Preview: The Big O

Preview: The Big O Texas took on Philly in the final in Richmond, taking the title. Photo © Jennifer M. Ramos

Teams from all over the world are flocking to Eugene, Oregon this weekend to take part in the third annual Big O tournament. Hosted by WFTDA #104 Emerald City, the three-day event has grown to attract high level play,and this year, four teams from the WFTDA top 20 are taking part.

Alongside this top level play are Division 1, 2 and 3 matchups, MRDA bouts and junior games. You’ll be able to watch all the action on tracks one and two live online courtesy of a ‘WFTDA.tv Presents’ production by Blaze Streaming Media, WFTDA’s commercial broadcast production provider. We’re also told that the track three action will be filmed and uploaded later, even though it’s not being streamed.

DNN will have volunteers on the ground covering as many of the games as we can, with a focus on those with playoff implications, as well as all the MRDA games.

Texas Rollergirls

WFTDA #3 Texas are the girls who would be queens. The 2013 championship game against Gotham proved Texas a worthy successor to the Hydra throne — they held the score tight for most of the game with a combination of slow, devastating defence and lead jammer strategy that kept point-scoring machine Bonnie Thunders’ track time to a minimum.

Texas’ disciplined defence was at its peak at champs last year — powerhouse blockers Smarty Pants, Polly Gone, Barbara Ambush and Fifi Nomenon combined tight, slow wall work with precise and heavy jammer takedowns that exhausted Terminal, Naptown, Philly, Atlanta, Denver and most of Gotham in tournament season last year.

Alongside these returning blockers are jammers Olivia Shootin’ John, Bloody Mary, Sarah Hipel and Hauss the Boss, who all proved themselves as strong, aggressive jammers with stamina for days last year and will likely do so again this weekend. Texas will undoubtedly be the toughest opponents of the weekend — watch them come up against Kansas City, Philly, Oly and Rose.

Charter

02 Shortcut // 03 Olivia Shootin’ John // 108 Fifi Nomenon // 12 Debella Deball // 1600 Barbara Ambush // 19 Molotov M. Pale // 22 Polly Gone // 27 Peacewar // 30 Bloody Mary // 310 Notorious DIE // 33 Luce Bandit // 420 Stone Her // 5 Smarty Pants // 55 Hauss The Boss // 56 Lucille Brawl // 77 Sinnerfold // 812 Cease Ann Desist // 813 Bittercup // 837 Sandy Ravage // 989 Sarah Hipel


Rose City Rollers

When WFTDA recently updated its rankings calculation, Rose slipped from #4 to #6, rounding off a 2013 season that saw Wheels of Justice be the only top 10 team to not advance to championships last year.

While we haven’t seen any sanctioned play out of Rose since Fort Wayne playoffs in September, Wheels has played one pre-season game already, against the LA Ri-Ettes back in March. Fans can expect to see a lot of familiar faces line up at the Big O, but with many skaters skating by their legal names this year, keep an event program or the Wheels team page handy to match faces to names.

The indomitable Scald Eagle started off her season playing the Team USA Stars vs Stripes game in Dallas, where she was awarded MVP for work like THIS on the track. Eagle will be joined by Loren Mutch (formerly Mutch Mayhem), a tireless fighter who managed to outscore Eagle by eight points in the Ri-Ettes game.

Lining up to block for Wheels will be Team USA’s Mercy Shammah, along with dynamo blockers Megan Moffatt (French Tickler), Scylla Devourer and Belle Starr, who all provide solid defence that can be hard to crack. With a lot to prove since Fort Wayne, expect to see a hungry Wheels of Justice out there as they take on Texas, Philly, Kansas City and Treasure Valley.

Charter

10 Screaming Beaver // 100 Mercy Shammah // 1234 Karen D’Apice (née Napoleon Blownapart) // 127 Jessica Chestnut (née Chest-NutZ) // 1313 Tatty Munster // 1719 Scylla Devourer // 17h The Blast Unicorn // 1889 Jessica Shipley (née Belle Starr) // 2 Megan Moffatt (née French Tickler) // 210 Heidi Go Seek // 243 Genevieve Moore (née Scratcher in the Eye) // 26 Sarah Gaither (née Nacho Lucky Day) // 3 Shevawn Innes (née Mistress of the Knife) // 426 Ripley // 47 Penny Dreadful // 50 Scald Eagle // 5150 Monica Geigle (née Hari Kari) Kari // 523 Jessica Rodriguez (née Licker*N*Split) // 77 Loren Mutch (née Mutch Mayhem) // 934 Jamie True (née JK Rolling)

Oly Rollers

WFTDA #12 Oly Rollers are back after a hiatus from WFTDA play that saw the former Hydra-holders absent at playoffs and championships. This year, they’re set to have three out of four required D1 sanctioned games covered in one weekend – once they play Montreal at home on May 18th, Oly will be eligible for tournament season.

While the Oly roster has some new faces on the team this year, they’re familiar — former Rat City Rollergirl Re-AnimateHer has been splitting her time between coaching and playing for apprentice league Rainier and skating for Oly on their USARS charter; she is now listed on their website as playing both USARS and WFTDA. Meanwhile, another former Rat skater has taken up a spot on Oly — Killah Kelly transferred earlier this year and was part of the Oly side that played a friendly game against Rainier this past weekend (Oly won 423-13).

Oly stalwarts Sassy, Tannibal Lector, Lindsey LoBlow and Lil Tonka are returning to the WFTDA track, as is Onda Sligh, who recently sharpened her WFTDA skills at Spokarnage for pick-up team Outrageous Pussy Power. Controversial transfers DeRanged, Psychobabble and Ecko are not listed on Oly’s website. With no recent games to go off, Oly’s performance this weekend is hard to predict. What we do know is this: if Oly has retained its level of play and is under-ranked as they take on Texas, Philly, Terminal and Treasure Valley, their opponents could be set for a rankings blow just by playing them.

We have reached out to Oly to determine who will be skating for them this weekend in the absence of a recently-updated WFTDA charter, but are yet to hear back. The below charter is the most up-to-date on record, but should be taken with a pinch of salt; we’ll update if we hear more.

Charter

08 Dainty Dizaster // 13 Chica Chula // 1313 Whamsday Addams // 18 Reeces Tear Ya To Pieces // 1972 Ecko // 2 Sassy // 21 Psycho Babble // 27 DeRanged // 28 Blonde N’ Bitchin’ // 2X Scara Ta Death // 3 Lil Tonka // 4 Knuckleberry Finn // 5050 Blasian Invasion // 5150 Mad Medic // 52 Lindsey LoBlow // 66 On Da Sligh // 7 Hockey Honey // 8 D-Bomb // 89 Snickerbrutal // 9 Tannibal Lector


Philly Rollergirls

The 2013 tournament season was an interesting one for Philly, now ranked #19 in WFTDA. The Liberty Belles made it all the way to Championships, but not without a few bumps in the road — close wins against Steel, Montreal, Ohio and a one-point overtime jam clincher against Windy at ECDX set the tone for Richmond playoffs, where they squeaked out an unexpectedly close win against Kansas before pulling it together to stomp Angel and lose a close race against Texas.

At champs, old foes Windy City avenged their one-point loss, knocking Philly out of the competition. Philly’s strength lies in the hands of its veterans, who have not only maintained a high level of skill and intensity while playing, but have also been able to bring newer skaters such as Tarantula up to speed quickly during rebuild years. While defensive lynchpin Shenita Stretcher will be missing this weekend, Heavy Flo, Persephone and double threat Teflon Donna will be there to cover all bases; Teflon is likely to be a particular asset if a final jam Hail Mary is required.

On the jam line, Vanessa Sites (V-Diva) and Clam Jammer are the most likely to rack up points, with Devoida Mercy also likely to don the star. The roster is also bolstered by Gotham transfers Brazilian Nut and Anne Frankenstein, who could make this weekend very interesting for the ladies in blue. Look out for Philly as they take on Rose, Kansas, Oly and Texas.

Charter

06 Mishel Castro (Violet Temper) // 15 Persephone // 16 Brazillian Nut // 18 VanEssa “V-Diva” Sites // 1818 Anne Frankenstein // 247 Devoida Mercy // 357 Trixie Trauma // 401 Tarantula // 44 Fully Addomatic // 527 Heavy Flo // 609 HotRod Hussy // 67 Slamshine Allie // 7 Clam Jammer // 80 Pop A Roach // 85 Teflon Donna // 86 Whacks Poetic // 88 Dawn K Kong // 957 Ginger Vitis // 99 Russian Bayou // UH0H ZipBlok


Others to watch

Despite only being ranked #97 in WFTDA, Edinburgh, Scotland team Auld Reekie are the #1 ranked team in the UK and the #2 ranked team in Europe. While their current WFTDA ranking will severely hamper their chances of going to playoffs this year, three convincing wins this weekend when they come up against #82 Arizona, #104 Emerald and #39 Sac could put them closer to being in the running.

WFTDA #82 Arizona will also be one to watch, due to the return of Atomatrix. Atom was part of the Tent City Terrors in 2012, before transferring back to Oly Rollers for the 2012 tournament season during what was dubbed “transfergate”. With Atom back on side, games against #83 Silicon, Auld Reekie and the unranked Kokeshi (from Okinawa, Japan), could be an interesting watch. The relative lowliness of their opposition (none of whom are likely to have seriously gained in the rankings since the last release) will make serious climbing hard, even with their firepower.

MRDA action

MRDA games at The Big O are dominated by Pacific Northwest teams, including both Salem and Portland, whose skaters share a home team season. Joining them are locals Lane County Concussion, and four returnees from last year’s Big O – Drive-By, Arizona, Deep Valley and Puget Sound. Just as it’s always fun to watch Rat take on Rose, the final matchup of the weekend – Puget vs Bridgetown – is likely to be a solid game.

You can expect full recaps of all the MRDA-sanctioned action from DNN’s new MRDA Editor, Julia Childless.

Junior games

Some of the West Coast’s best juniors are traveling to The Big O to go head-to-head. The force of the I-5 Rollergirls will be hard to match, having time and time again beaten close competitors such as the Galaxy Girls and Portland Rosebuds. Also in attendance will be the local Emerald City Gems, the Lava City Cinder Kittens from Bend, the Gromshells from Santa Cruz, and the Redwood Saplings from Eureka.

Schedule and live links

For more information on The Big O itself, head to thebigotournament.com. The full schedule and the live stream pages can both be found over on Emerald City’s Big O site.