TROY, N.C. -- Arden Cogar Jr. scored 45 of a possible 48 points to finish atop the leaderboard at the 2012 STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Mid-Atlantic Pro Qualifier presented by Ram Trucks. The nation’s top lumberjack also punched his ticket to defend a championship title.
That means slots in the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® U.S. Championship are filling with lumberjacks from the Cogar clan. Nephew Matt Cogar advanced from the Midwest Pro Qualifier last week, while his father Paul entered from the Southern Pro Qualifier in March.
The U.S. championship is June 1-3 at the Smoky Mountain LumberJack Feud in Pigeon, Forge, Tenn.
Harry Burnsworth, Mike Eash, and Matt Marks advanced to the championship by tying for second through fourth place, at the event held at Montgomery Community College in Troy, N.C.
The Midwest College Qualifier also advanced the top overall lumberjack to the championship. Penn State University’s Tim Benedict claimed the honor for the second time after scoring 27 points. Benedict won the MidAtlantic region in 2010 and was selected as the wild card competitor in 2011 after losing a close battle to eventual US Collegiate Champion Daniel Jones.
Haywood Community College was next in the standings with 21 points. Other participating schools in order of finish included Penn State-Mont Alto, Dabney S. Lancaster Community College, West Virginia University, Montgomery Community College and Allegany College.
The final scorecard underscores the dominating performance of Cogar Jr. He finished 15 points ahead of Burnsworth, Eash and Marks, all of whom scored 30 points.
“If I had to handicap myself in this event this is where I would have ended up,” said Cogar Jr. “It couldn’t have gone any better. I actually competed to my full potential. I’m pleased.”
The West Virginian lived up to his championship form from the beginning. He ascended the tulip poplar springboard pole and severed its white pine block in a time of 1:05. That was seven seconds ahead of Marks.
The stock saw event was nearly a wash. Eash scored a winning time of 13.230 seconds compared to the 13.377 finish of Cogar Jr. Burnsworth, the master of the discipline, followed with 13.473 seconds.
“That’s really a fantastic time for me because the saw events aren’t my strongest,” Cogar Jr. said.
He bounded back in the standing block, one of his best events. Cogar Jr. scored the best time of 15 seconds, well ahead of the 19 seconds chopped by Eash.
“That’s one of my best times for the standing block so by then I knew I was on my way,” said Cogar Jr.
Cogar Jr. sawed his way through a tightly contested single buck in 14.673 seconds. By comparison, Jason Lentz followed with a time of 14.123 and Eash broke a cookie in 15.575 seconds.
With two disciplines remaining, Cogar Jr. chose his strongest to claim his championship ticket. The master chopper posted a time of 17 seconds in the underhand to win by four seconds over Lentz.
With the overall Mid-Atlantic title his and a return the championship inevitable, Cogar Jr. chose the conservative route in the hot saw. That’s because all that was needed was putting three cookies on the deck, which he did in 7 seconds.
“I wanted to make a conservative cut and took my time,” he said. “I knew that I didn’t have to win. I just needed to put a time in.”
Cogar Jr. will now take time to train. And he’ll do that in France as guest coach of the country’s national team. His wife Kristy will go along as well. It’s hard to decide who will be training whom.
“As part of my coaching I am racing against their best athletes,” he said. “So they will be competing against me. That does them good because they are training in a race mode.”
It will also do Cogar Jr. good when he comes back to defend his title.
The next event in the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series is the Northeast Qualifier at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., on April 28.