An inside look at the UConn Woodsmen

UConn is a large school with plenty of club sports, and One you may not have heard of is the UConn Woodsmen. The Woodsmen are an intercollegiate timbersports team that competes in several meets a year, including their annual home meet, which took place this past weekend.

At meets, teams have several options. A full team (six) with all men, a team with all women, or a “Jack and Jill” team that consists of three women and three men. Each team member competes in one individual event, one doubles event, one triples event and in all team events.

However, UConn’s home meet works differently.

“Our meet is quite unique from other schools because ours is pro-am. So we have people who compete in timbersports professionally and college athletes. It’s also teams of two, one male and one female, who compete in doubles events as well as singles events,” Woodsmen president Will Baldwin explained.

UConn registered two teams in the event. Baldwin and partner Daniel Wall finished fifth overall. Woodsmen vice president Natalie Swanson and partner Dave Rosa finished just behind them in sixth.

The events consisted of the disk stack, the axe throw, the single buck, the bowsaw, the standing block, the underhand, the crosscut, the log roll and the pulp toss.

The two UConn teams finished first and third in the disk stack. This event requires the competitor to make horizontal cuts through a vertical piece of wood, all the while keeping the “cookies” still stacked on top of each other.

Both UConn teams tied for fourth in the axe throw event, which consists of throwing an axe at a target that is typically 20 feet away. The Huskies also pulled off third and fourth finishes in the log roll, and first and fourth finishes in the pulp toss.

Typical meets consist of six general singles events: the axe throw, the single buck, the bow saw, the stock saw, the disk stack and the pole climb. Doubles events include the cross cut, the fire build and the standing block. Triples events include the underhand chop and the quarter split. Finally, team events include the cross cut, the bow saw, the pulp toss and the log roll.

“Generally the team hosting the meet will come up with a different event that you haven’t really seen before. It requires you to use what you know and be able to adapt,” Baldwin said.

Each event is awarded points based on the place the individual/team finished. First place would receive the full ten points and decrease incrementally from there. Whoever receives the most points at the end of the meet is the winner.

Early in the fall semester they’re typically doing demos at fairs, and meets begin in the late fall. In the late spring, they have the biggest meet of their season.

“This is similar to a championship game or meet,” Baldwin explained.

“Spring Meet” sees 15 Northeast schools competing for the championship. It also has the STIHL Timbersports Qualifier. Each school is allowed to enter one man and one woman to compete in this event. The men use this as a qualifier for the national championship. For the women, this is their championship because female competitors only exist in the Northeast region. The men compete in four events while the women compete in three.

“This has to be the best decision I’ve made at UConn. It taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and try something new. I had no previous experience with any of these events,” Swanson said. “This team has taught me how to manage my time effectively, how to be a leader, and how doing different things could lead to such passion and determination.”

“I have said that one of my biggest regrets while I’ve been at UConn was that I didn’t join the team until my junior year,” Baldwin said. “What I think makes it so different is that there are so many different events, and to be good at this sport you really have to be well rounded in all of them.”

At the beginning of each semester, new and returning members learn basic skills that can be used in any event. They practice Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 pm in Radcliffe-Hicks.


Rachel Schaefer is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at rachel.schaefer@uconn.edu.