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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

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 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

OHIO DOMINATES AT PUT UP YOUR TOQUES INVITATIONAL

While multi-game tournament weekends already present a unique set of obstacles - increased fatigue, unfamiliar track surfaces, special attention to hydration and nutrition, playing earlier or later in the day than usual - adding international travel into the equation can create extra hurdles, particularly for U.S. teams that don’t necessarily do so often. Undaunted by any of the challenges presented, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars crossed the northern border and skated their way to three decisive victories in less than 48 hours. LAST JAM UPSET OF ORANGEVILLE, 191-183 Ohio opened the tournament with a back-and-forth battle against (69) Orangeville, swapping lead ten times and eking out a last-jam victory. An initial power jam allowed Ohio to control momentum and gain small handfuls of points over the first five minutes of play before Orangeville forced the first lead change in jam 5, 12-16. BrussKnuckles fired back in jam 7, spinning through the pack to pick up 18 points and boost Ohio to a narrow 30-28 lead. A tug-of-war for lead ensued; Birch Slap quickly juked through the pack and avoided jammer defense for 7 uncontested points, but a 4-1 pack advantage for Orangeville in the following jam left little resistance against Gruesome Gracie

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

OHIO DEBUTS PROMISING START TO FOURTEENTH SEASON

Returning once more to their home track after a long off-season, Ohio Roller Derby welcomed perennial adversaries Toronto Roller Derby to Columbus, playing two action-packed games for a nearly sold-out crowd. (64) OHIO BREAKS (58) TORONTO WIN STREAK, 150-121 Aiming to both maintain a perfect record against Toronto and disrupt their 13-game win streak, the Ohio Roller Derby All Stars rolled with multiple lead changes in the first half before tightening defense, committing to a core veteran jammer rotation, and denying points in crucial moments to secure their victory. Both teams spent the first few jams feeling out one another’s defense, swapping a scant handful of points. A penalty on the Toronto jammer allowed Catch Mikachu to make the first bold move for Ohio and pick up 12 points in jam 6; Toronto responded with back-to-back shutout power jams, posting 24 points for the first lead change of the game. Quick offense helped BrussKnuckles to snag lead and a quick 4 points, but momentum ground to a near halt in jam 11 as Bigg Rigg and Monster Muffin each fought immovable walls. Mikachu swung the momentum back in Ohio’s favor with a second lead change, posting a 13-0 gain while the home defense

OHIO GAINS EXPERIENCE IN INTERNATIONAL PLAY AT ROYAL BRAWL

While short rosters proved an extra hurdle in Ohio’s path to victory over Memorial Day weekend, both the All Stars and Gang Green challenged themselves and found other successes on the track at the Royal Brawl invitational in Guelph, ON, Canada. Endurance training paid off as skaters played in as many as five games over two days, and utilizing newer talent on both teams allowed for creativity in shifting roles and pack dynamics. SATURDAY: ROYAL CITY AND E-VILLE Gang Green opened the action at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre on Saturday morning against the Royal City Rum Rollers (Guelph, ON, CA). While obtaining lead less often than they would have liked in the first half, Ohio jammers chased down their opponents, forcing short jams and quick call offs. Birch Slap picked up the first lead of the game, but double jammer penalties and a subsequent power start allowed the Royal City B team to quickly open a 32-point lead. Avocado ToeStop, Kegel Scout, and Belle A. Trix clumped up to contain Harley Twin while Just Jane grabbed lead status and the first four points for Gang Green. After a successful official review halfway through the first period landed the Rum Rollers jammer

OHIO HANGS TOUGH AGAINST CHARLOTTESVILLE

Rolling into the second half of their home season, Ohio Roller Derby welcomed Charlottesville Derby Dames (Charlottesville, VA) for an evening of exciting, closely-contested derby action on May 12th. (51) OHIO FALLS SHORT AGAINST (42) CHARLOTTESVILLE, 108 - 165 The All Star game showed itself as a battle of grinding defense early in the first period, with both sides denying any significant point gain and hovering within easy striking distance through halftime. Fighting to establish an initial advantage, BrussKnuckles posted the first four points in jam two, but a power jam for Charlottesville permitted a 5-0 gain and the first of five lead changes. Bigg Rigg flipped the balance in jam four, eking out two points before three lead jammer calls in a row allowed the Virginia squad to retake the lead and begin building on it. Held scoreless for four jams, Ohio offered Charlottesville similar treatment with quick call offs, and jam eleven brought progress to a halt as both jammers spent two full minutes fighting tenacious defense without ever completing their initial passes. While Betty T. KayO forced Gemmatron out of bounds and back to the rear of the pack, Bigg Rigg slipped out to snag lead status and twelve unanswered

TOUGH HOME TRACK LOSSES TO ANN ARBOR

Continuing their home season endeavor, Ohio Roller Derby returned to the track to tackle Ann Arbor Roller Derby (Ann Arbor, MI) on Saturday, April 7th. (47) OHIO ALL STARS STRUGGLE TO HOLD (41) ANN ARBOR BRAWLSTARS, 97-274 The highly anticipated rematch between the closely-ranked teams was slated to be one of the toughest games on Ohio’s schedule, and a short roster proved an extra hurdle, but the home team remained positive and determined to play their best together. A forearm penalty assessed to the Ann Arbor jammer in the first minute of the game allowed Pain Train to post the first 5 points for Ohio and maintain a narrow lead until jam four, when an 18-0 run catapulted the Brawlstars to a lead they would continue to hold. Taking advantage of strong pivots Kitty Liquorbottom and Betty T. KayO, Ohio employed star passes to eke out quick scoring passes and stay within striking distance. While the Michigan squad looked to expand their 45-15 lead on a power jam, Zee “Loraine Acid” Gulertekin frustrated their jammer for the full thirty seconds before forcing her into a penalty; Pain Train hustled through the pack for 6 points while Jesse “Ava Tarr” Fox and Jessica Rabid