FAMU to host roller derby bouts in recreation center

Tallahassee’s roller derby team will skate inside Florida A&M’s recreation center this season.

Capital Punishment opened its seventh season of competition against the Acadiana Roller Girls on March 9 inside the Hansel E. Tookes Sr. Recreation Center. Last season, Capital Punishment competed in Skate Inn.

Brendan Diamond, the head referee, said the new venue is more professional.

“If you look at venues at the national level, this is the style they’d use,” Diamond said.

Capital Punishment won 420-256. In roller derby, points are scored as lead skaters, also known as “jammers,” try to lap the opposing team members. Each team has a jammer and four “blockers,” who try to stop the other team’s jammer while making a path for their own jammer.

Members of Capital Punishment practice twice a week and are also involved in management and administrative aspects of the team.

“It’s a requirement that if you want to skate and be rostered, you have to be on a committee,” said Ashley Gibbens, who is head of the team’s communications committee.

The skaters, who mostly work full time, attend college or both, do not get paid.

Team captain Alexis Cornelio said skaters work as computer programmers, probation officers and teachers.

“No matter what league you come across, you have this mash-up of women who, in normal everyday life, might have never come across each other’s paths,” Cornelio said.

Team member Ashley Horvath recently moved to Tallahassee from Orlando, where she skated with the Psycho City Derby Girls. She said the chance to skate for one of the Southeast region’s best teams influenced her decision to relocate.

“I’m not saying that’s the only reason I moved, but they helped my decision to come up here a lot,” Horvath said.

Capital Punishment finished eighth in the Southeast region last season and secured its spot in Division 1 this season.

Joan Nelson and Michael Scholl have been going to bouts since Tallahassee’s league started in 2006 and have noted the team’s progression.

“I think that going to that tournament, to regionals, was major,” Nelson said.

Capital Punishment will travel to Texas on Saturday to compete against six other teams in the Clover Cup, a two-day invitational tournament hosted by the Dallas Derby Devils.

Capital Punishment’s next home bout will be April 13 at 7 p.m. at the recreation center.

For bout schedules, tickets and information about the skaters, go to