The Santa Cruz Derby Girls may be competing for the Division II championship spot, but they have already earned the rights to compete in Division I next season. Currently ranked No. 35 in the world by the Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association (WFTDA), the Boardwalk Bombshells climbed its way up from No. 65 at the beginning of the season to break into the top 40 and qualify for a Division I spot.
Last August, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’s Boardwalk Bombshells qualified for the WFTDA Division II National Championship.
With a first place finish in the Division II playoffs in Kalamazoo, Mich., the Bombshells earned a berth to a game this weekend, which will determine if the team will be Division II national champions. Coach Evelyn Drake, aka “Maiden Hades,” said the team still has work ahead of them.
“[We are working on] mainly refining teamwork, communication and all the things we’ve been working on the entire season,” said Drake. “The toughest part about winning the game will be not losing our heads, not letting the stress get to us, being calm, cool and collected on the beach and staying out of the penalty box.”
By achieving those goals, Drake is confident in her team’s ability to earn the top spot in Division II. She says the teams are evenly matched going into the game, and the team that stays calm and penalty-free will win.
They will face off against the Jet City Rollergirls of Everett, Wash., who won the other half of the Division II playoffs in Des Moines, Iowa. The Rollergirls were the No. 5 team in the playoffs and managed three straight wins, including a 218-131 defeat over the No. 1 Fabulous Sin City Girls in the second round to win the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bombshells were the favorite going into the playoffs, and the No. 1 team beat Tri-City Roller Girls 236-231, the NEO Roller Derby 241-135 and the Sac City Rollers 230-185.
On Nov. 10 the Bombshells and the Rollergirls will face off for the first ever WFTDA Division II national championship title. Previously, teams were separated by regions, which made it hard for the Bombshells because the Western League produces the majority of the top teams in the world, Drake said.
“[Splitting up into divisions was] nice for us because it gave us an attainable goal to shoot for,” Drake said. “It lit a fire of competition for the girls in a big way.”