The Santa Cruz Derby Girls kicked off their eleventh season with two nail-biting bouts Saturday at the Civic Auditorium. The local league’s Seabright Sirens faced off against Sacramento Roller Derby’s Bruin Trouble, and a Santa Cruz Derby Girls All-Star exhibition game pitted Santa Cruz’s top 30 skaters against each another.
It was Kelly Mack’s — aka Judy Boom — first game with the Santa Cruz Derby Girls, and she was voted most valuable player thanks to some clutch jamming that won the game versus Sacramento in the final seconds.
“Sitting center track at the Civic and hearing the clang of the cowbell and cheering fans was a rush; it definitely contributed to the game intensity,” Mack said. “Earning a spot in the Santa Cruz jammer rotation has been a thrill; playing with blockers who are so skilled at offense makes my role much more fun. Besides winning the bout and playing for my family, meeting the Girl Scouts after the bout was a highlight. They caught the roller derby fever, and I can’t wait to see them at our next bout.”
Sacramento quickly pulled ahead in the first minutes of the game with a 30 point lead. Halfway into the first half, Santa Cruz began closing the gap to tie up the game 68-68. Sacramento swiftly capitalized on Santa Cruz penalty trouble, gaining an 18 point lead. Santa Cruz adjusted to reign in their penalties and chipped away at the Sacramento lead when Santa Cruz jammer Mack executed a timely 16 point jam, putting Santa Cruz in the lead 102-92 at the half. In the second half, Sacramento climbed their way ahead again, but Santa Cruz kept the score within eight points. With three minutes remaining, the game was tied 168-168, and in the penultimate jam Sacramento jumped ahead by 8 points 166-174. In the final jam with one minute left on the clock, Mack scored 9 points to win the game for Santa Cruz in a thrilling one point victory 175-174.
Sirens Captain, Megan Alpine — aka Megan MeAngry said, “Winning against Sacramento was an awesome way to start the season. Our Sirens did a great job playing together and adapting our strategy throughout the game. We have an amazing season ahead of us!”
The Santa Cruz All-Stars were split into Team Blue versus Team White for an exciting battle of an All-Stars exhibition game. Team Blue dominated the start of the game, holding Team White scoreless for several jams. Team White mixed up their jammer rotation, putting in Claire McCoy, aka Ace Wenchura, who scored 20 points and changed the momentum for Team White, leaping ahead by 13 points at halftime. Both teams exchanged the lead through the second half, with Team White ahead by 2 points and one minute left in the game. In the final jam, Madison Murphy, aka Madi Masochist, scored four points for Team Blue to secure the win 116-114.
The Santa Cruz Derby Girls continues its rise, competing for international rankings, and are currently sitting at No. 16 out of 350 leagues in the world by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). Teams compete throughout the season to increase rankings for a spot in the WFTDA Championship each fall, which brings together the highest ranking roller derby leagues in the US and abroad to win the sport’s highest honors.
Catch the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ next game at the Civic Auditorium on Saturday, May 4th.
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Adam Freidin ©2019**