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Pioneer Woodsmen Team a Force To Be Reckoned With

Pioneer Woodsmen Team a Force To Be Reckoned With

Alfred State College’s recently established Pioneer Woodsmen team is rapidly being acknowledged as a force to be reckoned with by the other collegiate woodsmen teams in the Northeast.

Officially founded in Fall 2009, the Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club is the brainchild of two Wanakena Ranger School transfer students, Ariane Tanski and Jason McCadden, who made a connection with retired professional lumberjack, Lt. Scott Bingham, from Alfred State’s University Police Department. The three worked with Spencer Peavey, director, ASC Student Activities and Orientation, and officially established the Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club last September. A successful membership drive allowed practices to begin in February. The team’s debut competition in March where the Alfred State Jack and Jill team took first place.

In late April, the Alfred State College Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club sent two teams, a Men’s and a Jack and Jill, to their second competition, the 64th Annual Spring Meet Conclave at Paul Smith’s College, in Adirondack State Park. The Spring Meet is the collegiate woodsmen’s equivalent of the Super Bowl.

McCadden competes in the pole climb.The Spring Meet consists of 19 different events in five different categories. Category 1: Team Events: cross-cut saw, bowsaw, log roll, pulp toss, and packboard relay. Category 2: Singles Events: pole climb, axe throw, single buck, speed birling, obstacle course, and fly casting. Category 3: Doubles Events: fire build, standing block chop, and scoot load. Category 4: Triples Events: underhand chop and quarter split. Category 5: Canoeing Events: singles relay, portage relay, and doubles. Eleven colleges fielded 31 teams in four divisions (Men’s, Women’s, Jack and Jill, and Alumni).

The Jack and Jill team took second place overall in its division, behind Paul Smith’s and beating veteran teams from Dartmouth College and the University of New Hampshire. Jack and Jill team members are Captain Ariane Tanski, Pompey, surveying engineering technology; Jason McCadden, Auburn, surveying engineering technology; Gabe Darling, Shortsville, heavy equipment: truck and diesel technician; and Jaci Stanton, Locke, machine tool technology. The Jack and Jill team placed first in team packboard relay, team pulp toss, team cross-cut, singles canoeing (Tanski and McCadden), fire build (Tanski and Doxtader), and single buck (Darling). The team placed second in pole climb (McCadden), axe throw (Tanski), speed birling (Mootz), standing block chop (McCadden and Darling), underhand chop (Mootz, Darling, and McCadden), canoe portage (Mootz and Darling), team bowsaw, and team log roll.

The Men’s Team came in 13th overall against teams from Finger Lakes Community College (1st), SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2nd), Paul Smith’s College (3rd), Colby College, Dartmouth College, SUNY Cobleskill, Unity College, University of Connecticut, University of Maine, and University of New Hampshire.

Men’s team members are Captain Andy Bush, Silver Springs, machine tool technology; Dylan Heaney, Jamesville, construction management engineering technology. The Men’s Team placed fourth in team log roll and single buck (Kruppa), fifth in axe throw (Harrington) and team bowsaw, sixth in team pulp toss, seventh in singles canoeing (Heaney and Wall) and obstacle course (Francese), and eighth in pole climb (Heaney), fly casting (Bush), fire build (Harrington and Francese), and team cross-cut.

Spring Meet was sponsored by ESPN, Stihl, Carhartt, Lumberjack Sports International, and the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. On Friday afternoon, Stihl hosted the 1st Annual Ironjack Collegiate Challenge. The Ironjack Challenge consists of five events designed to test competitors’ overall abilities as lumberjacks. For the Ironjack Challenge, McCadden competed for Alfred State in speed climb, birling, single buck, standing block chop, and axe throw; he placed 10th overall in this combination of events.

Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Challenge on Saturday afternoon allowed each college or university to enter a male competitor and a female competitor in the Men’s and Women’s divisions. The Men’s division competed in underhand chop, stock saw, standing block chop, and single buck. Darling competed for Alfred State College in the men’s division and came in third place overall. He came in seventh in underhand chop, first in stock saw, fourth in standing block chop, and fifth in single buck. The women competed in underhand chop, stock saw, and single buck. Tanski competed for Alfred State and came in 10th place overall. The Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Challenge will be broadcast on ESPN later in the year. For more information on the Stihl Timbersports Collegiate Challenge check out its Web site at

The Pioneer Woodsmen’s Club’s attendance at the Spring Meet was supported by individual club members, Anne Fleck and Rob Frenette of Raquette River Outfitters, ASC Parent Fund.