Middlebury competes in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. The Panthers lead the NESCAC in total number of National Championships, having won 33 individual titles since the conference lifted its ban on NCAA play in 1994. Middlebury enjoys national success in soccer, tennis, cross country running, lacrosse, ice hockey, field hockey, and skiing, and fields 31 varsity NCAA teams and several competitive club teams. Since 2000, Middlebury's varsity squads have won 54 NESCAC titles. Currently, 28% of students participate in varsity sports.
In the early 20th century, Middlebury's traditional athletic rivals included the University of Vermont and Norwich University. Today, rivalries vary by sport. In football, Middlebury's rival is Hamilton College, as NESCAC no longer allows out-of-conference football competition. Since 1980, the annual game between Hamilton and Middlebury is designated the Rocking Chair Classic, with the winning team keeping the Mac-Jack Rocking Chair for the following year.
Middlebury is also the founding father of the International Quidditch Association. The game from Harry Potter was originated on campus at Middlebury. The current commissioner of the IQA attended Middlebury. Middlebury Quidditch has been dominant, winning the past four world cups, and going undefeated in all forms of play for the past four years.
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