THE QUEST FOR THE HYDRA
(21) OHIO ROLLER GIRLS TO PLAY (18) RAT CITY AT WFTDA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Much like the title sequence during the original Star Trek television series in which William Shatner narrates the famous words, “To boldly go where no man has gone before,” the women of the Ohio Roller Girls will “explore strange new worlds” on November 8th as they make their first ever appearance at the WFTDA roller derby world championship tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Ohio, the lowest seed to ever make the tournament with the newest WFTDA rankings being released at the end of September, secured their spot at the big dance by finishing second at the Ft. Wayne Division I Playoff in early October. In Ft. Wayne, Ohio upset Arch Rival (218-166) and Montreal (212-149) before losing in the championship bout against Denver (134-304). Ohio will join Denver, London (UK), Texas, Philly, Angel City, Gotham, Rocky Mountain, Windy City, Bay Area, Atlanta, and Rat City at Championships as these teams also finished in the top three of the other Division I playoffs at Richmond (VA), Asheville (NC), and Salem (OR).
The Ohio Roller Girls enter Champs as one of four #2 seeds, which pits them against #3 Rat City from Seattle, Washington. The OHRG are 17-6 in 2013 with notable victories against Detroit, Naptown, Arch Rival, Montreal, Toronto, and Tampa Bay. Key losses were to (also Championship bound) Atlanta and Philly. With the new WFTDA ranking system, which takes into account bouts played during a rolling twelve month calendar, a lot of teams played a lighter schedule because they didn’t want to drop their ranking with a bad loss. Ohio, however, has done just the opposite. The OHRG have played 48 sanctioned bouts since the start of the 2012 season, more than any other team at Champs this season. The closest team to Ohio on number of bouts played over the last two years is Philly (32), with sixteen bouts fewer than the Columbus squad. In fact, pair London (17) with any team other than Philly, and Ohio has played in just as many or more bouts than those two teams combined.
Whereas Ohio played in twenty regular season bouts this year, their opponents at Champs, (18) Rat City, has only played eight–five of which were against teams appearing at Champs in November. They were able to post victories over Angel City, Victorian, Charm City, and Denver. Their losses came to London, Rocky Mountain, Gotham, and Rose City. Rat City earned their spot at Champs by finishing third at the final Division I Playoff in Salem, Oregon, as they defeated Boston (212-205) in their first bout. They then lost to Atlanta (186-220) before defeating Detroit for 3rd place (254-129). After a five year hiatus, Rat City will make their first trip back to the Championship tournament since 2008 when they lost in the quarterfinals. Historically, this will be Rat City’s fourth trip to Champs, as they lost in the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2008, and lost to Kansas City in the championship bout in 2007.
The Rat City Rollergirls feature a deep jammer rotation with Jalapeno Business, Jukestapose, Luna Negra, Sintripedal Force, and Carmen Getsome. Consistently using five jammers not only allows for fresher legs on the jammer line, but it allows Rat City the extra benefit of seeing which jammer or jammers has the hot skates and can contribute big points. On average, Jalapeno Business scored 25 points per bout (PPB) in Salem. Carmen Getsome scored 44 PPB, Jukestapose scored 60 PPB, Luna Negra scored 56 PPB, and Sintripedal Force averaged 72 PPB. For her efforts at the Salem playoff, Luna Negra was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Also noteworthy is that Carmen Getsome was just recently named to the 2013-1014 Team USA squad that will compete at the 2014 World Cup. Anchoring Rat City’s blocking core will be Shorty Ounce, K Breezy, Glitter, Full Nelson, Jerrica Kallio, and Yoko Onoudi’nt.
Ohio, as they have all season, will feature Phoenix Bunz, Kitty Liquorbottom, and The Smacktivist on the jammer line. Sprinkled in will be Pippi RipYourStockings and Outa My Wayman if penalty trouble or fatigue becomes an issue. The small but mighty Ohio pack will have minimal lineup changes, as Phoenix Bunz, Pippi RipYourStockings, Loraine Acid, Amy Spears, Outa My Wayman, and Bratislava Bruiser will be allowed as much track time as they can handle. Helping the cause will be Ava Tarr and Burnadeath, as they too will see considerable track time. Ohio’s jammers have all taken turns carrying the workload this season, with Bunz, Kitty, and The Smacktivist all posting multiple 100+ point games this year. To be victorious, however, Ohio’s jammers will have to play their cleanest, penalty-free bout this season. In Salem, Rat City took advantage of power jams and pack numbers on their way to a third place finish. It should be mentioned that good jamming is a result of good pack play, and the relationship between Ohio’s jammers and blockers wouldn’t be complete without talking about OHRG’s defense during their magical 2013 season. Often outsized with a much smaller bench, Ohio’s defensive crew has epitomized the definition of teamwork this year, particularly in the postseason. With a “bend but don’t break” mentality, Ohio was able to shut the door on Arch Rival and Montreal during the second periods after struggling during the first half. In a year where passive offense yielded 30-40 point power jams, Ohio’s defense rarely let up power jams of 20 points. They would bend, but they wouldn’t break. And when they weren’t bending, they were simply shutting teams down as they kept themselves in several bouts this season by forcing timely penalties on opposing jammers.
On Friday, November 8th at 6:00 p.m. Central Time, the Ohio Roller Girls will look to bypass the stun settings on their phasers, and look to kill Rat City’s chances of advancing in the tournament. The winner of the Ohio/Rat City bout will take on the #1 team in the world, Gotham, on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. CT. Gotham’s last loss was to Rocky Mountain in November 2010. They are the reigning back-to-back WFTDA Champions. For a fee, Ohio’s bout can be viewed at wftda.tv.