Middlebury’s Most Magical Tournament


Ian Scura ’19.5 runs down the field in the quidditch final against RPI.

There is no better location for a game of Quidditch than Battell Beach, where the sport was introduced back in 2005 by a group of Middlebury College students who had no idea of the impact they would make. On Sunday Sept. 30, Quidditch came home in the form of the Middlebury Quidditch Classic Festival. The tournament was a fitting tribute to the origins of the sport that swept the nation. Two tournaments comprised of thirteen teams representing seven colleges and the five commons played, along with eight organizations and six food vendors to keep spectators more than occupied between matches. It was a perfect day for Quidditch, warm and sunny. The butterbeer was flowing, the taco and crepe stands had roaring business and the Quaffles were flying. Plenty of kids (and more than a few adults, too) were seen walking around decked in their finest Hogwarts robes. 

Forty-six-year-old Phil Johnston and his 11-year-old daughter Sophia drove down from Vergennes, VT to watch the tournament. When asked to explain why she decided to come, Sophia replied, “Because I love Harry Potter.”

Kate, Harper and Freja, ages 39, 13 and 12, came from Shelburne, VT to watch. The three were in agreement that what they liked the most about the Classic was the atmosphere.

“[I loved] the fun of it,” Kate said. “No one worries about anything but Quidditch [at the tournament].”

In the round-robin Quidditch pools of the morning, the play was loose and fun, as nobody would be eliminated until later. The announcers were members of Middlebury’s various improv groups, providing commentary that, while not always relevant, was plenty entertaining. One highlight from the announcing booth: “Oh, he got the pants, but not the Snitch!”

In the competition to win the Commons Cup, it came down to Ross and Cook in the final after Ross defeated Wonnacott 120-50 and Cook beat Brainerd 130-120. It was a close match, and at one point Ross appeared to get the Snitch for an upset victory. However, the play was recalled and Cook’s strong offense was the deciding factor in their 170-90 acquisition of the Commons Cup.

In the college bracket play of the afternoon, the playful atmosphere of the morning was mostly forgotten. In the opening round, Middlebury beat Vassar 150-60, led by spectacular goaltending by Ian Scura ’19.5 which allowed the Panthers to increase their consistent lead. Meanwhile, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) knocked off the Dumbledore’s Army wing of the UVM team in a lopsided 130-10 match. While Tufts cruised to a 170-60 victory over Providence, Skidmore put up 170 points in a victory over UVM’s Fellowship team. 

In the quarterfinals, Middlebury took on Skidmore. Within five seconds of the match starting, Skidmore had scored a goal. Not to be outdone, Middlebury came back with one of their own just moments later, kicking off a fast-paced duel that saw the Panthers and the Thoroughbreds exchange 5 goals in the first minute and a half. In the end, though Skidmore had some good breakaway goals, they struggled to field a cohesive offense, and excellent play by the Middlebury beaters and a relentless offense that gave them a 150-70 victory. Meanwhile, RPI proved to be too much for Tufts in a hard-fought game where they came away with a 130-50 victory. 

So it was onto the finals, with the hosts facing the powerhouse from Rensselaer, who had yet to lose a game during the day. The game took off at a blistering pace, with RPI’s thunderous offense led by chaser Chris Lamonica keeping the heat on the Middlebury defense. Middlebury’s offense matched their opponents goal-for-goal in the early going, but as the match progressed, RPI pulled in front and slowly lengthened their lead. After a slight delay of game due to an injury to the Snitch, RPI caught the golden prize and it was over, 160-60. 

At the closing ceremonies, as trophies were awarded and the teams gathered on the pitch for a group photo, there were no hard feelings anywhere. Rather, each player was only too happy to celebrate the thing that had brought them together one last time before heading home: good, old-fashioned Quidditch.

Click here to see more photos from the day.