by Kelly Bessem
All 10 members of the Humboldt State logging sports team scored first place in at least one event during this year’s Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference in Redding, Calif. Humboldt State, Cal Poly, Shasta College, and UC Berkeley all participated.
Team member Dana Grevenkamp scored first place, enough to get “Belle of the Woods”, a title given to the female competitor with the most points overall. Grevenkamp beat out both male and female competitors in some of the events.
Sean Ihle, a wildlife major and president of the HSU logging sports team, is impressed with how competitive the team has become.
“It’s rare that every single person on the team scores that highly,” Ihle said.
“We’ve started working out and practicing form with professionals this year.”
The HSU team gets access to the field, where they hold practice once a week. They compete against teams from schools that provide access five days a week, such as Cal Poly. Motivated team members sought out ways to improve while not on the field, such as 7 a.m. gym meetings.
HSU’s team has now held the Sierra-Cascade Conference trophy more years than any other logging sports team.
Logging sports vice president Jayme Yee, a fisheries major, acknowledges the current team’s talent.
“After a lot of our people graduated last year we lost a lot of good competition and we’ve luckily formed another team of great athletes,” Yee said.
George Menges is a geography major and the longest standing team member.
“We definitely put together the best team we’ve had in years,” Menges said.
The Sierra-Cascade competition consisted of one practice day and two days of timed rounds. At the end of Friday, the first timed day, HSU was tied with Cal Poly.
“Everyone went for it,” Yee said. “Many of the sudden death matches ended up being Humboldt versus Humboldt.”
HSU’s logging sports team broke the tie and won with 14 points. The second-place team had eight.
In addition to winning competitions, team members learn a lot of applicable skills.
“Not everyone is a forestry major but we all learn how to use forestry tools and techniques,” Menges said. “A large portion of our team has or is hoping to work for fire or timber crews.”
Menges said that many team members are interested in conservation.
Evelyn Murphy, an outdoor recreation major, described how being part of the logging sports team also comes with a lot of fun and traveling.
“It’s a lot of fun, and I’ve learned so much,” Murphy said. “I really liked this particular competition because there were a bunch of pros that came to help coach us through things afterwards. We got a lot of good tips.”
Team members also have fun naming all chainsaws and axes that they use. The team named the chainsaw they won at the conference Jefferson. This “State of Jefferson” reference is a running joke among the teammates. The State of Jefferson is a proposed new U.S. state consisting of southern Oregon and Northern California. It remains a frequent reference in the involved counties.
“It was a good day for everyone,” said Ihle about conference.