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Toxic Cherries roll over Roller Derby

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette Several members of Keweenaw Roller Derby come together to create a wall to attempt to stop a Traverse City jammer during action Saturday at Dee Stadium.

es of Keweenaw Roller Derby (KRD) knew that they would have their work cut out for them in their Saturday bout with the Toxic Cherries of Traverse City at Dee Stadium. In fact, they came into the night figuring they would probably get beat pretty badly, and they did. However, despite the 277-56 loss, not all was lost according to KRD’s coach Kelly Steelman.

“Traverse City is an exceptional team and, by playing better teams, we are going to get better,” she said. “We have some strong talent here, and we want to develop it by bringing in fierce competitors to push us.”

Keweenaw Roller Derby’s captain Paige Short agreed.

“We invited them (Traverse City) here because they have a skill level that we want to attain,” she said. “Also, their level of sportsmanship is quite high. There is no ugliness on the rink with them.”

The learning curve was apparent from the start as the Toxic Cherries skated their way to a 31-0 lead in the first few minutes. They controlled the lead jam time and time again from the start.

It was not until the seven-minute mark that KRD was able to put some points on the board thanks to their jammer Starbuck, who broke through the pack and put four points on the board.

Steelman noted that years of roller derby experience was on the side of the Toxic Cherries.

“They have a couple of really veteran skaters and several of our lead skaters were out today,” she said.

Starbuck and fellow KRD jammer Smushella DeVil moved the score to 47-21 in favor of the Toxic Cherries at around the 10-minute mark of the first half thanks to some smart skating.

First, Starbuck kept the points coming as she took advantage of a penalty by one of the Toxic Cherries’ jammers. Smushella DeVil then followed as she used her agility and and speed to make her way around the flat-track oval.

However, KRD’s run of points was short lived as the Cherries outscored them 83-9 in remaining few minutes of the first half.

Traverse City’s rolling walls of defense were strong as they would not let KRD’s jammers pass. Traverse City’s veteran jammers such as Edgy Cate and Beatrix Slaughter weaved their way around the the track with ease.

“That was our game plan,” said Traverse City’s captain Liz Macintyre. “We wanted to stay together and control the pace, and I think we did a very good job of that.”

At half time, the Toxic Cherries led 132-32.

The second 30 minutes looked the same as Traverse City piled on the points. However KRD never gave up despite being shorthanded.

“I was very pleased with the effort our ladies gave tonight,” said Steelman. “We didn’t give up.”

She pointed out that the second half gave KRD the opportunity to try out some new jammers. Famke Jams’Em and Luna Stormborn both donned the star cap and gave jamming a try with some success.

“They did great,” added Steelman. “Given our situation, these skaters stepped up and gave it all they could.”

With the loss, KRD moves to 1-2 on the season. The team is very excited about their next bout as they are headed to Thunder Bay, Ontario, for their first international match. It will take place on June 22.

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