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‘World’ Beaters: Durango Roller Girls reign

DRG owns first ’23 home bout, 254-156
The Durango Roller Girls' Stephanie “Quad-ess of Pain” Roberts (42) and Denae “Dolly Benally” Stucka-Benally obstruct an opponent looking to lap them and score during 'DRG & Friends vs. The World' on Saturday at Chapman Hill. With Stucka-Benally celebrating her birthday, the home team dominated in a 254-156 victory. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

With the Durango Roller Girls (and friends) routing their opponent by nearly 100 points on Saturday night, one would have thought the applause they’d earned inside Chapman Hill Ice Arena would have been truly voluminous.

Yet it seemed the conquerors’ ears weren’t exactly rendered ringing.

“Could have been louder … some more cheering and screaming,” observed Cari ‘Aunt Flo’ Flocchini, one of several skaters making their DRG debut. “Were we not putting on a good enough show? I don’t know …. But it was a good turnout.”

“We worked on a couple formations,” fellow January join-ee Katie ‘Skidmark’ Moody said, “but we’re still working on a lot of the fundamentals with everyone, trying to get everyone up to speed.”

Unfortunately for the opposing out-of-town collective called simply ‘The World,’ the Roller Girls proved swift studies.

The Durango Roller Girls' “Atomic” speeds past a fallen opponent during 'DRG & Friends vs. The World' Saturday at Chapman Hill. The visitors were overwhelmed 254-156. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

After a relatively even start in the first 30-minute half – including a scoreless opening two-minute jam session – in which the designated visitors actually managed to pull even, 11-11, with 26:50 left, the black-and-white blew the bout wide-open – permitting spectators to sink into their seats rather than perch on their front edges.

Before some had even scored their first beverage, Durango had gained a 39-14 advantage and quickly increased it to 63-14 with an even 21 minutes remaining. Ninety seconds and a productive Moody jam later, the lead was 83-14. The World wouldn’t interrupt the home team’s scoring run until parlaying a penalty called against Roller Girl Kendel ‘Cox Blocker’ Teran into two power-jam points chipping the DRG lead down to 97-16.

With 10:10 to go, the Roller Girls’ rampage first reached triple digits, 135-34. When halftime mercifully gave the guests a badly-needed respite, the DRG were up 183-62 – despite popular veteran Kelsey ‘Eager Beaver’ Beaver serving as an assistant coach while resting a right ankle wracked during a recent practice.

“We have a lot of fresh players, so I think the tension was high,” Flocchini said. “But we pulled through and worked so well as a team; I think everyone was pretty impressed with how well we did.”

Durango eclipsed 200 points with about 22:15 remaining in the second half. The World finally broke 100 with 18:20 left – but still trailed 215-103 at that moment. Ramping up their own physicality, The World actually outscored DRG 45-19 during the next 13:45 and approached as close as 234-148 with 4:35 to go.

Stephanie ‘Quad-ess of Pain’ Roberts and Celeste ‘D’Cell Punk’ Hanson-Weller responded, helping DRG rack up 16 points in the ensuing three jams while surrendering only four. Moody was unable to add to the 250-152 margin in her last try as jammer, but the home team did tack on four points during the final minute, avoided any sort of disaster during the closing seconds as The World did what they could with a power jam, and DRG cruised to a 254-156 victory.

“They just had to start when the whistle goes and immediately, like, come together and be coordinated without having practiced together ahead of time. And with how many ‘power jams’ they got, I thought they did a really good job of staying coordinated and communicating,” Moody said, acknowledging The World’s resolve.

“It was getting a little scrappy at the end, for sure,” she continued. “But yeah, we were really … pleased with how it turned out. Everyone got to play.”

“The other team came back with harder hits in the second half,” Flocchini agreed. “I got popped around a couple times – my jaw’s a little sore, actually – but that’s OK. It’s all part of it, and I think everybody gave it their all.”

Up next, the Roller Girls will host the Salida-centered Ark Valley High Rollers on Aug. 5.

“They’re solid,” said Flocchini. “A lot of us, like, went and did a workshop over there with them, and they’re tight. So, yeah, we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

“They’re like our ‘sister’ team – maybe our ‘rival’ team – so we know them, and kind of know what to expect,” Moody said. “But they’re also really strong so it’ll be intense.”

The Durango Roller Girls' Cari “Aunt Flo” Flocchini tries skating inside an opponent's check attempt during 'DRG & Friends vs. The World' on Saturday at Chapman Hill. Durango overwhelmed the visitors, 254-156. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)