Now that we have entered June, teams will be battling to secure their spots for the WFTDA tournament season. This year it will be a tougher fight with the amended tournament structure as just the top 36 teams will make Division 1 Playoffs and the next 16 will make up Division 2.
May had a lot going on and gave us our first look at many top-level roller derby teams, making this ranking release a telling one as we head into the homestretch before the June 30th cutoff. From the Big O in Eugene, Oregon to many important single games around the globe, there are some big movements to highlight.
Seeing the Victorian Roller Derby League (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) on the track for the first time since taking the top spot in the WFTDA rankings showed that it wasn’t an arbitrary move. Giles had a reduced presence on the track, perhaps due to her departure from VRDL and the country after the Big O, but they didn’t skip a beat at the Big O last month.
In a rematch with Rose City, Victoria’s ability to seal the edges of the track and constantly provide offense for their jammers helped them win by 64 points after losing to the Wheels of Justice by just three points at 2016 WFTDA Champs. This was also a larger win margin than VRDL’s win against Rose at last year’s Big O. (Check out our look at the teams that attended the Big O this year, and their results.)
Gotham Girls Roller Derby (New York, NY, USA) holds onto the #2 spot making them and Victoria the only teams with a rankings average over 1,000 points. The Rose City Rollers (Portland, OR, USA), two-time WFTDA Champions, are still stuck in 3rd but with a five-time Champion in Bonnie Thunders. Their point scoring relies heavily on her and Loren Mutch, and although they beat both Denver and Minnesota at the Big O, they showed they could be beaten with a tough loss against Victoria.
The only movement in the top ten was a small swap between two teams, Angel City Derby (Los Angeles, CA, USA) moving up one to #4 and Texas Rollergirls (Austin, TX, USA) taking a step down to #5. Creeping up slowly but surely to the top are a handful of European teams with Crime City (Malmö, Sweden) at #11, Helsinki (Finland) at #14 and Rainy City (Manchester, UK) at #16.
At their first Big O trip, Crime City had two sizeable wins, a 2-point squeaker against Rat City (Seattle, WA, USA), and their one loss came against Arch Rival (St. Louis, MO, USA), who are only two spots higher than them now, 223-128. Helsinki was also in Eugene and went undefeated with four wins, Rat City coming the closest to them 177-126. Rainy City didn’t actually play in May, but their four-spot increase was likely due to games from last year’s Beach Brawl dropping off.
Last season, Montréal (QC, Canada) was the only team to make WFTDA Championships that wasn’t in the top 12, and they fell as low as #19 by the end of 2016. A strong showing at Tiny Tourney in Atlanta, Georgia gave them three wins, including a 21 point victory against #10 Jacksonville (Florida, USA). They did take one loss, but it was a close finish at 182-175 against Atlanta (Georgia, USA) who they now sit just beneath in the rankings.
Taking on Montréal earlier this season was Queen City (Buffalo, NY, USA), who played a strong game in March and lost 233-130. They’ve picked up three wins since then, however, with May providing them victories against Boston (Massachusetts, USA) and Ohio (Columbus, OH, USA). A 68-point win sent the Boston Massacre down six spots and a 304-96 game took Ohio down into D2 territory at #43 all while Queen saw a jump of eight spots to #19. The Queen City Furies have attended Division 1 Playoffs the last two season but both times as the #9 seed. If they can push up one more spot to #18 by the end of June, they’ll enter Playoffs in the top half of a D1 bracket.
2×4 Roller Derby (Buenos Aires, Argentina) will be the first South American team to make it to WFTDA Playoffs with the games they’ve played so far, and Division 1 at that. The April rankings saw them jump 24 spots to #19 but after the Big O things evened out a bit and they fell four spots to #23. They had one win against Boulder County (Boulder, CO, USA) by 185 points, came within 5 points of Windy City (Chicago, IL, USA) and lost to Helsinki 203-113. Also seeing a drop after the Big O was Terminal City (Vancouver, BC, Canada) who now rests at #27. They had a hard time putting up points against Crime City and Texas but won 191-146 against Windy City.
Philly (Philadelphia, PA, USA) had a rough start to the season with losses to Minnesota (St. Paul, MN, USA) and Denver (Colorado, USA), but they’re back on their way up after playing at Tiny Tourney. With closer games aginst top ten teams and a win over Tampa (Florida, USA), the Liberty Belles moved up four spots to #24. Unfortunately, the Tampa Tantrums saw three losses that same weekend, although one was a close 3-point game against Rat City, and they moved down to #20.
Jumping into the top 36 this month is Windy City who went 2-2 at the Big O and came within 60 points of Helsinki. Later in the month they also took on the Mad Rollin’ Dolls (Madison, WI, USA) and won 200-145. Just edging into D1 territory is Charlottesville (Virginia, USA) at #36 after a 318-104 win against now #87 Mother State (Richmond, VA, USA), but they also took on a falling Steel City in April, so we’ll have to wait and see where they end up by the end of June.
Sun State (Browns Plains, QLD, Australia) had some games from last season fall off which boosted them seven spots to #25. It wasn’t until the first weekend in June at the FINvitational that we saw much from them on the track, so we will have to wait until the next rankings release. #18 Team United (Des Moines, IA, USA) and #22 Bay Area (Oakland, CA, USA) have yet to take the track in sanctioned play, so they will need to get in four games for Playoff eligibility before the end of June. There have been numerous how-to videos coming from BAD, but we won’t see them use those skills until the Golden Bowl June 16-18.
If the 16 teams that are currently ranked in the D2 zone were to make it to Playoffs today, we would see two interesting brackets. Calgary (Alberta, Canada) and Blue Ridge (Asheville, NC, USA) are both hovering towards the top, but Charm City (Baltimore, MA, USA) fell one spot to exit D1 and take the top of D2. With last year’s May games dropping off, Calgary moved up six places to #38 with Blue Ridge just below them after a 333-101 victory against Steel City. Wasatch (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) maintains a D2 standing at #44 as well as #52 Kansas City (Missouri, USA), but the rest have either risen into Division 2 or dropped from Division 1 since last year.
Paris (France) has been on a steady incline for awhile now, and with a winning season so far, Flat Track Stats has them at #9 in Europe. One of their wins from earlier this season was against #45 Auld Reekie (Edinburgh, UK), a team who qualified for WFTDA D2 Playoffs last year but chose not to make the trip, but now they’re in line for another invite. Another European team on the rise is Middlesbrough (UK) who was #146 in April of last year and rose four more spots this month to enter the bottom of D2 Playoff contention.
The biggest mover award this month goes to Adelaide Roller Derby from South Australia. Their first game this year was in May and was a Strength Factor Challenge game against Sun State, and they came within 37 points of them. After that, they took on Paradise City, a team who just fell 34 places, and beat them by a whopping 538 points. This sent them shooting up the rankings 131 spots to #51, just inside the D2 bubble. They’ll need to follow it up with three more sanctioned games if they want to get an invite this season.
Getting bumped down a Division so far this year are the Mad Rollin’ Dolls, No Coast (Lincoln, NE, USA), Ohio, Rocky Mountain (Denver, CO, USA), Naptown (Indianapolis, IN, USA), and Columbia QuadSquad (South Carolina, USA). Ohio usually plays so many games that even if they have some losses they find a place in Division 1 by the end of June. However, Queen City’s 304-95 win over them took Ohio down eight more spaces to #43. Naptown also got knocked down to #47 after a 456-55 loss to Jacksonville last month, and Columbia took some big losses at Tiny Tourney that set them back ten to #50.
Outside of Playoff Potential teams, there are many who have been leapfrogging the rankings, or have maybe had a rebuilding season and have dropped from their usual position. #53 Pirate City (Auckland, New Zealand) spent at least two weeks in the United States to hit up two invitationals. K-Town Shakedown earned them +32 in the April rankings and then moved up two more spots after going 3-1 at the Big O in May. #54 Dublin (Ireland) has been hovering on the edge of D2 and would have been in contention with their +18 May increase if the Playoff structure hadn’t changed.
#64 Dock City of Gothenburg, Sweden made a trip to K-Town Shakedown as well and jumped 31 spots in April and then 16 more in May. #71 Royal City (Guelph, ON, Canada) has been on the way up and saw another increase of 16 in May. #75 Rage City (Anchorage, AK, USA) didn’t play last month but had games from last May fall off and had impressive results at Midwest Brewhaha last weekend. From the UK, #99 Birmingham went up 87 ranking spots in April after going to the Seige of CNY and then +12 in May.
With 2×4 on the map, they helped spread rankings into South America at their Violentango event in April. Sailor City (Buenos Aires, Argentina) entered the rankings at #64 last month and bumped up two more spots in May. Metropolitan (Santiago, Chile) entered with them at #76 and dropped two spots in the May rankings.
Dropping to #72, Nidaros (Trondheim, Norway) has only had one sanctioned game this season and it was a loss to #56 Bear City (Berlin, Germany). Many teams are experiencing changes this season and #82 Tri-City (Kitchener, ON, Canada) has had only one win and five losses which recently dropped them 13 spots but still has Beaver Fever and ECDX ahead of them. Steel City (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) has dropped to #79 after playing in D1 playoffs last year, #86 Paradise City (Gold Coast, Australia) qualified but didn’t attend D2 Playoffs in 2016, and Nashville (Tenessee, USA) started the season at #55 and now rest at #98.
Entering the rankings in May are #139 Sitka (Alaska), #141 Tampere (Finland), #181 Twin State (Enfield, NH), #217 Roller Derby Madrid (Spain), #272 Cologne (Germany), and #284 Lutece (Paris, France).