The University of Richmond club Quidditch team will be attending the Quidditch World Cup in Kissimmee, Fla., this weekend.
The team will be sending 21 players to the tournament, where it will compete with 80 other teams.
"It truly is a World Cup," said sophomore, Julia Baer one of Richmond's team captains. "There are teams from Australia, Canada, France and Mexico coming."
Richmond will be competing in a pool with University of Texas at Austin, Tufts University, Ohio State University and University of Southern Mississippi, Baer said.
This will be Richmond's third year attending the World Cup, but its first year traveling to Florida to do so. In past years, the tournament has been held in New York City. With the change in location, there also came a change in qualifying for the tournament. This was the first year that teams were required to place at their regional tournaments to qualify for the World Cup, which Richmond did at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Tournament Nov. 3 and 4, Baer said.
To afford the trip to Florida, the team spent the fall semester fundraising, which included the sale of the team's Quidditch posters, donations from friends and family and funding from the Sport Club Council, Baer said.
Baer described the World Cup as a mix between the Super Bowl and a renaissance fair. Along with Quidditch, it includes, music, theatrical performances, "kidditch" (Quidditch for kids), live commentary from improvisational comedians and magical item vendors, Baer said.
The program is quickly gaining popularity at Richmond.
"Two years ago, UR sent a whole seven players to the World Cup," Baer said. "In the start of this past fall semester, we had upwards of 40 active members playing on the club team." The sport continues to grow with more than 800 registered teams across the U.S., and each year, Quidditch is taken more seriously as a sport, Baer said.
Contact reporter Mia Webber at firstname.lastname@example.org