D1C: Texas Rollergirls Preview

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MILWAUKEE, WI–We last saw the Texecutioners in action at the Richmond playoffs, where they went three for three and emerged as the #1 seed. Their last bout there was a solid game against a team with nearly as rich a Championships history as them, Philly; the game fell squarely into Texas’ hands shortly before the halftime break and became all but a foregone conclusion by the end.

The 2013 Texas squad has been characterised by team-centric tactics, unmovable walls and persistent lead jammer statuses, and it seems to be turning them into a team to rival Gotham and Bay Area. The Philly game really demonstrated their classic style–playing their game, on their terms, with a good portion of the first period seemingly used to learn how to bend other teams play to their game.

The Texecutioners are always a force to be reckoned with and in recent years have seemed at their strongest come November, with patchy midseason results giving way to dominating performances at Championships.

This year has followed much the same pattern–although their Champs performance, of course, remains to be seen this weekend. In the first half of the year, the Texies put up big wins over Minnesota, Rocky Mountain and Philly–that last at ECDX, where they took a near 250-point drubbing at Gotham’s hands. The side went 1-2 at Golden Bowl III, getting past Denver but falling to both Windy City and Bay Area. That gives them an 8-3 record for the year, with half of those wins coming against fellow Championships-bound teams.

WFTDA lynchpin and living legend Bloody Mary, who has been skating as long as roller derby itself in the current incarnation, was kind enough to lend us her thoughts about this coming Championships.

This is my 11th season of playing roller derby, my eighth championship competition, the fifth year I’ve been seated as WFTDA staff for tournament season–and the absolute most excited I have ever been for WFTDA Championships. I feel like I’m standing on a diving board, bouncing a little to test the spring, and I can feel that this is going to be the most powerful, most graceful, most irresistible dive we have ever made. That “bounce” comes from the WFTDA, and our movement and position this year. There is an energy happening, and a confidence about our mission, and a pride that is inspiring incredible excitement for this moment. WFTDA grew to over 300 leagues this year and this event, featuring 12 teams, is a celebration of those 300 members and apprentices who are bound together worldwide. You can feel the energy humming from all over the world.

The other thing I’m really excited about for this year is junior derby skaters. I started training our Texas Rollergirls juniors this fall and have gotten to know 50 of the most brilliant young women alive right now. It’s awesome seeing the future up close–not just the future of women’s flat track roller derby, but the future leaders and revolutionaries and innovators and athletes of the world. These kids are brilliant and they have five times the heart and ten times the skating genius that I do. I can’t wait to skate for these junior derby skaters, and with them in my heart, at the WFTDA Championships. The first point I put on the scoreboard is for you, Texas Rollergirls Junior League! I am waiting with incredible curiosity to see the women you become, and I think you’re amazing people right this second.

This weekend, we should be able to look forward to some solid tactics as always, with Texas rostering some very reliable veteran skaters. Ambush’s pick for skaters who are worth that extra ounce of recognition: “Olivia Shootin’ John is a force. While lots of attention goes to the flashier players, OJ is steady, powerful and consistent. She is also inspiring. You can’t ask OJ to go 50% or 75%, because she only knows 110%. She is a very special player.

“Also Luce Bandit, who has a zen-like presence on and off the track, and who always keeps herself and her teammates focused, calm, and together. Luce is also, simply put, an incredible blocker.” Of course, the side also boasts the Richmond playoffs’ MVP, Polly Gone.

They are, however, also a team that has had a number of mid-season player entries, with several new Texecutioners having joined the squad in even the weeks since Richmond. As Ambush notes, “We’ve gained a number of talented and experienced skaters – notably, Lucille Brawl re-joined the team, and Bittercup and Stone Her transferred to our league and team. We are very proud of the work that we have done in the past month, and over the course of our season, and viewers can expect to see Texas bring a fierce level of competition this weekend.”

Asked how the team has prepared for this year’s Championships, she responded, “Our game is constantly evolving. I think to play at this level a team must be able to look at itself critically and learn from every single game that they play. When I see footage of our team from earlier this season, even from Playoffs, I see so many areas where we have built out our strategy and collectively developed new skills.”

Texas’ first seeded entry from Richmond wins them a first-round bye, which means they’ll be playing the winner of the first tournament game, the Atlanta / London bout.

Texas Rollergirls Texecutioners

2 Shortcut // 3 Olivia Shootin’ John // 108 Fifi Nomenon // 12 DeBella DeBall // 1600 Barbara Ambush // 19 Molotov M. Pale // 22 Polly Gone // 420 Stone Her // 30 Bloody Mary // 310 Notorious DIE // 319 Headless Highness // 33 Luce Bandit // 5 Smarty Pants // 51 Rosie // 55 Hauss the Boss // 812 Cease Ann Desist // 56 Lucille Brawl // 813 Bittercup // 989 Sarah Hipel

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