women's flat track roller derby team in columbus, ohio - empowering women and gender-expansive people in sport
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For the fourth straight year, Ohio Roller Derby has qualified for WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs, showing their mettle as one of the top 40 teams in the world. With the implementation of the divisional system in 2013, Ohio exploded into Division 1, placing second at Playoffs and reaching the quarterfinals at Championships. They have returned to D1 Playoffs each year since, and this year will enter as the #9 seed at the final D1 tournament in Madison, WI. Hosted by the #10 seed Mad Rollin’ Dolls, the tournament will also see gameplay from Gotham Girls Roller Derby, Arch Rival Roller Derby, Minnesota RollerGirls, Tampa Roller Derby, Team United, Helsinki Roller Derby, No Coast Derby Girls, and Ohio’s first opponent of the weekend, Windy City Rollers.

While Ohio and Windy are next door neighbors on the current WFTDA rankings and have each played 12 sanctioned games this season, the two have had rather different journeys from last year’s postseason to now. In 2015, Windy rolled into Playoffs ranked 20 overall, but dropped into Division 3 by the end of the year and remained there until April; since then, they’ve methodically climbed back into Division 1 and will hit Playoffs ranked 32nd. Ohio, on the other hand, has held relatively steady in comparison, inching from 34 to 31 after 2015 Playoffs and overcoming a midseason rankings dip to come into Playoffs ranked 33rd. Windy found much of their success in tournament play, dominating at The Big O in April and Midwest BrewHaHa & East Coast Derby Extravaganza (ECDX) in June, while Ohio employed a “get small to get big” strategy, scaling back on their overall number of games and limiting travel during their home season. Windy and Ohio did have a handful of schedule similarities: both suffered losses to Detroit, had solid victories over Carolina, and found staunch competition among mid-range D1 teams such as Team United and Atlanta.

Ohio has a longer history with Windy than nearly any other team in WFTDA, first playing them in Ohio’s third sanctioned game ever at 2007 ECDX. That game, along with rematches at 2012 North Central Regionals and 2014 Midwest BrewHaHa, went in Windy’s favor, but Ohio broke the streak with a 251-129 victory just before Playoffs last year. With that rankings upset in mind and knowing that Windy will look to prove their prowess once again, Ohio will focus on disrupting the seeding with a Game 1 victory. Doing so would pit them against #1 seed and #1 ranked Gotham, a matchup reminiscent of the quarterfinals of 2013 Champs. A loss in Game 1 would shuttle Ohio into the consolation bracket for Saturday and set them against the loser of Friday’s Minnesota vs Helsinki game. Ohio is well prepared to take on any of the competitors in this tournament, however, as they have game history with all but two teams (Helsinki and Team United) and are sending the majority of last year’s strong playoff roster to Madison.

Working all season to strengthen both their individual and collective talents, Ohio brings to the track versatility, positive mental game, and a deep jammer pool, with every skater having posted points this year. In her first season on the charter, Blitz Lemon has quickly become a pivotal part of the jammer rotation, snagging lead status 44% of the time for 338 total points earned. The Smacktivist has posted 1,133 points in sanctioned play this year, scoring an average of 103 points per game, and Lora “Outa My” Wayman racked up 437 points in 9 games. Veteran jammers Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin, Kitty Liquorbottom, Bigg Rigg, and Chainsaw made sizeable point contributions both off the line and as pivots. KloverKill, Burnadeath, Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox, and Stevie Brown have been linchpins in Ohio’s tenacious defensive core, shutting down lines and thwarting initial passes. Swing skaters Paige Bleed, Elektra Magneto, Val Holla, Betty T. KayO, and Quiet Storm have had great success in jamming for both the All Stars and Gang Green, and with the addition of mid-year transfer Gorges Curves (formerly of the Ithaca League of Women Rollers), have amassed over 1000 points between them in 13 games.

Ohio will take on Windy City at 10 a.m. CST on Friday, September 23rd.
All games will be broadcast via free audio stream on wftda.tv. Viewing package for live, high quality video stream available for purchase here.
For tournament information and bracket, visit https://wftda.com/tournaments/2016/madison.

Photographs by: Joe Mac