By Brandon Borges
The Michigan State University-hosted Winter Midwest Fantasy, scheduled for Saturday, February 2 is set to be a tournament to remember. This tournament will see all types of players from both official and unofficial teams, seasoned veterans and rookies looking to get their feet wet, well-known stalwarts in the quidditch community and unknown superstars ready to leave a mark on the region in the sixth iteration of this tournament. Eight general managers have drafted unique teams never seen before, but some constants and expected storylines are surely brewing. Here are some of the biggest storylines heading into this fantasy tournament:
Uncut and Unofficial
This fantasy is incredibly hard to call due to the vast number of players who are not part of an official team this year. Notably, three unofficial college teams are bringing a large number of players to the tournament. Kent State University brings with them players who have been going to unofficial tournaments for years, but none may be more well-known than the MLQ Cleveland Riff player Colton Snyder. Snyder certainly left a mark this summer at the MLQ North Super-Series, having several quality minutes on pitch and using his blistering speed to pick up points and steals alike.
His purple fantasy team sporting Riff teammate Brandon Borges, two key members of Boom Train in Matt Brown and Charlene Caruthers, impressive Wooster rookies in the wily Peter Greenwood, strongman Jackson Loop, and athlete Ethan Sayer, will be loving the speed and energy he provides on-pitch. Purdue University has had a great year at unofficial tournaments, winning the biggest unofficial tournament in the region this year at Tracebreaker and coming in second to Michigan’s Beartrain at Flyer Fall Brawl, and their players are poised to go hard at Winter Fantasy as well, boasting veteran Alejandra May and incredible athlete Brett Cornman. Lastly, Oakland University is looking to make an impact with their players at this tournament, sporting veterans Lauren Ramer and Isaac Springer.
Banas or Bust
David Banas and his team look incredibly formidable as he prepares to get his first fantasy victory after going 0-5 in fantasy finals so far. Banas, arguably the best beater in the Great Lakes region in his own right, has drafted a supreme amount of talent, including Boom Train superstar Matt Pesch, MSU hyper-athlete Tawfik Abbas, fellow CMU beater Nick Rousseau, and sophomore superstar from ISU Linnea Schultz. This team can field some of the best players the Great Lakes and Midwest has to offer all at once, but it does face a good deal of competition. Matt “Gramps” Melton has drafted a team chock-full of amazing veteran players. He is bringing along some of his Boom Train teammates in one of the greatest beaters in the country in Marisa Enos, long-standing veteran Krystina Packard, and arguably the best chaser at the tournament in Alex Mitchell. These players, alongside a player having a career renaissance after his injury playing on the Riff two summers ago in Drew Weiler, can certainly give Banas and company a run for their money.
Of course, all 8 teams carry with them a considerable amount of talent. Trevor Halverson’s team has a player who is a dark horse candidate for MVP this year in John Smutny, along with standout rookie Liam Zach and seeker extraordinaire Korey Johnson. Ali Markus has her Brew City teammate and another respected name, along with some of the best off-ball offense in the region, in Matt Dwyer, as well as CMU’s rookie superstar in Justin McCullough. Tyler Richards has drafted a good deal of Michigan-based players who are both familiar with themselves and are incredible players in their own right in quidditch’s resident ninja JD Hopton, CMU’s star chaser Michaela May and the wily and accomplished vocal leader of Michigan in Zeke Majeske. All in all, this tournament is not one to miss if one wants to see some unique teams that may never be seen together again.