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NIU quidditch team sweeps to victory

Using PVC pipes for broomsticks and hula hoop stands for goals, Northern Illinois University’s Quidditch team tournament did not look as flashy as in the Harry Potter movies. But that didn’t stop them from winning Saturday’s Quibbler Invitational just outside Huskie Stadium.

The NIU Nargles Quidditch team played in a tournament with teams from four other schools: Augustana College’s Odin’s Ravens, Southeastern Iowa College’s Horntails, Northwestern University’s Kneazles and Elmhurst College’s Marauders. There also was a pick-up team called the Merc team.

The Nargles defeated the Merc Team in the final match, 40-0.

The Nargles’ name and the Quidditch sport comes from author J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series. A Nargle is a magical invisible creature, said Micah Haji-Sheikh, president of NIU’s Nargles Quidditch Team.

Quidditch combines elements of dodgeball, football and soccer. Before the game starts, three dodgeballs (called bludgers) and one volleyball (called a quaffle) are lined up in the middle of the field. When the whistle blows, players race towards the balls.

Each team has seven players on the field. The goal is to throw the quaffle through one of three hula hoop goals lined next to each other on each side of the field. Each goal is worth 10 points.

However, team members called the seekers can score 30 points if they catch the snitch, a player with a tennis ball inside a sock attached to the back whose job it is to run away from everyone else. When the snitch is caught, the game ends and the team gets 30 points.

The snitch can leave the field for most of the game, said Philip Giampaolo, who is a Nargle and has been a snitch. However, the snitch has to come back onto the field after 15 minutes and avoid being caught.

The team with the most points wins the game.

“Usually the snitch is fast and tactical,” Haji-Sheikh said.

Only the chasers and keepers can score with the quaffle, which is thrown into the hula hoop goals. Only the seeker can grab the snitch’s sock.

Beaters are solely a defensive position. Their job is to throw bludgers at other players.

Only beaters are allowed to hold the bludgers.

The keeper position is like a goalie, except the keeper can run all the way to the other side of the field to score.

The NIU Nargles won the first match against the Southeastern Iowa Horntails, 80-10. They also won the second game against the Augustana Odin’s Ravens, 90-10.

The Nargles were rewarded with a golden pair of shoes as the first place trophy.

Haji-Sheikh said all the equipment they have comes from money they raised by themselves.

The NIU Nargles are receiving financial help from the university next year. As for now, they have to stick to duct-taped hula hoop stands as goals.

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