SANTA CRUZ >> The Santa Cruz Derby Girls rolled into their tenth year as Santa Cruz County’s flat track roller derby league on Saturday with a double header featuring the league’s junior derby team and Santa Cruz’s All-Stars, the Boardwalk Bombshells, at the Civic Auditorium. The Bombshells opened the season with a definitive 189-95 win over Bay Area Derby’s ShEvil Dead and the Santa Cruz Derby Groms smashed Merced’s California Mayhem 583-11.
“We had a ton of energy tonight and we saw great things that we’ve been working on come alive today,” said Bombshells Coach Erica “Casserole” Boehnlein. “I am really excited about this team. Along with our veteran skaters, we have former Groms who have aged up and some transfers that are filling out the team and bringing a fresh perspective. Everyone is really gelling. We have what we need and we have the dedication and energy for success. This is our year to make it to the WFTDA championships.”
The Bombshells quickly took control of the game when they capitalized on a power jam and gained a 20 point lead. The slow grinding Bombshell defense kept ShEvil jammers contained, opening up the lead to 65 points 15 minutes into the bout. A power jam for SheEvil shifted momentum as they start chipping away at the score, closing the gap to 98-56 going into halftime. Penalty trouble for ShEVil in the second half diminished any chance for a come back and the Bombshells continued showcasing well oiled teamwork and devastating hits to end the game 189-98.
It was Athena “Hermione Danger” Meyer’s first game as a Bombshell, graduating up from the junior derby program last year. “It was definitely nerve wracking at first,” Meyer said. “I was anxious because I felt like I had to show what the Grom program got me ready for. Playing in the adult league is a lot different ... But the moment I got out there it all dissipated and I felt calm and collected to do the best I could. We had a great turnout and it’s amazing to have such a large home team crowd there to pump you up.”
The season opener began with the Santa Cruz Derby Groms showing why they are ranked number one in the nation by the Junior Roller Derby Association in a dominating 583-11 win over California Mayhem from Merced. Santa Cruz’s junior derby team displayed cohesive teamwork and relentless competitive drive in each jam.
“Since our team made it to the Championship game last year in July, we have been using the last several months to prepare and integrate our newest skaters into the team,” said Chris “Neoscorin” Kerr. “Today was a test as we head into our games versus other teams in the top 10. Our goal is maintain our No. 1 ranking and perform well over the whole season and make it to the junior roller derby championships in July.
The Santa Cruz Derby Girls are ranked at No. 23 in the world by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association. Teams compete throughout the season to increase rankings for a spot in the WFTDA Championship every fall, which brings together the highest-ranking roller derby leagues in the U.S. and abroad to win the sport’s highest honors.
Catch the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ next game Saturday, April 21, at the Civic Auditorium.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Adam Freidin ©2018**