A Unity College graduate from Maine is bringing his ax, single buck saw and chain saw to New York City’s Central Park.

Blake Wilder ’15, of Lamoine, Maine, will be among six competitors in the Stihl® Timbersports® Series U.S. Collegiate Championship presented by Ram Trucks on Saturday, June 20.

Wilder is the Northeast Collegiate Qualifier, one of only five competitors to earn championship bids by winning their regional meets. Wilder won a regional meet April 24 at Dartmouth College to qualify.

He’ll compete against timbersport athletes from Oregon State University, North Carolina State University, Three Rivers Community College (Conn.), and Haywood Community College (N.C.). A wild card spot will be filled by a University of Maine competitor.

“These six athletes are the best young lumberjack athletes in the country, and they have a tremendous opportunity to showcase their talents in Central Park this summer,” Stihl® Timbersports®  Executive Producer Brad Sorgen said. “This year is the 30thanniversary of our sport, and these athletes will get unprecedented exposure for themselves and their schools.”

All of the athletes have incredible skill and potential, Sorgen said. In the qualifier rounds, Wilder posted the fastest time in the stock saw discipline with a time of 12.46 seconds.

The athletes will compete in four disciplines: the single buck, the stock saw, the standing block chop and the underhand chop, observing professional rules and using professional-sized wood.

In addition to becoming the 2015 Collegiate Champion, the winner will represent the United States on the international rookie team at the World Championship in November and earn an automatic bid into the 2016 Stihl® Timbersports® Professional Series.

Admission is free to the event, which will take place at the Naumburg Bandshell; enter Central Park at 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue. For a complete event schedule, visit the Stihl Timbersports site.

Those who are unable to attend can watch the Championships via live stream on the website, and via Stihl’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites. The Championships will air nationally on ABC on Oct. 11, Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 at 4 p.m. EST.

“For almost 40 years, Unity College students have competed in events that had their origins in the traditional logging camps of the Maine woods,” said Pat Clark, Unity College woodmen’s team advisor. “This sport has given them the opportunity to travel the Northeast U.S. and Canadian Maritimes, making strong friendships, sharing techniques and equipment as they challenge themselves as individuals and as team members.

“While it is a very competitive sport, it also has some of the most friendly, helpful, and caring people you will find in any arena. Blake has exemplified this spirit throughout his four years on the Unity team,” Clark said.

Wilder was featured in a report by a Bangor TV station in May.

Timber sports “allow me to get in touch with what they did in the 1800s,” he said. “This is a serious thing, and I’m going there (to try) to win.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time over the last four years getting ready for this, and I’m looking forward to competing against the rest of the country,” Wilder said.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015