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Monday, October 18, 2021

The magic of Quidditch returned to UF over the weekend as Florida Quidditch hosted the second annual Swamp Cup.

The two-day competition brought together eight Florida college teams to play a sport that once existed only in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

UF placed fourth after the University of Miami, the University of South Florida and Ringling College of Art and Design.

Marilyn Ralph, a 24-year-old UF medical student, went to watch her brother play. She said the highlight is the Snitch, a neutral player who runs from the teams’ Seekers and wears a ball hanging from the back of his or her shorts.

“I really like watching what the Snitch does because it’s always very creative,” Ralph said.

One Snitch jumped over the heads of spectators sitting on the sidelines and used small, plastic squirt guns to spray other players. Another borrowed an umbrella from a bystander and used it as a shield.

This year’s Swamp Cup featured two additional teams, new rules to ensure safety and a more accessible location at Hume Field, said Emily Troilo, a tournament director.

Florida Quidditch’s Vice President of Tournament Hannah Pohlmann said Quidditch has grown into a sport that is taken more seriously now than in the past.

“The growth of Quidditch has really been exponential over the past few years,” she said, noting how it has spread to nations such as Italy and Pakistan.

Quidditch players say the sport is about much more than Harry Potter.

Julia Rauchfuss, an 18-year-old biomedical sciences freshman, plays for the USF team. She said her interest was originally sparked because she is a Harry Potter fan.

“But it really becomes more about the sport as you start playing,” she said.

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