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March 16, 2013

Crowder native leads OSU Quidditch

McALESTER — A sport originally conceived as taking place up in the air has finally come down to earth. But at Oklahoma State University, a Crowder native is leading his team to new heights.

He’s Mark Woolard IV, the coach and captain of the Oklahoma State Quidditch Association. After defeating Sam Houston State in the Southwest Regional Championship Tournament at Texas A&M University in College Station on Feb. 24, his team became the first team from the state of Oklahoma to qualify for the upcoming Quidditch World Cup.

“We found out we’d qualified, and we were just going crazy,” Woolard, a junior microbiology major at OSU, said on Thursday. “We felt like we were on Cloud Nine.”

Quidditch comes from the same-named sport played in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter series. In the books, the sport combined elements of soccer, rugby and cricket into a full-contact, high-scoring spectacle that takes place on flying broomsticks.

The real-life version of quidditch plays basically the same way, except that players run around on the ground holding their broomsticks — or PVC pipes — between their legs. Otherwise, the positions have the same names, and the scoring works about the same way.

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