Paul Smith’s woodsmen’s team dominates Spring Meet, STIHL qualifier

Apr 25, 2017 | News

The Paul Smith’s College woodsmen’s team made history over the weekend, becoming the first school to sweep all three divisions in the 71st Annual Spring Meet Woodsmen’s Conclave.

To further cement a perfect weekend, timbersports action came to a close Saturday with two more individual wins as Jesse Cutting and Emily DeYoung rode dominant ax performances to take first in the men’s and women’s STIHL Timbersports Northeast Collegiate Qualifier, one of five regionals leading up to this summer’s championship.

The April 21-22 competition – the “Super Bowl” of collegiate timbersports – was last held at Paul Smith’s in 2010, and the green and white-clad student athletes took full advantage.

The men’s team finished first in 12 of 19 events, besting SUNY ESF and Unity by over 200 points, while the women’s team capped off an undefeated season with nine wins to edge Colby College.

The awards ceremony wrapped up with Paul Smith’s Jack and Jill team exchanging hugs as the sweep was announced.

“The Northeast Conclave is the most competitive in the whole country,” said woodsmen’s team head coach Brett McLeod. “So to take all three trophies side-by-side on the same campus is really a big deal and an expression of the amount of time our students put in and domination of the sport.”

After team competition wrapped up midday Saturday, eyes turned toward individual athletes vying to compete in the STIHL’s U.S. Professional and Collegiate Championships.

DeYoung came out swinging, posting a 37-second underhand chop for a performance that ranked third in the world among women on the species and diameter of wood. She credited the performance to growing up on a farm and trying to keep pace with her brother, especially during hay season, which she called “a brutal race between siblings.”

“When I stepped on my block everything was quiet,” said DeYoung. “I just chopped it like all the other ones, and when I was done I heard the booming support of my friends again.”

Jesse Cutting in the standing block chop event.

Jesse Cutting in the standing block chop event.

Cutting kicked off men’s competition at a similar pace, placing an underhand time nearly 5 seconds faster than SUNY ESF’s Ethan Hall, the reigning Northeast Qualifier champion, but consecutive third-place finishes in the stock saw and single buck competitions put him two points behind Hall entering the fourth and final event, the standing block chop.

McLeod called the event the toughest to master and one that Cutting trained for by chopping the most difficult wood possible, from knotty slabs to old telephone poles. Come competition time, it paid off.

“He went up there and chopped it as if it were butter,” said McLeod. “He has a giant swing and he unloaded on that block. He decided at that point he was going to take the STIHL Timbersports title.”

After posting a 29.61 second time, the fastest overall, Cutting watched on as Hall took to the stage in the final heat. One glancing blow and a second lost – “an eternity in speeding chopping,” said McLeod – and strong performances by two other competitors made all the difference.

Cutting finished with 43 points to Hall’s 42.

“It was so fun competing in the STIHL Qualifier and having it be so close,” said Cutting. “Over the past year Ethan and I have become pretty good friends. I really wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

While some 400 athletes and support staff from 15 different universities and colleges competed, McLeod credited the event’s overall success to Paul Smith’s forestry club and network of over 100 student, faculty, staff and alumni who volunteered for the event.

“Paul Smith’s was well represented and we showed who we were as a school and as a team,” added McLeod. “We’re fortunate to work at a college that values the sport, tradition, history, and quite frankly, winning. We had the resources to make it happen and we did it.”

Men’s Top 3
Paul Smith’s College, 1818.1 points
SUNY ESF, 1603.7 points
Unity College, 1512.1 points

Jack and Jill Top 3
Paul Smith’s College, 1519.4 points
SUNY Cobleskill, 1452.9 points
Alfred State, 1378.0 points

Women’s Top 3
Paul Smith’s College, 1619.7 points
Colby College, 1582.3 points
University of New Hampshire, 1398.4 points

About Paul Smith’s College
At Paul Smith’s College, it’s about the experience. We are the only four-year institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information, visit



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