The sound of wheels racing on laminate wood filled Gibson Arena on the south side of Muncie Thursday as the Cornfed Derby Dames took the floor for their practice. The roller derby team was gearing up for their first bout of the season, which will take place at Gibson on Feb. 25.
Merritt McLaughlin, a Ball State University student and member of the Cornfed Derby Dames, led Thursday's practice. She had the team work on endurance, hits and strategy as they prepare to take on the Naptown Warning Belles in their upcoming bout.
The team's players fit a wide range of demographics, especially in age and occupation. Although they fit roles from a college freshman to an academic adviser, all of the women feel like sisters. That's Emma Voggs's favorite part of the sport.
"I love the sense of sisterhood that everybody gets," Voggs said. "We all just lift each other up and we work together."
Voggs is a freshman at Ball State and this is her first season with the Cornfed Derby Dames. She started out skating for a junior league in high school, but joined the Dames after aging out and coming to college.
Another thing Voggs enjoys is when the team's strategies come together and work. She said it's "so rewarding."
McLaughlin wanted to focus on these strategies during her practice. She had the women team up into pairs and groups for most of their drills. Their opponents, The Naptown Warning Belles, are expected to be tough competition. The Cornfed Derby Dames are ready to go out and keep up to take home a win.
View a video of the Cornfed Derby Dames' practice below: