BY KYLE BRENNAN
BEACON FALLS — Most fall sports teams at Woodland have plenty of time to get acclimated to practice and the start of the school year before competition begins.
Not the Woodland Timber Team.
With fall fair season right around the corner, the Hawks won’t have any time to waste once school begins Aug. 29. Coach Bobby Murdy said that the timbersports athletes will set up their equipment after the first day of school and practice twice during the week before competing at the Goshen Fair on Sept. 3 at 10 a.m.
“It’s a crazy start,” said Murdy, a social studies teacher at Woodland.
Fair season competition continues at the Bethlehem Fair on Sept. 9 at 5:30 p.m. and at the Harwinton Fair on Sept. 30 at 5 p.m. All three high school competitions feature Woodland, Wamogo and Nonnewaug, the three members of the Connecticut Timber League.
The Woodland Timber Team enters its sixth year under the guidance of Murdy, who credits many volunteers, alumni and community donors for helping the team continue its growth.
For example, as Murdy prepared to host the annual Woodland Axe Games, he encountered obstacles in securing the necessary milled pine for the three-team competition. In stepped Mackenzie Tree and Ed the Treeman, two local tree-cutting companies who donated the wood, and the Strumski and Renaud families, who spent several days milling the pine into competition shape.
“It truly takes a village, and I … truly appreciate the support from the entire community,” Murdy wrote in a Facebook post leading up to that competition.
The Woodland Timber Team will return an experienced squad this year after losing just one graduate, captain Alyssa Atkins. In addition to the competitions during fall fair season, the team has competitions scheduled at Woodland, Wamogo and Nonnewaug in the spring.
The spring season could be especially special for the Hawks because if all goes according to plan, the team will use its own axes manufactured at Woodland by the time spring competition season rolls around.
Murdy, along with Woodland business teacher Mike Magas and applied technologies department head Bill Carangelo, are set to launch Woodland Metal Works, a student-led company that will involve both the manufacturing and marketing of axes in a partnership with California-based Precision Axes.
Murdy said the metal, axe handles, leather, and machinery are all at the school awaiting students on their first day. The interdisciplinary class will also create metal chess sets and custom metal signs in its first year.
“I would think realistically to have some [axes] ready by Christmas,” Murdy said. “They’ll be ready for the spring season Day 1.”
Talk about a busy fall for Murdy, who will juggle the new business venture with the timber team over the next couple of months.
“My focus is slightly diverted to the axe making business starting up in a week, but I hope to do both proud,” he said.
BY KYLE BRENNAN