Andes' Little helps team to title in STIHL/TIMBERSPORTS series
By John Bernhardt
Local channel-surfing sports buffs could be in for a surprise this fall. Flicking through the channels, Delaware County enthusiasts might spot Andes graduate Ryan Little competing in the STIHL/TIMBERSPORTS Collegiate Series. Little, a sophomore at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, helped his school bring home the team championship in the Northeast Spring meet held at the University of New Hampshire.
The STIHL/TIMBERSPORTS Collegiate Series was an added feature of the spring regional meet. Eleven participating schools qualified to select one representative to participate in a regional competition to determine the woodman who will represent the Northeast in the Stihl Collegiate Championship event to be held in Georgia in early June. Each college held a team competition to determine who would compete in the collegiate series. The challenge was filmed by ESPNU and will be aired as part of a special telecast sometime in the fall. Little was the Paul Bunyan of the Finger Lakes Community College team and challenged for the individual title in this past weekend‚Äôs event in New Hampshire.
Started at Dartmouth College in 1947, ‚ÄúWoodsmen Weekends‚Äù were organized to help keep alive the traditional skills used to cut timber and get it to the mill through collegiate competitions. Originally tabbed ‚ÄúWoodsmen‚Äôs Week-ends‚Äù the team competition has run continuously since 1948 and is now called Spring Meet.
Capitalizing on the strength of first place performances in single and double canoeing events and pulp tossing contests, Finger Lakes Community College was crowned the 2008 Spring Meet Champions. Little took first place in a pulp tossing distance throw tossing a 4‚Äô6‚Äù long log weighing between 30 and 40 pounds 43‚Äô9‚Äù. The Finger Lakes College finished at the top of a packed leader board that included schools like Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, the University of Connecticut, Penn State, the University of Maine, Colby College, and Paul Smith College.
The former Andes athletic star bested his Finger Lake teammates in saw-off and chop-off events to represent the college in the Collegiate Series Northeast Regional. Representatives from 11 colleges squared off in three events; the single buck saw, the two-hand cut, and the stock saw, to determine who would represent the Northeast in the Stihl Collegiate Champ- ionship. Little placed fourth with Paul Smith‚Äôs Matt Bolton advancing to the title round.
The Andes native was interviewed by ESPN‚Äôs Dave Jewett, a former world champion timber sport participant in several events including the single buck saw.
‚ÄúI never saw myself being on ESPN, that‚Äôs for sure,‚Äù laughed Little after the interview. He added, ‚ÄúBeing on the Woodsmen team has been the experience of a lifetime,‚Äù noted Little.
‚ÄúPeople probably take the sport a little bit more for granted than they should. It‚Äôs a lot more difficult than it looks. I‚Äôm definitely glad I tried out.‚Äù
Photo shots of Little competing in the Northeast Regional can be found on www.ESPNOutdoors.com.