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Durango Roller Girls set for first full WFTDA season

Durango Roller Girls eye improvement in first fully sanctioned season

Achieving Women’s Flat Track Derby Association certification drove the Durango Roller Girls the last few years.

After completing the WFTDA apprenticeship program, the league finally achieved full certification last July.

Certification brought privileges and pressure to maintain a certain level of decorum and quality.

“Everything is a much tighter ship. Everything has to be more organized, everything has to be by the book, otherwise there’s a penalty to pay,” said Shaheen Hood, aka Shotgun Shaheen. “It makes us be better at what we’re doing. It makes us pay attention to what we’re doing and be more dialed.”

The DRG wasn’t eligible for the league’s rankings last season, only playing two out of the required three fully sanctioned WFTDA contests. The team opened this year at the Mayday Mayhem in early May in Loveland and the DRG sits at No. 179 out of 254 certified leagues.

“We played four teams that are all ranked much, much better than us. We held our own,” Hood said. “In a lot of them we beat the projected score, and we even won one of the games. It was really, really hard. It was a big punch to our season to have four games in one weekend. It was crazy.”

The DRG dialed back that intensity for its first home bout of the year, an intra-leage contest between the newly christened Animas Argonauts and Santa Ritas on Saturday.

The league was able to bring back the institution of multiple home teams because of an increase in participation in the last year or so.

“Our league is growing. We have a lot more girls, a lot more interest,” said Vanessa Myko, aka Vandetta. “Our scrimmages are a lot more competitive. We’re able to play full-contact, and it’s a whole lot harder.”

They also provide opportunities for new skaters to see the track more often and improve under the direct guidance of veterans.

“It’s such a complex sport. There’s so much going on,” said Kelsey Edens, aka Jean Schwartz. “If you’re not doing something, you’re doing something wrong.”

Edens has been skating since last June and used the scrimmage to work on her jamming.

“When you only have an ‘A’ team, you put your best lineup out constantly, and maybe the new players aren’t going to get as much playing time. When you play against each other, it’s a harder game because we know each other’s moves so it’s equal playing ground and equal play time,” Hood said. “The newer skaters get more play time and more experience. It helps the new guys to continue to improve and continue to grow.”

The goal, eventually, is to have skaters like Edens working with the Derailers, the DRG’s all-star team that travels and hosts the WFTDA-sanctioned bouts.

Their first home bout of the season will be at 7 p.m. Saturday at Chapman Hill against the El Paso Tex Pistols.

The Derailers beat El Paso 316-69 last season and will need another blowout to maintain their ranking.

“We are currently ranked higher than them, and because we’re ranked higher, not only do we have to win, we have to win by a lot of points in order to not lose ranking,” Hood said. “That’s going to be a big challenge.”

That ranking means a lot to the Derailers, and they intend to keep it as high as possible.

“That’s why we went WFTDA, so we could play those higher-ranked teams and travel and have them come here. We had a meeting before the season started, and we came up with some team goals,” Mytko said. “We wanted to improve our ranking by 15 and improve our strength factor. We have team goals, and we all agree upon them, and every practice we review our goals. It’s very organized.”


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