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Ohio Roller Derby 2020 Season Preview

UPDATE 3/13/20: In an effort to do our part to mitigate the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, and to follow the guidelines set forth by Governor Dewine to cancel or postpone mass gatherings, we have postponed our season opener at the Ohio Expo Center. Read about it here. After an intense interleague schedule culminating in a repeat appearance at the North America East Continental Cup, Ohio Roller Derby prioritized fun, rest, and recovery in late 2019. The league played two themed mixed-level games and then packed the stands for the annual Skatemare Before Christmas exhibition event. In January, skaters returned to strength training and skating fundamentals, ramping up for another season of exciting competition at all levels. Celebrating their fifteenth anniversary this year, Ohio returns to their home track at the Ohio Expo Center from mid-March through the end of June. While last season brought a handful of retirements and an influx of fresh skaters, the 2020 All Stars roster remains largely unchanged from the 2019 postseason. Captained by Amy Spears, Kelsey Khaos, and Vyles, veteran players Betty Me-Owww (formerly Betty T. KayO), Bigg Rigg, Birch Slap, BrussKnuckles, Catch Mikachu, Chainsaw, and KloverKill also return. A strong core of experienced crossover

2019 Rookies!

As their first season with Ohio Roller Derby winds down and preparations begin for the next round of OHRD tryouts in September, we caught up with some members of the 2019 rookie class to discuss their experiences, joys, and growth over the past year. How did you first hear about roller derby, and what made you decide to get involved with OHRD? Slayna Scully: I first heard about roller derby back in college in 2009! I was in my first year at BGSU and went to see the Glass City Rollers and fell in love. I bought a pair of quads that year, but never had the money or the time to get involved. I skated casually and recreationally until I finished graduate school last spring, and then I was free to join OHRD, aka the league of my dreams! Nick Tater: Slayna Scully, who I knew mostly just as an acquaintance through my sister, was involved with OH-Rec League (OH!RL) and convinced me to join because she thought I would enjoy it. I've always been athletic and she just reached out randomly one day and told me to come try a WannaBe Clinic. I was hooked from that first night. I joined

OHIO FINISHES WITH A FLOURISH, TAKES DOWN CLASSIC CITY

After an intense three months of nearly non-stop derby action, including home games, tournament play, and several thousand miles of travel, Ohio Roller Derby tied the bow on the 2019 regular season with dual home track victories over first-time opponents Classic City Rollergirls (Athens, GA). While unable to blow open a wide enough spread to alter their predicted seeding for the North America East Continental Cup, the All Stars presented a solid performance to complete an 11-2 regular season, while Gang Green showed continued improvement and development of new skaters for a 5-4 season. (63) ALL STARS HOLD (78) CLASSIC CITY AT BAY, 153-107 A sizable early game lead for Ohio Roller Derby ultimately proved insurmountable for the visiting charter team, despite a second half assault that kept the All Stars on their toes. Earning lead jammer status in five of the first six jams of the contest, Ohio quickly opened a 30-1 lead over their opponents. Amy Spears forced the Classic City jammer out of bounds while Kelsey Khaos distracted defense long enough for Bigg Rigg to squeeze through the pack and nab lead in jam 7; BrussKnuckles followed up with a 5-0 run, slipping past a stalled pack in the apex.

OHIO BESTS BRANDYWINE

Skating their second-to-last home games of the 2019 season, Ohio Roller Derby welcomed Brandywine Roller Derby for Pride Night and racked up early leads that led to triple-digit victories in both games. (63) OHIO ROCKETS PAST (69) BRANDYWINE, 235-64 With just a few weeks remaining for games that can impact postseason tournament seeding, and incredibly close competition among half a dozen teams in the North America East region hovering near the cutoff point for Continental Cup eligibility, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars drew on the momentum they gained from their 3-0 run at Midwest BrewHaHa and charged into their 12th game of the season swinging. Aiming for a 2:1 spread over the Brandywine Belligerents, the home contenders wasted no time on the track, opening a tidy 100-point lead by halftime and obtaining lead jammer status in 78% of jams. Quick shutout jams dominated the opening minutes of the contest, as Ohio jammers largely limited themselves to single scoring passes. Brandywine snuck onto the board in jam 7, but a subsequent power start for Ohio stalled their progress. KloverKill and Kelsey Khaos burned a Brandywine power jam, then Bigg Rigg made the first major move for Ohio with a 16-4 gain, shifting their

Ohio Returns Home to Battle Brandywine

As the regular season begins to wind down, (63) Ohio Roller Derby wraps up a whirlwind month of travel and returns to the Ohio Expo Center to square off against (69) Brandywine Roller Derby (Downingtown, PA) on Saturday, June 8th in their penultimate home game of the year. Currently 2-4 in 2019, the Belligerents scheduled a season similar in length to the All Stars, and have slowly crept up in the WFTDA rankings over the past few months. Their first trip to Ohio in March resulted in a narrow loss to Cincinnati, while their home opener in April brought a 101-point triumph over Charm City. Brandywine also made the journey to the Put Up Your Toques invitational in Canada in early May, but fell short in each of their three games against Toronto, Orangeville, and Ottawa Valley, all of whom Ohio has bested this season. Most recently, the Belligerents took down Charlottesville in a 203-173 victory at home; Ohio is their last scheduled game before the June 30th cutoff for postseason determination. Ohio and Brandywine have clashed only once previously, when the All Stars cinched a 248-108 win at home in April 2017. The Belligerents have experienced minimal turnover in their charter

OHIO TOPPLES STEEL CITY

Hitting the road together for the first time in 2019, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars and Gang Green hopped across the Ohio River to Pittsburgh for a pair of scrappy, hard-fought games against longtime opponents Steel City Roller Derby, scratching out late-game victories in both matchups. ALL STARS SQUEAK PAST STEEL HURTIN’, 181-167 Unceasing back-and-forth battle and a total of ten lead changes kept both teams on their toes for the entire sixty minutes of gameplay, but the final moments saw Ohio narrowly edging out their opponents. Catch Mikachu nicked the first point of the contest; two lead changes followed in as many jams, with Jane, Literally squeezing out of the pack for a 9-0 gain as a Steel Hurtin’ blocker picked up the first pack penalty. After swapping scoring passes for several minutes, Banana Jamma tied the score at 18-all despite strong triangulation from the Ohio defense; River Kyx then tipped the scales in favor of the home squad. Belle A. Trix took full advantage of a two-minute jam, edging through on toe stops for 8 points, but the Hurtin’ retaliated with back-to-back shutout jams, exploiting a depleted Ohio wall to widen their lead to 31-60. A team timeout allowed the

An Old Rivalry Revived

Making a quick jaunt to Pennsylvania during a mid-season lull in home games, Ohio Roller Derby will face off against long-time rivals Steel City Roller Derby (Pittsburgh, PA) on Saturday, May 18th at the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena in Cheswick, PA. Teams of all levels from the two leagues have clashed numerous times over the past decade, with Ohio maintaining a winning average in all configurations. (84) Steel Hurtin’ played their second WFTDA-sanctioned game ever against the All Stars in December 2007 and have rematched with them six times since, including once at WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs in 2014. Their most recent meeting at the now-defunct Romp n’ Roll in Glenshaw in August 2015 saw the Steel Hurtin’ pull out a decisive 249-117 victory, but both charter rosters have undergone significant change since. The Hurtin’ challenged themselves in 2018, prioritizing road games and traveling to the United Kingdom for the Euro Clash tournament; the experience served them well, as they have slowly but steadily climbed the WFTDA rankings over the past year. With a more experienced roster in 2019, the Hurtin’ front-loaded their season and are currently 6-3. Kicking off with travel losses to Naptown and Roc City in February and March

MIXED RESULTS FOR OHIO AGAINST NEIGHBORING GEM CITY

In their first matchups in recent memory, Ohio and Gem City faced off in two fierce battles that resulted in one win and one loss for each league. ALL STARS EDGED OUT BY PURPLE REIGN, 118-134 Aggressive from the opening whistle and only building in intensity, the charter game saw both teams fighting to find and maintain the narrowest of leads throughout both periods, and was ultimately determined in the final minutes of play. The All Stars jumped onto the scoreboard with a 4-0 inaugural jam, but the Purple Reign quickly answered with two consecutive shutout jams, causing the first lead change in jam 3. Speedy packs minimized Gem City gains in the early minutes of the period, and Ohio jammers took advantage of holes left by their opponents to race away from the defense and force early call offs. While unsuccessful in their request for an illegal contact penalty assessment to the Reign jammer at the end of jam 8, the brief lull in action allowed the All Stars to reset; BrussKnuckles pulled off the first double-digit scoring run in jam 10, sprinting up the inside for a 15-4 gain and flipping Ohio into the lead, 25-24. Gem City fired back in

Ohio Extends Neighborly Welcome to Gem City

Fresh off a successful tournament weekend in Canada, Ohio Roller Derby returns to their home track in Columbus with an improved 4-1 season record to welcome neighboring league Gem City Roller Derby (Dayton, OH) on Saturday, May 11th for one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season. Despite their close proximity, the two A teams have not played one another in a decade, meeting twice in 2009 with entirely different rosters and under a very different WFTDA rule set. Gang Green and the Gem City B team, the Violet Femmes, sparred more recently in September 2014, with Gang Green emerging victorious. In the years since, Gem City has been on a steady upward trajectory, boasting nearly undefeated seasons for the past three years. The Purple Reign were in position to make a run for their first postseason appearance at the North America East Continental Cup in 2018, but they were forced to cancel the deciding game against Toronto on the final day of the WFTDA regular season due to unsafe track conditions. Eager to prove that they’re up to the challenge, they have scheduled an ambitious but well-paced season and are currently 2-3. Kicking things off with an early February

OHIO NARROWLY SILENCED BY ROC CITY

Barrelling full steam ahead into the season, Ohio Roller Derby hosted Roc City Roller Derby (Rochester, NY) for two incredibly close-scoring games that each saw numerous lead changes and outcomes determined in the closing minutes. (66) OHIO UPSET BY (71) ROC CITY IN NAILBITER, 156-171 Meeting for the first time since 2016, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars and the Roc City Roc Stars fought for every point in a back-and-forth battle, with neither team managing to accumulate a sizeable lead. Six jams ending in a tied score, seven lead changes, and nine jams with matched scoring passes kept all 30 skaters on their toes while fans in attendance steadily raised the volume in the Ohio Building throughout the game. Fast pack speed in the first handful of jams minimized gains on both sides, but a star pass to Betty T. KayO helped Ohio capitalize on the first power jam opportunity in jam 6 and take an 18-14 lead. After the All Stars controlled the clock for three consecutive jams, Florence Fightingale picked up lead jammer status for Roc City in jam 11, but massive hits by Pain Train stalled her progress; meanwhile, Chainsaw took a star pass and hustled through the pack