The Appalachian Roller Girls ended their first home bout on May 1, with two smashing wins from both the A-team and B-team.
This was the team’s first home game for the 2016 season. The ARG consists of two teams, similar to a varsity and junior varsity squad. The A-team is the Appalachian Rollergirls All-Stars and the B-team, the Boone Shiners.
Roller girl Jennifer Pillow said the best way to describe ARG is by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association motto.
“Strong, athletic and revolutionary,” Pillow said.
To begin the bout, the All-Stars lined up at the starting point along with their opponents, Dominion Derby Girls, from the Hampton Roads region in Virginia.
Suzzanne Samples, an ARG player, said they watched a live feed of Dominion the night before and took notes on their strategy in preparation for their home bout.
ARG took the lead shortly after the match began. However, every time ARG would get a lead, Dominion’s score would slowly creep up as well. Dominion, still lagging behind in score, took the lead jammer position right before the end of the first half.
As a result of ARG’s blocker strategy, they were able to knock the Dominion jammer down. The lead jammer called off the jam time so that ARG’s jammer would not score any more points. The half ended 87-73, ARG.
Dominion owned the second half when Dominion’s “Khristal Meth,” her nickname, got a 20 point jam. Next, “Irish U Luck” gave ARG another run for their money when she made a 30 point jam bringing the score to 98-122 with Dominion in the lead.
“Our teams not going to give up, we have this saying, ‘we never tire,’” Samples said. “Even if you know it comes down to the last second and we’re behind, there’s a chance we can come back.”
Ending the bout, ARG was losing 134-169. With one minute left the crowd began cheering and ARG player Patricia Ybanez took the place of the lead jammer. Ybanez could only score five points during each jam time, but that did not limit her. The clock ran out but Ybanez and her blockers were able to score a 35 point jam to win the game 173-171.
The Boone Shiners’ bout was no less exciting. Eleven minutes into the game the Boone Shiners gained two 30 point jams and brought to the score to 81-7 against the Mayhem Maydens, from Waynesville. The Boone Shiners owned the game, never letting the Mayhems get ahead. Unfortunately, towards the beginning of the second half, one of Mayhem’s players, “Porkee,” was injured and brought to the hospital.
“It’s not a matter of if you get hurt, it’s when,” Samples said.
The Mayhems were able to recover from their missing player and continued the game. There was an increase of star passes, the process of when a jammer gets too tired and chooses to hand her star cap to the pivot who then becomes the new jammer.
With two minutes left, the Boone Shiners broke 300 points. The bout ended with the Boone Shiners taking the victory 319-108.
After the games, the crowd was cheering loudly for both teams. Cynthia Weathers, a local and ARG fan, admired how unified the ARG was as a team and to the Boone community.
“[Appalachian Roller Girls] have made the most tremendous influence on our community,” Weathers said.
Story by: Juliet DeRienzo, Sports Reporter
Photos courtesy of Kevin Gordon