A Unity College woodsman will compete for a national woodsman’s championship after placing high in a regional competition at Dartmouth College last weekend.
At the Stihl Challenge for the Northeast Region on Friday, April 24, Blake Wilder ‘15, of Lamoine, Maine, recorded the fastest time in the chain saw contest on 16-inch wood than anyone in a U.S. competition this year. His performance in that event and others made him a regional qualifier set to attend the Stihl Timbersports Series National Championship in New York City’s Central Park on June 20.
College lumberjack teams from around the Northeast took part in the 69th Annual Woodsmen’s Weekend, also known as Spring Meet, on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25 at Dartmouth.
The men’s team finished third overall. Matt Baird ‘16, of Canandaigua, N.Y., and Wilder took first in the men’s single canoe race; Tyler Jepson ‘17, of Moultonborough, N.Y., and Sean Monaghan ‘17, of New Fairfield, Conn., were first in fire build, and Baird won the fly-casting event.
Monaghan also placed second in water burling; Matt Squires ’17, of Warren, Conn., Jepson, and Monaghan were second in splitting; and Wilder, Liam Mellaly ‘17, of Clinton, Conn., and Baird captured third place in the underhand chop. The team finished third overall in team crosscut and bow saw events.
For the women – or “lumberjills” — Taylor Briggs ‘16, of Afton, N.Y., and Patricia Paskerta, ’18, of Charlestown, N.Y., won fire build; Paskerta also rolled her way to third place in a cold water burling challenge. Briggs and Madison Killian ‘18, of Ipswich, Mass., took third in the singles canoe and Natasha Kosowsky ’17, of East Haven, Conn., and Paskerta took third in the doubles canoe.
The “Jack and Jill” team was also successful, with Lauren Souther ’17, of Plymouth, Mass., Samantha Holt ’18, of Merrimac, Mass., and Kyle Williams ’17 of Ringoes, N.J., winning the J and J splitting competition. Williams took second place in fly casting. Ben Lisle ’18, of Old Saybrook, Conn., was third in single buck, while Williams and Jesse Hutchinson ’18, of Carthage, Maine, were third for the Jack and Jill canoe portage.
Schools competing were Alfred State College, Colby College, Dartmouth College, Finger Lakes Community College, Morrisville State College, Paul Smiths College, Penn State, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY’s ESF Ranger School, University of Connecticut, University of Maine, and University of Vermont, in events ranging from canoeing to sawing.