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Women don gear and take to the track at Sonoma County Roller Derby tryouts

Nora Mahan claimed she didn't know what to wear when she decided on a whim Tuesday to try out for Santa Rosa's fledgling roller derby league.

But clearly she did.

The 25-year-old New Orleans transplant cut a mean silhouette in a yellow head-to-toe body suit on the flat track court behind a wall of windows on Mendocino Avenue in downtown Santa Rosa.

Roller Derby Rink In Santa Rosa

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So what if she hadn't touched a pair of roller skates in about 15 years?

"I figure it's personality that matters," Mahan said.

Eighteen brave souls laced up and spun around the track for more than two hours to prove they could maneuver the circular track on four wheels, all while jostling for position, yelling instructions to teammates and falling with grace.

Six of the candidates had tried roller derby before and 12 were totally new to the sport, said Roxanne Neditch, a.k.a. Roxy8arr, head coach and Sonoma County Roller Derby CEO.

Over the next week, league members will place the women on one of two teams, the Wine Country HomeWreckers or the North Bay Bruisers. People who need more practice will be placed on a training team.

"We're really excited to start working with these girls," Neditch said.

Many of the women had attended a roller derby boot camp in February and practiced at weekly Tuesday drop-in nights.


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