The WFTDA posted their February 29th rankings. This month shows no movement in teams 1-39, but that won’t be the case by the end of the month as many teams are kicking off the start of the season with a tournament. Leagues are slowly coming out of the ‘off season’ or wrapping up their home team season, so there have yet to be many competitive, sanctioned games to really have an impact on the rankings.
The last we saw about WFTDA rankings it was November 30th and we were just cooling off from the excitement of Championships in St. Paul. Let’s take a look at who is already causing a stir in 2016, and what sanctioned events are on the horizon to mix things up further.
Nashville kicked off their long 2015 season in January of last year with a 67-point loss to Naptown, their main Midwest rival. Nashville went on to beat them in August with an exciting 24-point win at D2 Playoffs, and now that that previous loss has fallen off their 12-month average, they moved up to #36 by the end of January this year, while Naptown went down to #50. The two teams play each other home and away this season, so we will get to see this rivalry continue.
Emerald City made huge progress in the rankings last season, which resulted in their WFTDA tournament debut at the D2 playoffs in Detroit. They placed 8th after being seeded 3rd, but recently moved up 7 spots to #40, putting them in a good position for the beginning of this season. That rise was due simply to games dropping off from last year since they haven’t had any sanctioned games since Playoffs, but they did take on Rose City’s High Rollers (home team) last weekend, losing 172-120. Last year this time Emerald City won by 4 points so we will have to wait and see what this season will bring for them.
Fort Myers nearly made WFTDA Playoffs two years ago when they first debuted in the rankings, but since then had fallen as far as #104 with some roster turnover. 2016 could be their comeback year, however, since their 505-26 loss to Jacksonville has come off their 12-month history, they moved up 6 spots to now sit at #75.
Last year Helsinki Roller Derby represented Finland at Division 1 playoffs, but this year fellow Finland league, Kallio Rolling Rainbow, may make a mark on the competitive scene as well. Also from Helsinki, Kallio attended Beach Brawl last May and posted 3 high scoring wins there. Between January and February they have moved up 7 places to #79, but we will need to see some more sanctioned play from them this season to see where their trajectory will take them.
At the beginning of last year, the UK’s Rainy City were “Roller Girls” and were ranked #121. In 2016 they revamped their team brand, changed their name to Rainy City Roller Derby, and have risen 11 spots over January and February to #88. (They also documented their re-branding process and are passing along some great tips on their website). If they play as good as the team looks this season, they will be one to keep your eye on.
Also in Europe, Paris has consistently been posting big scores in France and has moved up 25 spots the past two months. Now at #123 and with two wins under their belt in 2016, they may continue their path upwards.
San Fernando Valley Roller Derby went up 27 places over January and February to #89, but part of that could be explained by their games from the Bont Invitational expiring from their ranking average. Founded by Killo Kitty, whose play you may remember from the Jantastic Invitational, they’ve recently notched two sanctioned wins and also lost by 128 points to Angel City’s B-team, the Rocket Queens.
The top 40 teams will finally see some changes by the end of March as Spring tournaments and invitationals have started to take over. The European Smackdown took place the first weekend in March and will definitely have some effects on most of the teams who took part. Crime City and Helsinki had strong games that they will likely benefit from, while Detroit and Glasgow may take a hit from their games. Read more about the European Smackdown in our recap.
That same weekend, March Badness took place in Columbia, South Carolina. After Demolition City suffered two big losses in that tournament, Flat Track Stats put them at #99 in WFTDA. Since placing 3rd at Division 2 Champs last fall, they have experienced some turnover – such as Stepheree and Flex A. Belle reportedly transferring to Tampa – so this may be a rebuilding year for them. With Demolition currently ranked #30, Jet City and Columbia will also likely get a boost from playing them.
This weekend, the Clover Cup takes place in Dallas, Texas where 8 teams will meet to work their way through a seeded bracket through the tournament. #19-ranked Dallas Derby Devils have been hosting this event since 2010, and will be joined by #22 Des Moines United, #32 Sacred City, #35 Kansas City, #37 Arizona, #45 Santa Cruz, #54 Brandywine, and #63 Tucson. With a range of teams from D1 through D2, it could reveal the strengths and weaknesses of these teams in the new year, so keep a close eye on this upcoming tournament.
Also this weekend, #42 Toronto is hosting Quad City Chaos, an invitational in Ontario, Canada that #47 Queen City, #51 Tri-City, unranked Quebec, and #104 Royal City will be there. Toronto is another team to lose many long time all-stars since last season so this weekend could help show where they will land this year.
At the end of the month the Kokeshi Rollerdolls have invited 5 teams to the Japan Open Invitational, in Okinawa, Japan. Many of the teams participating are isolated teams that have had few sanctioned games and are in the lower half of the rankings. The #143 Adeladies from Australia, #219 Copenhagen from Denmark, #260 Devil Dog Derby of Okinawa, and currently unranked Tokyo and Juneau will be joining #224 Kokeshi the weekend of March 25th and 26th.
Later this week we will have a closer look at the Clover Cup and Quad City Chaos, both of which are WFTDA Recognized tournaments, so keep your eyes peeled for more!