Taylorsville Students Make Team USA for Junior Roller Derby


On the left is Lilyana Cardenas and on the right is Bridgette Bawden Photo Credits” Kris MacGilvery

Samantha Bell, Editor

Two Taylorsville High School Students make it onto Team United States of America (USA) for junior roller derby. Senior Bridgette Badwen and senior Lilyana Cardenas. Roller derby is a full-contact sport played on quad skates on a flat oval track. This sport is defined by high-speed skating, skilled hitting, and teamwork. Skating for Wasatch Junior Rollers, Bawden and Cardenas now also skate for Team USA and will travel to France for the World Cup in July of 2023 with the best of the best from America. With only five players on the track during a play or jam (in roller derby terms), these students and skaters will have to fight hard to gain points and play their best game with people they’ve only skated with a handful of times. 

Team USA is made up of twenty skaters throughout the country, three of these skaters play for Wasatch Junior Rollers. To make the team, skaters try out in locations throughout the country on dates set by the Team USA coaches. The current locations set are in Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Chicago, and Tampa. 

While these students are known by their legal names within the school, on the track they play under Sudo names or “derby names.” Derby names can be anything the skater desires, Bawden plays under the name Bridge-it, and Cardenas plays under the name Chiringua. 

The rules of roller derby can get quite complex, but at its core it is a team sport played on an oval flat track with at most five players on the track at any time from the same team, making ten people on the track from both teams at a time. Four of the players are “blockers” and have the ability to hit, hold pack (which is where loads of penalties lie), help their team score points, and defend their position against the other team. One of these blockers is a pivot, and they have the ability to take the jammer “star” from their team’s jammer. Jammers wear a star on their helmet, and they score points for the team. Their objective is to pass the other players’ hips and make as many laps around the track without allowing the other team to rack up points as well. And don’t forget, this is all played on roller skates! The sport is quite intense, and not very well known. 


Bridgette Bawden aka “Bridge-it” 

Playing since she was nine, Bridgette Bawden has been playing for eight years and is one of the longest-playing members of Wasatch Junior Rollers. Bawden plays multiple positions on the track, she is what is called a “Utility Player,” however; she is mostly placed in as a blocker. 

Junior Roller Derby has been a huge part of Bawden’s life, she has grown up in the sport and worked hard for the eight years she’s been playing. As an aggressive kid, Bawden was looking for a healthy way to release built-up anger, and another Team USA skater, Lilyana Cardenas pushed her to join Roller Derby. After joining Bawden stayed due to one of her first coaches that “changed the way I see the world and the way I view sports,” said Bawden.

Team USA is made up of twenty players from the United States, and make the team by trying out throughout the country. This season Bawden tried out in both Chicago, Illinois, and Phoneix, Arizona. On the second try-out in Chicago Bawden felt fairly confident that she had made the team, “the coaches kept pulling me out” said Bawden. 

Even though she felt good about how tryouts went, nothing would have prepared Bawden for what she felt when she was emailed that she made the team. “I was in pure shock. I was just shocked that I could do what I wanted to do since I was a little kid” said Bawden. 

The emotions still haven’t faded, and excitement and shock still come in waves when she realizes everything that comes with being a Team USA player. 

This year is a big one for Bawden, she will graduate from her junior Roller Derby league, graduate high school, travel to locations throughout the US for Team USA practices, and ultimately represent the USA with teammates she’s only played with a handful of times. 

Outside of Derby Bawden is very interested in architecture and wants to major in architectural design and environmental science. At the moment Bawden is aiming for the University of Utah or Colorado State. 

As hobbies, Bawden enjoys art, hanging out with friends, working, playing in the pit for musicals, and debating. 

A big roadblock on her journey to France for Bawden will be money, as the travel to Team USA practices and out of the country will be expensive. Bawden has been selling wreaths and mandalas to raise funds and also has a “Go-Fund-Me” for donations. The “Go-Fund-Me” can be found here. To buy wreaths and mandalas for the holidays you can reach out to Bawden on her Instagram, @bridgeit47 on Instagram to buy her products for the holidays and support a great cause. 

Lilyana Cardenas aka “Chiringua” 

Lilyana Cardenas has been one of the original players of Wasatch Junior Rollers for years, as they have been playing since they were five years old. 

Their derby name; Chiringua, stems from a nickname their dad gave them as a child. Translated to English from Spanish Chiringua is a small marble. For Cardenas’ father, a small marble was a good luck charm, just like Cardenas is. 

Wasatch Junior Roller Derby started as a small league skating at “Hollywood Connection,” where Cardenas and their family were roller skating one night. After seeing a flyer to join the league Cardenas and their two siblings joined the team shortly after. “ At first they were hesitant to let me join because I was so young, and because I didn’t know how to skate. That day I grabbed a pair of skates and took off,” said Cardenas.

Roller derby has been a big part of Cardenas’ and their family’s life for over thirteen years, and as their last year in junior Roller Derby comes to an end, they are ready to give it everything they have. Part of this is present in their drive and determination to be a key Team USA skater. 

Just as Bawden did Cardenas tried out two different times this season for Team USA, once in Portland, Oregon, and another in Tampa, Florida. “My tryout in Florida was the best tryout I’ve ever experienced in my life. The people were so welcoming and made me feel at home,” noted Cardenas. 

After the tryout in Tampa Cardenas waited for the results of the tryouts, and when they received the email they felt like they were on cloud nine. The emotions felt during that initial email for Cardenas were filled with excitement and sadness. “I felt so excited, but also sad. Excited about the opportunity and learning experience I’m going to get from this. But sad for all the skaters who fought for years but didn’t get this opportunity,” said Cardenas.

Besides just Roller Derby Cardenas is training at the Granite Technical Institution or GTI to become a firefighter, and wants to go into that field after they graduate. 

Just like Bawden is, Cardenas is selling baked goods and treats to raise fund for travel, and have a Go-Fund-Me as well, which can be found here. To buy sweets and goods from Cardenas you can contact them via Instagram @death.bysweets