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Gotham Girls Roller Derby

2010 WFTDA Championships Wrap-up: GGRD Goes 2-1 and Earns 3rd Place Medals

by: Thomas Gerbasi
November 8, 2010

One Down, Two to Go – Gotham Kicks Off WFTDA Tourney with 151-52 Win
by Thomas Gerbasi

CHICAGO, November 6 – Hitting the track at the unusually early hour of 9:30am on Saturday morning at the UIC Pavilion did prove to be an issue for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars in their quarterfinal bout with the Texas Rollergirls -- at least until the fifth jam came, and the New Yorkers turned an 8-5 deficit into a 15-8 lead. They never looked back from there, holding off the Texans for a 151-52 victory that put them into a semifinal bout with the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls in late-afternoon action on Saturday.

Swede Hurt motors for points vs. Texas in her final weekend with the GGRD All-Stars.  Photo: Chris Chin

Above: Swede Hurt motors for points vs. Texas in her final weekend with the GGRD All-Stars.  Photo: Chris Chin

Rocky Mountain held off a strong effort by Charm City in the day’s second quarterfinal bout, eventually pulling away for a physical 165-103 victory.

The #1 seed from the WFTDA's East Region, Gotham shook off a slow start with a disciplined attack led by elite jammers Suzy Hotrod (69 points) and Bonnie Thunders (56 points). Add in some key defensive stops from their All-Star blocking contingent and an uncanny ability to make their opponents pay for every costly penalty, and Texas was never able to replicate their early success.

Bonnie Thunders slips past Texas' Lucille Brawl with help from Kandy Kakes.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Above: Bonnie Thunders slips past Texas' Lucille Brawl with help from Kandy Kakes.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Down 61-19 after consecutive 10 point jams from Gotham’s Thunders, Hotrod, and Hyper Lynx (19 points), Texas made a late first half run with solid efforts from Bloody Mary, Luce Bandit, and Olivia Shootin’ John, but the 26 point halftime deficit of 65-39 was as close as they would get thanks to a 23 point jam early in the second half from Suzy Hotrod that put Gotham up 90-39.

From there, it was all about maintaining the lead, and while the New Yorkers knew another game was awaiting them, the hits kept on coming, with Papierschnitt, Kandy Kakes, Hard Anya, Fisti Cuffs and Ana Bollocks particularly notable for delivering the hurt to the South Central region’s second seeded team, who earned their spot in the quarterfinals with a Friday win over the Bay Area Derby Girls.

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Gotham Falls to Rocky Mountain in WFTDA Semis, 108-79
by Thomas Gerbasi

CHICAGO, November 6 – The first loss of the 2010 season for the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars came at the worst possible time, as a furious second half rally at the UIC Pavilion wasn’t enough to catch up to the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, allowing the squad from Denver to advance to Sunday’s WFTDA Championship game by a 113-79 score.

But like a great heavyweight championship fight, this battle between the top teams from the WFTDA's East Region and West Region lived up to its advance billing, with Rocky Mountain’s early play putting Gotham in a deep hole, only to see the resilient New Yorkers make a game out of it before running out of time.

Rocky Mountain will face the defending champion Oly Rollers in the WFTDA title bout. Gotham will face their eastern rivals from Philly in the third place match.

Showing no ill effects from a physical game against Charm City earlier Saturday, Rocky Mountain charged out of the gate at the opening whistle, earning lead jammer status in five consecutive jams to build a quick 14-0 lead. Gotham’s Hyper Lynx finally got her team on the board in the seventh jam, but 19 points over two jams from Urrk’n Jerk’n extended Rocky Mountain’s lead to 37-4.

Over the final 11 jams of the first half, Gotham – who opened Saturday with an early morning win over Texas - began getting its game in gear, but were still outscored 38-27, with Suzy Hotrod shockingly being held scoreless as Rocky Mountain went into the locker room with a 75-31 advantage.

Down, but not out, Gotham made some key adjustments at halftime and came out blasting to start half number two, with Hotrod, Bonnie Thunders, and Swede Hurt all taking the lead jammer position as they cut the lead to 80-48. Now within striking distance, and with Hotrod on the board and the crowd firmly in their corner, Gotham appeared to be on the verge of a miraculous comeback, but Rocky Mountain took advantage of lead jammer status in eight straight jams and pulled off their version of North Carolina basketball’s Four Corners, shutting down the Gotham attack while chopping valuable seconds off the clock.

Fisti Cuffs defends Rocky Mountain's DeRanged during the WFTDA Championship Semi-Finals.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Above: Fisti Cuffs defends Rocky Mountain's DeRanged during the WFTDA Championship Semi-Finals.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Gotham, now trailing by a score of 100-54, refused to go down without a fight though, and with blockers Sweet Sherry Pie, Papierschnitt, Donna Matrix, and OMG WTF leading the way, Thunders and Hotrod rallied, scoring a combined 22 points to cut Rocky Mountain’s lead to 24. But the final two jams would leave Gotham short, as Rocky Mountain closed the show with a 13-3 run that sealed the victory and sent them to their first championship bout.

Leading scorers for Rocky Mountain were Urrk’n Jerk’n (60), Frida Beater (25), and DeRanged (23). Gotham’s leading scorers were Bonnie Thunders (36), Suzy Hotrod (21), Swede Hurt (18), and Hyper Lynx (4).

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Gotham Finishes 2010 with Win over Philly and Third Place WFTDA Finish
by Thomas Gerbasi

CHICAGO, November 7 – It wasn’t the final 2010 victory that the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All-Stars ultimately wanted, but they’ll take it, as the New Yorkers bounced back from their Saturday loss to the eventual WFTDA champions, the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls, with an impressive 162-51 win over the Philly Liberty Belles at the UIC Pavilion to earn third place in the 2010 WFTDA tournament.

With the win, Gotham finishes the tourney with a 2-1 record, and finishes 2010 with a stellar 12-1 slate.

Looking like a completely different team than the one that struggled in the first half against Rocky Mountain a day earlier, Gotham fell behind their longtime rivals 5-0, but as soon as Suzy Hotrod evened the score in the fourth jam and Bonnie Thunders gave them the lead 9-5 moments later, it was all New York.

Suzy Hotrod with one of her trademark leaps in Gotham's victory over Philadelphia.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Above: Suzy Hotrod with one of her trademark leaps in Gotham's victory over Philadelphia.  Photo: Steve Stearns

That’s not to say that Philly went away quietly, as they stayed within striking range thanks to strong efforts from Persephone and Elle Viento, but the offensive and defensive cohesion of the GGRD was a sight to see. And whether it was Kandy Kakes, Fisti Cuffs, and Sweet Sherry Pie, a group of Ana Bollocks, Hard Anya, Hela Skelter and Donna Matrix, or Papierschnitt, OMG WTF, and Beatrix Slaughter, everyone played a key role in the bout. Even the jamming contingent of Hotrod, Thunders, Hyper Lynx, and Swede Hurt got into the trenches to hold the Liberty Belles down.

Up 74-26 at halftime following a 29 point burst over two jams by Captain Bonnie Thunders, it would have been easy for Gotham to ease up in the second half, but they kept up the same level of intensity in the final 30 minutes, outscoring their opponents 88-25 while taking lead jammer rights in 14 of the 17 jams. It was a far cry from Gotham’s East regional final win over Philly in September, which saw them hold on for a 30 point win after a late 64-4 surge.

This time, they would not let Philly get their skates under them, and after Thunders surpassed her own record point total with a 108 point performance punctuated by two late jams of 20 and 19 points, the stage was set for the final Gotham jam of longtime All-Star Suzy Hotrod, who is moving out of the New York area following the season. With the crowd chanting her name, the GGRD icon scored four points in the last jam of the game, and along with Hard Anya and Swede Hurt, who were also playing in their final Gotham bout, she fittingly skated away with a well-deserved win.

Leading scorers for Gotham were Bonnie Thunders (108), Suzy Hotrod (50), and Hyper Lynx (4). The Liberty Belles were led by Persephone (26), Elle Viento (15), Mo Pain (6), and Shenita Stretcher (4).

"We're number three!" exhults Hyper Lynx after Gotham's final victory of the 2010 season.  Photo: Steve Stearns

Above: "We're number three!" exults Hyper Lynx after Gotham's final victory of the 2010 season.  Photo: Steve Stearns