HUNTSVILLE, AL — Following in the footsteps of Pikes Peak’s Four Corner Feud mini-tournament in February, which brought together six WFTDA teams from the West Region to battle it out, comes this Saturday’s Rocket City Rumble in Huntsville, Alabama, hosted by the Dixie Derby Girls. This time, six WFTDA teams from the South Central get together for a one-day, five-bout tournament that will serve as a useful warm-up for the WFTDA South Central regional tournament, taking place in Atlanta from September 25th to 27th.
All bouts in the tournament are full-length and WFTDA sanctioned, although the results will not be considered for the upcoming WFTDA rankings that will determine the invitations and seedings for the South Central regional tournament — the rankings quarter ended on June 30.
Atlanta, officially ranked #5 in the region by WFTDA, and Nashville, ranked #7, will have first-round byes. The opening rounds feature Northwest Arkansas (#11 SC) vs Big Easy (#15 SC) and Tampa Bay (#8 SC) vs. Dixie (#16 SC). There will be no third-place consolation bout, but a 30 minute “Ref Jam” featuring both male and female tournament officials between the semifinals and championship bout will afford the finalists an opportunity to catch their breath before the marquee bout.
Noon: #11 SC Northwest Arkansas vs. #15 SC Big Easy
The Killbillies had a big 164-46 win on the young Oklahoma Victory Dolls in February of this year, but their adventures in recent months have ended up with the NWA girls on the wrong side of the outcomes. They’ve gone down big to Fort Wayne in May (119-66) and Kansas City in June (215-63), and also lost a closer bout to No Coast in June, 91-74. That leaves them with a 1-3 record on the year and just hovering on the outskirts of an invite to the South Central regionals, as only the top ten teams from the region will be invited.
Although the girls from New Orleans are one of the oldest teams in the WFTDA, Big Easy hasn’t had a good time of it either on the scoreboards — their last win was in April 2008 against Green Country. In the ensuing 15 months, they’ve lost 8 in a row, most recently a 119-61 loss to Memphis. Their all-time record in WFTDA-sanctioned bouts is a rough 1-10.
The two teams have faced off once before, with NWA coming out on top in a 116-82 meeting in April 2008. The winner here takes on Atlanta in the semifinal round.
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1:30pm: #8 SC Tampa Bay vs. #16 SC Dixie
Tampa Bay has long ruled their state in a somewhat isolated Florida derby scene, laying claim to the unofficial title of Florida State champions with a win in February’s Sunshine Skate tournament. They haven’t had as much success when taking on out of state rivals, though. This year they’ve lost to Nashville in a high scoring 154-142 shootout and Dallas in a 165-82 blowout, but did acquit themselves decently in a 167-116 loss to top-25 Madison at last month’s ECE.
Hosting team Dixie, although one of the original 30 WFTDA leagues, has generally been unable to turn their long experience into wins. They’re still looking for their first win of 2009, sitting on an 0-6 record on the year after losing to Southern Indiana, Naptown, Mississippi, Green Country, Nashville and Hard Knox.
This will be the first meeting between the two teams, with the winner going up against Nashville in the semifinal.
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3pm: #5 SC Atlanta vs. #11 SC Northwest Arkansas or #15 SC Big Easy
Tournament favorites Atlanta have long been hovering just outside of the DNN top 25 Power Rankings, usually defeating unranked teams and acquitting themselves decently against the top 25. They’ve been busy in 2009, putting together a 4-6 record by beating Dominion, Montreal, Memphis and Assassination City while falling to Dallas, Charm City, Texas, Cincinnati, Steel City and Houston. They played two bouts at the recent East Coast Extravaganza in Philly, beating Montreal and losing to Cincinnati.
Led on the jam line by Demi Gore, Thunder Enlighten and Juju, Atlanta features a particularly pounding blocker in Queen Looseyateefa and has an ability to really put the hammer down when they have pack advantages — in their ECE bout against Montreal, they managed to turn a long series of penalty troubles on Montreal into a 58-0 run that put the game away.
Atlanta has never faced either of their potential semifinal opponents, NWA or Big Easy.
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4:30pm: Nashville vs. Tampa Bay or Dixie
Nashville has had a pretty good time of it in 2009 — they hold a 3-2 record on the year, with one of those losses to a very experienced and talented team in Texas home crew Hotrod Honeys, and the other one a narrow 64-59 loss to Fort Wayne. They’ve already taken out three of the six teams in this tournament — Big Easy 211-34, Tampa 154-142, and Dixie 164-64 — so they’ve got to be considered favorites to advance to the championship bout here, though history shows that Tampa Bay could give them some trouble.
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Front page photo: Joe Rollerfan