SANTA CRUZ, CA >> The Steamer Janes hadn’t forgotten the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ 2016 Home Team Championship, when a thrilling two-point last jam cost them the title against the Redwood Rebels. The Janes left nothing to chance Saturday night at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, skating to a definitive 244-93 win over the Rebels.
“Sharing the win of the championship after a season of giving nothing but our best efforts week after week with my Janes felt immense,” said Mary Anderson, aka Xena Morph, the Janes’ MVP jammer. “This year, I rejoined the league after a year break. I felt like a noodle in the wind at first, but after honing my skills to the best of my ability all season, receiving MVP jammer was profoundly rewarding. My heart pretty much exploded.”
The Rebels defense couldn’t prevent the Janes jammers from quickly breaking through their blocker walls to score points, while the Janes defense dominated Rebel jammers. The Janes led 145-22 at the half.
The Rebels came back with renewed vigor in the second half, locking in on defense, but it wasn’t enough to close the enormous gap as the Janes end the season undefeated.
“Even though we didn’t win the championship, we fought hard for every point,” said Carolyn Getschow, aka Rachel SCarson, a rookie on the Rebels who played in her first game at the Civic and earned the MVP blocker award. “I’ve really enjoyed playing offense lately because it finally feels like I’ve started to fit into the team, and the team has a job for me. Skating at the Civic was scary at first, but I really loved the energy of our fans.”
The night started off with a Heroes vs. Villians bout between the league’s junior derby skaters, the Santa Cruz Derby Groms, who feature skaters ages 10-17. Junior skaters are coached by Santa Cruz Derby Girls to play full-contact roller derby. Good reigned over evil with the Heroes cinching the win, 170-132.
The Santa Cruz Derby Groms were also honored for their stellar 2017 season and ranking No. 1 out of 141 teams in the national Junior Roller Derby Association. The Santa Cruz Derby Girls will be expanding its junior derby program to include 7- to 9-year-olds to meet the demand of younger skaters interested in learning skating skills and playing roller derby.
“For me, the Groms program taught me a lot about teamwork, building a leadership role but also teaching me about self-confidence,” said Bella Cariño, aka Juno U. Juana, who will be aging out of the junior derby program. “The team is really close, we really are a second family for each other. This program is a great safe place for us to come together and play our favorite sport. I will be attending school in Monterey but hopefully will join an adult league in the future to continue playing.”
A highlight from the evening was a special presentation by Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Chase proclaiming August 19, 2017 as Santa Cruz Derby Girl Day. The proclamation recognized the All-Stars, the Boardwalk Bombshells, for their climb in the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association rankings to No. 19 out of 332 teams world wide. The All-stars will represent Santa Cruz at playoffs in Dallas on Sept. 22-24.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Lauren Macadaeg ©2017**