The Blue Ridge Roller Girls, Asheville’s flat track roller derby team, won three straight games last weekend in their division playoff tournament in Witchita to win a spot to play in the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby championships in November in Portland.
It was a remarkable run for the Blue Ridge Roller Girls, who came into the Division 2 playoffs seeded seventh among 10 teams. With excellent offense, the Blue Ridge Roller Girls mowed down the Carolina Roller Girls, the Houston Roller Derby and the Nashville Rollergirls. Two of those teams were the second- and third-ranked teams in the tournament (Houston and Nashville, respectivally. Carolina was ranked 10th.)
The Blue Ridge Roller Girls went on to play the fourth-ranked Brandywine Roller Derby Belligerents (based in Downington, Pa.) in the final. It was nip-and-tuck early, but the Brandywine team, with top-notch defense, eventually suffocated the Blue Ridge team for the victory.
Dr. Octopushy, the Blue Ridge Roller Girl’s jammer, scored 31 points in the playoff final and racked up 288 points total, making her the tourney’s top-scoring jammer. She was named tournament MVP.
Here’s a snippet from the official recap of the Blue Ridge Roller Girls’ playoff final against the Belligerents, posted at wftda.com:
Brandywine took lead jammer in the first jam, but it was Blue Ridge that followed up the initial lead with 10 total points in subsequent passes. That 10-point gain paved the way for the team to go up early over Brandywine, all the way through the first 10 minutes of the game. The run was due in part to the blocking power and persistence from Blue Ridge’s Coma N. Ducer, Dixie Kicks, Brutal, and Pocahotmess; the group held Buenos D. A$$ to a full stop while their jammer grabbed points. After putting on the star twice and failing to gain lead, Blue Ridge’s Dr. Octopushy took lead during the third jam for her team, proving that the third time is the charm. She scored 13 points during her third jam – the game’s seventh – and put up one of four total double-digit scoring runs throughout the first period.
The great showing for the Blue Ridge Roller Girls means that they will go to Portland to play for third place in all of Division 2.
It is also especially sweet considering that the Blue Ridge Roller Girls are celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Their mission is “to actively create, promote, and sustain an environment that fosters strength, courage, vitality, and the empowerment of women in the roller derby sport, ” according to a press release from earlier this year. They’ve “rolled local” in Asheville since 2006 and have been full members of WFTDA since 2012, according to the release.
Over the years, the sport has changed and become more technical and more athletic, according to the same release, and less about big hits and fishnet tights.
The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association is the international governing body for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby and a membership organization for leagues to collaborate and network. The WFTDA sets standards for rules, seasons, and safety, and determines guidelines for the international athletic competitions of member leagues. There are currently 369 WFTDA member leagues and 76 affiliated leagues in the WFTDA Apprentice program worldwide. The WFTDA is governed by a five-member, volunteer Board of Directors and managed by an executive director.
The Blue Ridge Roller Girls are selling T-shirts to raise money for their big Portland trip.