Free State Roller Derby season opener celebrates team’s growth

ROCKVILLE, Md. — They’ve been around almost nine years, but the Free State Roller Derby has had a recent growth spurt. This is the first time the Montgomery County-based women’s roller derby league has had enough players to have an intra-league game.

On Sunday, they pit their travel teams, The Black Eyed Suzies and Rock Villains, against each other in a friendly season-opening bout in Rockville’s Sportsplex.

“My first season was last year. We did not have this,” said Alexandra Thirumalai who goes by the skate moniker Nikki Trikki Savi. “Our rosters overlapped a lot between the Suzies and the Villains. We had like 10 people who would skate for both teams.”

Thirumalai said now there are separate rosters for each team. There are about 15 players on each.

“We have people who come from figure skating backgrounds, and we have people who have never seen a roller skate in their life,” Thirumalai added.

The league welcomes players who are new to the game, called “Fresh Meat,” and even offers a program to bring derby newbies up to speed.

“We’ve come a long way in structuring our training program so that we can take on people who aren’t necessarily athletes … or skaters … but want to do this,” said Sandi Burtseva — aka Slaughter Lily.

According to their website, Free State Roller Derby is “the only women’s flat-track roller derby league in Montgomery County.”

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