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Newcomers helping to lead Audio Assault

7/10/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Shown is Gwyneddh Jones (aka Kitty Black) of the Audio Assault in a past bout.
Photo: Bruce Berna, courtesy of Gwyneddh Jones
TALLMADGE — NEO Roller Derby is enjoying another successful season, and Gwyneddh Jones (aka Kitty Black) said the NEO’s B team, the Audio Assault, is off to a strong start.

“We have a 4-1 record, and I’m really proud of everyone,” the team captain said. “We’ve been succeeding with a sort of ‘back to basics’ approach and emphasis on teamwork.”

According to Jones, the 2014 season has been all about working new players into the lineup.

“We have a lot of new players that we actually got right at the end of last season, so it’s been fun getting to know them and learning what they have to offer,” she said. “We’re allowed up to 14 players on our roster, but due to low numbers, we’ve mostly been playing with 10 to 12. I feel like it actually makes us stronger that way. It certainly develops our endurance.”

The team has three home bouts left on its schedule for this season — with the next one scheduled on July 12 against the Eerie Roller Girls — and Jones said she is looking to see some more new faces come out to support the team.

“I think roller derby itself is in a bit of a rebuilding phase right now,” she said. “It’s gone from campy violence to much more serious athleticism, and we’re sort of having to find our audience all over again. We’ve had a huge PR push this month, so we’ll see if that helps.”

According to Jones, those who attend a bout for the first time may be surprised by what they see.

“At first it’s just going to look like a bunch of women skating in circles and feel sort of hectic,” she said. “But once you learn more about it, it’s actually quite exciting and some of the strategy can be really fun to watch, not to mention the big hits. I think the biggest reason to see us play is that the women of this sport are just so strong and confident and can serve as amazing role models for girls.”

The team will host a special event Aug. 31 with Round Up Day, and Jones said that night will present a great opportunity to further get to know the team and possibly learn how to join the squad.

“This is a time for anyone interested in playing for us to come meet the team, learn more about roller derby and even skate with us a bit,” she said.

Bouts usually start at 6 p.m. and take place at the Summit County Fairgrounds, 229 E. Howe Road. Tickets for all bouts are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Children ages 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. For more information about NEO Roller Derby or to purchase tickets online, go to www.neorollerderby.com.

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