Gotham Girls Roller Derby (Madison #1) vs. Rose City Rollers (Columbia #1)
The 2016 WFTDA Championships in Portland, Oregon was the third year in a row in which the Gotham Girls Roller Derby All Stars (Madison #1) of New York, NY, USA would face off against the Rose City Rollers Wheels of Justice of Portland, OR, USA (Columbia #1) in a battle for the Hydra trophy. Gotham took home the gold in 2014 with a three-point win over the Wheels of Justice, but was toppled in 2015 when Rose City became the first team since 2010 to overcome the Gotham All Stars. This year’s rematch was a thrilling contest of strength between two powerful teams, and Rose City—after trailing for most of the game—ultimately came out ahead with a surge in the final minutes of gameplay.
The defending champs ran into jammer penalty trouble early in the game. Lauren Mutch was sent to the box on a forearm penalty in jam 4, providing Miss Tea Maven the opportunity to rack up 10 unanswered points and advance Gotham’s early lead to 21-4. Additional jammer penalties by Jessica Rodriguez in jam 6, Mutch in jam 7, and Scald Eagle in jam 8 allowed Gotham to increase their lead 68-32 with quick footwork from jammers like Shortstop who spun through ruthless Rose packs to notch up more points.
Those Rose walls stymied Gotham’s efforts to run away with high-scoring power jams. Both teams sent powerhouse line ups onto the track—including Sarah Gaither, Hannah Jennings, and Brawn Swanson for Rose and Vanessa Sites, Roxy Dallas, and OMG WTF for Gotham—whose cohesive wall work forced their opposing jammers to battle for every point. The defense was so strong for both teams that in jam 13 of the second half, a lead jammer didn’t emerge until just 17 seconds remained on the clock, when Bonnie Thunders narrowly edged out Lauren Mutch for lead. A late call off allowed Rose to steal 2 points while shutting out Gotham on that jam.
Gotham’s jammers, lead by Bonnie Thunders and Shortstop, continued to bump their advantage as Scald Eagle, Jessica Rodriguez and Lauren Mutch slowly chipped away at the point differential. Incredible line work and powerful, patient pushing helped jammers find success against some of the strongest walls that the WFTDA has to offer.
Gotham retained their lead until the crucial last minutes of the game. A back block by Miss Tea Maven sent Scald Eagle on a 20-point power jam that delivered a 166-158 lead change—Rose City’s first lead of the game. Rose jammers took lead for the next three jams, allowing them to maintain the momentum and control the scoreboard during the final tense jams. The audience at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum erupted as Loren Mutch put up an additional 18 points for Rose City to Gotham’s 4, bringing the score to 184-162.
Scald Eagle faced off against Bonnie Thunders in the final jam of the game. Scald busted through her initial pass for a quick lead jammer status against Bonnie Thunders. After adding another 5 points to Rose City’s lead with a single lap, she waited out the game clock—momentarily forgetting to call the game before celebrating with her team. Gotham tried to call for an additional jam, arguing an unnatural end to the jam, but the officiating crew ruled that there there had been no impact to the gameplay and the score would stand final: 185-166, Rose.
For the second year in a row, the Rose City Rollers won the WFTDA Championship Hydra trophy. Mustachioed Rose City blocker Brawn Swanson, who displayed strong performances on the track all weekend, was named tournament MVP.
Gotham Girls Roller Derby (#1) 166
Rose City Rollers (#3) 185