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Huge comeback lifts Rose City to finals victory over Gotham

TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The Rose City Rollers celebrate their Women's Flat Track Derby Association championship Sunday night at Memorial Coliseum.The Rose City Rollers are repeat champions.

The Rollers came from way behind to knock off Gotham (New York) Girls Roller Derby 186-166 in Sunday’s thrilling final bout of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Division 1 international championships at Memorial Coliseum.

The rough-and-tumble showdown of WFTDA titans capped three days of competition at the coliseum.

Rose City’s Wheels of Justice all-star team, which also won the title in 2015 to end a five-year run by Gotham, was able to survive three tense and tight matches over the final two days.

Gotham reached the WFTDA final for the sixth year in a row and appeared likely to hoist the Hydra Trophy as 2016 champions, dominating the early going against the Rollers.TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Sarah Gaither of the Rose City Rollers' Wheels of Justice looks to make a move against Gotham in Sunday night's championship bout at Memorial Coliseum.

Gotham built a large lead, then tried in vain to withstand a steady surge from the determined Rose City squad.

With six minutes remaining, the veteran Gotham team still had a 158-145 lead.

But the Rollers were not to be denied before a boisterous home crowd.

The Rollers took the lead just under the five-minute mark — the first lead change of the match.

Rose City kept up the assault, and the lead grew to 180-158 with just less than two minutes left.

Gotham trailed 184-162 with one minute to go but wasn’t able to get a lead jammer in time to rally in its final opportunity.

Instead, Rose City got its jammer out in front first and was able to hold off the outsiders as time ran out.

As their celebration began on the track, the Rollers finally called off the jam to end any frantic comeback hopes by Gotham, which appealed for another chance only to have the referees rule that the jam had been called off naturally by Rose City, thus ending the bout.

Portland finished with 4.7 points per jam to 4.2 for Gotham. Rose City also had a 19-16 edge in lead jammers.TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The blocking gets fierce on the flat track, as the Rose City Rollers rally for a win and their second consecutive Women's Flat Track Derby Association championship.

Brawn Swanson of the Rollers was named MVP of the tourney.

“It feels incredible. I was not prepared for this at all,” Swanson said.

Swanson was injured last year.

“I’m so proud of every single one of them,” Swanson said of her teammates. “We’ve worked so hard. There are no words. It’s incredible.”

Scald Eagle had 98 points in 15 jams for Portland.

Also Sunday, Victorian won 198-108 over London for third place in the prelude to the championship matchup.

Rose City had edged Victorian 155-152 in comeback fashion, as well, in the tense Saturday semifinals. Rose City also had a tough bout with Texas on Saturday, prevailing 186-172 to get into the semis.

Gotham beat London 189-163 in their Saturday semifinal.TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Rose City Rollers fans at Memorial Coliseum go wild as the team scores big down the stretch to defeat Gotham in the international championship roller derby match.

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