as one of the most upstanding and well-mannered opponents in the sport.  “We’ve had several teams tell us that we’re one of the nicest teams they’ve ever played with, which we really pride ourselves on,” said Pieper.

Even in shut-out matches of 260 to zero, The Thestrals have held to the highest standards of ethical sportsmanship. “We don’t play Quidditch to win – we play Quidditch for the love of the sport and the people who dedicate as much of their lives to playing as we do,” Pieper added.

Though the season usually lasts only until the the annual fall World Cup, the UR team is attempting to extend training into the winter months and organize a regional Upstate New York Tournament on campus in the spring. As an SA recognized and funded club sport, the team has been steadily growing in numbers; today there are almost thirty active members that come together for practice drills and matches sever times per week. The Thestrals have also become involved in freshman orientation activities to inform and engage the incoming students as well as philanthropic community work through sponsoring book drives.

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia (www.out-of-russia.com) and the other to photography (www.myorientalism.com).