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EAPS student finds success in crash and tumble world of roller derby


It’s not another polar vortex bearing down on Greater Lafayette. This phenomenon could be more brutal.

Roller Vortex -- also known as Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences junior Alex Marmo -- has been a member of the Lafayette Brawlin’ Dolls flat track roller derby team since 2013. After passing rules and skills tests, Marmo is set to make her derby bout debut Sept. 13 at the Tippecanoe County Fairgrounds.

The rough and tumble sport pits two skaters from opposing teams in a race for points while a pack of four skaters for each team block or defend for or against them. The action is fast and bodies fly to the track often. The Brawlin’ Dolls play against teams from all over the Midwest. Marmo served as a jammer in a recent scrimmage.

College of Science students are known to do interesting things outside of the lab or classroom. Roller derby can be a good – and unique -- stress relief from exams and research.

“It’s very motivational,” Marmo said of roller derby. “I try to get all of my homework done before I come to practice so it helps me get a lot of my stuff done.”

Alex Marmo
EAPS junior Alex Marmo, also known as Roller Vortex, gets ready before a Lafayette Brawlin' Dolls practice.

Marmo, a Chicago native and one of the Dolls’ youngest skaters in team history, is a standout in the Atmospheric Science side of EAPS. She is vice president of the Purdue University Meteorological Association and she hopes to pursue a career in meteorology.

Marmo’s first exposure to roller derby came from attending Southland Slashers practices with friends. She quickly expanded her derby experience with the Dolls.

Roller Vortex is expected to be a big part of the Dolls in the fall as a late season injection of rookies should give the team a boost in energy.  

“It’s just a good atmosphere. All the girls are really awesome,” Marmo said. “It’s good exercise, a stress relief and a good thing for the community.”

Click here for more information on flat-track roller derby rules.

Alex Marmo

Alex Marmo, also known as Roller Vortex, straps on her skates before a Lafayette Brawlin' Dolls flat track roller derby practice.

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