By Andy Frye, ESPN

Loren Mutch of Rose City. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

Loren Mutch of Rose City. Photo by Tyler Shaw.

When Shaina Serelson took up roller derby in 2011 in her hometown of Cheyenne, Wyoming, she wasn’t exactly thinking about someday playing in a World Cup. Or battling the best skaters in the world for the prestigious Hydra Trophy. But her newfound passion for the world’s fastest-growing team sport gripped her even back then. And it wasn’t just because roller skating is fun.

“Being an athlete is about working hard, learning and loving every moment of it,” Serelson said. Last year in the 2014 Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Championships, her current team, the Rose City Wheels of Justice, came within three points of knocking off roller derby’s Goliath, Gotham Girls Roller Derby from New York City.

“I think being an athlete also means not getting caught up in the past, or regrets over winning and losing,” Serelson said. “Heartbreak is part of it too, but so is the joy of getting to play the game again and again.”

In the 10 years that the WFTDA has run first a national, and then international, championship, the sport has grown by leaps and bounds, reeling in women from all parts of the world. For the second year in a row, Serelson’s team met Gotham, the five-time international roller derby champions, in the final bout of the WFTDA championships. This time, Serelson, a former hockey player, is now captain of the world champions.

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