By Kyle Brennan, Citizen’s News
BEACON FALLS — The courtyard outside Woodland’s cafeteria used to be an afterthought at the high school. That’s not the case anymore — and certainly not after the Woodland timber team christened its new competition deck at its annual Woodland Axe Games competition May 21.
Competing in a multi-team event for the first time since the fall of 2019, the Hawks welcomed the new timber team from Nonnewaug, the third such program in Connecticut.
“The Axe Games was pure happiness,” Woodland coach Bobby Murdy said. “Not only did we welcome a new team into the sport, but the seniors finally got a competition after two seasons being cancelled, and without masks covering those smiles. No matter how the teams did, they were all winners that day.”
Previous competitions took place on Woodland’s soccer field after hauling up all the team’s equipment. Now, with a brand-new deck that was built through fundraising and donations, the Hawks’ competition setup rivals that of those at the state’s agricultural fairs.
“The deck worked out amazing,” Murdy said.
Teams competed in crosscut, axe throw, bow saw, log roll and pulp toss on a sunny Friday afternoon before a hundred spectators. Woodland claimed most of the top prizes in those events.
(The Woodland timber team competed against Nonnewaug at the 4th annual Woodland Axe Games on May 21 at Woodland Regional High School. PHOTOS BY ELIO GUGLIOTTI)
Peter Dupre and Tyler Smith won men’s crosscut, while Hunter Laudate and Jacob Howson placed third in that event. Woodland’s Amber Tanguay and Marissa O’Rourke placed second in the women’s event. In the jack and jill crosscut, Laudate and O’Rourke teamed up to win the top prize, and Tanguay and Dupre followed up in second.
Laudate won the axe throw with a pair of bull’s eyes, and Tanguay was just behind him in third. The Hawks also swept men’s bow saw with Smith, Dupre and Laudate taking the respective gold, silver and bronze medals. O’Rourke was third to pace Woodland in the women’s bow saw.
Woodland claimed the top three prizes in log roll, too. Smith and Dupre teamed up to take first, while Luke Cybulski and Justin DeCampos placed second and Josh D’Archangelo and Jakob DeCampos finished third.
The Hawks’ pulp toss teams wrapped up the scoring with victories. Smith, Laudate, Howson and Cybulski won the men’s event, while O’Rourke, Tanguay, Lauren Mulinski and Hailey Cronk took the women’s event.
“Both sides brought their A-game and both sides won awards,” Murdy said. “[There’s] some serious timbersports talent in Connecticut.”
Nonnewaug, which now joins Woodland and Wamogo as the third high school timbersports team in Connecticut, appreciated the opportunity to compete for the first time. The agricultural school, which includes students from Beacon Falls, Naugatuck and Prospect, will compete in the fall fairs.
“I think I speak for the whole team when I say we appreciate everything, you all showed us so much support and cheered us on,” Nonnewaug’s Kennis McCarthy posted to the Woodland timber team’s Facebook page.
Woodland Axe Games results
- Peter Dupre/Tyler Smith (Woodland)
- Josh Tyler/Ryan Wicklund (Nonnewaug)
- Hunter Laudate/Jacob Howson (Woodland)
- Kennis McCarthy/Shelby Rushin (Nonnewaug)
- Amber Tanguay/Marissa O’Rourke (Woodland)
- Hannah Ely/Alyssa Hodges (Nonnewaug)
- Hunter Laudate/ Marissa O’Rourke (Woodland)
- Amber Tanguay/ Peter Dupre (Woodland)
- Devon Zapatka/ Hannah Ely (Nonnewaug)
- Hunter Laudate (Woodland)
- Ryan Wicklund (Nonnewaug)
- Amber Tanguay (Woodland)
Men’s Bow Saw
- Tyler Smith (Woodland)
- Peter Dupre (Woodland)
- Hunter Laudate (Woodland)
Women’s Bow Saw
- Shelby Rushin (Nonnewaug)
- Kennis McCarthy (Nonnwaug)
- Marissa O’Rourke (Woodland)
- Tyler Smith/Peter Dupre (Woodland)
- Luke Cybulski/Justin DeCampos (Woodland)
- Josh D’Archangelo/Jakob DeCampos (Woodland)
Men’s Pulp Toss
- Tyler Smith/Hunter Laudate/Jacob Howson/Luke Cybulski (Woodland)
Women’s Pulp Toss
- Marissa O’Rourke/Lauren Mulinski/Amber Tanguay/Hailey Cronk (Woodland)