The Youths Are Coming! (J/K They're Already Here)
I am so excited about the junior derby movement!
I first saw junior derby in 2011 at the South Central Regionals tournament in Kansas City, MO. It was pretty much just an exhibition game of cute kids puttering around the track- except this one girl. She wasn't a brilliant skater but she knew the game. Her jammer awareness was on point, she was communicating to her team, she was where she needed to be at every moment. I was beyond impressed... and a little terrified. If this 7 year old is already this freaking good at derby, they're going to take over. It's just a matter of time.
And now we're seeing the product of these junior programs at the very top of adult WFTDA derby! I mean, let's just talk about Loren Mutch for a second.
Mutch is one of the most legendary jammers in the sport and she started with the Kitsap Derby Brats when she was 14. She moved to Rose City when she was 19! Now she has one 2 WFTDA championships, a WFTDA Tournament MVP, is the first derby skater to ever be sponsored by Red Bull (or anything like it), and she is on Team USA, heading to the World Cup next month! While of course this is because she is wildly skilled and an extremely hard worker, the fact that she started so young gave her a great leg up in WFTDA adult derby!
And Mutch is kind of... old news when it comes to the juniors movement! This year the talk of the town was A-Pray and Rickel of Rat City's All-Stars:
I am still all in on the Rat City xYouthCrex. A. Pray and Rickel are gonna be a problem for years.— Derby Care Alot Crew (@thederbyapex) November 3, 2017
Both of these athletes come out of the I-5 Rollergirls Junior program and have a BANANAS amount of experience under their belts. Rickle has already skated for 8 seasons and A- Pray has been skating in USARS Nationals since 2013. So yeah... They're kind of a big deal.
Another big name coming out of junior derby is Lo Betancourt who has made a name for herself not only as a Superfit Hero sponsored athlete, but also for the absolutely brutal game she plays as a blocker for Angel City!
Here is a list I'm working on of the recently aged-up skaters wrecking havoc on their WFTDA charter skaters:
A-Pray - Rat City
Rickle - Rat City
Lois Betancourt- Angel
Peral Jam- Angel
Gal of Frey- Rose
Brute - Rose
Who am I missing? Let me know!
The juniors are here and I'm so excited to see what these skaters bring to the game!
If you want to talk about junior derby, or anything derby-related at all, join our new discussion group, State of Skate, on Facebook!