By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

McNary freshman Anneke “Wrath” Titus joined the Cherry Blossoms junior roller derby team three years ago.

But she would’ve started much sooner.

“My mom was originally in it (roller derby) so I really wanted to do it ever since she was,” said Warth. “They didn’t have a junior league at the time though. I just started skating with her. She was all for me doing it.”

Wrath’s mom competed for Panty Raiders, which is one of six adult roller derby teams in Salem. The junior team, which is in its third year of competition, is for girls and boys ages 12-17.

The Cherry Blossoms next bout is Saturday, March 25 at 6 p.m. against the Emerald City Junior Gems in the Cherry City Derby Girls Mad House, 1335 Madison St. NE Salem.

Tickets are available online for $10 at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2892555 or at the door for $15.

Wrath, who began skating when she was eight and is now a captain for the Cherry Blossoms, said she’s never really been a “sports kid” but has always enjoyed roller derby.

“I like that if I had a really bad day I can come here and kind of get my stress out,” Wrath said. “It’s really fun because I make lots of friends and I meet new people. It’s challenging and demands a lot physically but it’s really great going out there and having fun and seeing the team grow.”

Maya “Mercury” Blaisdell Wood, a seventh grader at Whiteaker Middle School, started roller derby when she was eight years old in Los Angeles but had to wait two years to turn 12 when she moved to Keizer.

“When I was in elementary school, a kid told me I couldn’t play basketball because I was a girl,” Mercury said. “My mom started looking at sports for me to play and I found this one, which is a really all-inclusive sport, no matter what your size or gender is. It was kind of this hidden sport. What I really love about it is you get to know your teammates really well and it’s just such a unique sports. It’s on roller skates. It’s the greatest.”

In roller derby, each team fields four blockers and a jammer, who wears a star on their helmet and scores points by lapping the pack. Jammers earn one point for each opposing player they pass while opposing blockers try to stop the jammer while also helping their own jammer through the pack.

Cherry Blossoms compete in Portland, Bend, Eugene and Seattle. They are traveling to California in June.