The extreme axe-tion inside Simmons Bank Arena was hotter than the scorching temperature outside. On July 22-23, fans were treated to the full spectrum of elite competition, highly contested battles, and nail-biting finishes for the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® 2022 U.S. Championships. Two former champs, Matt Cogar and Erin LaVoie, both chopped their way back to the top of the podium for the Pro and Women divisions, and Andrew O’Connell bested a talented pool of up-and-coming Rookies.
Every Second Matters
Matt Cogar of Grafton, West Virginia further etched his name in STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® history. He added to an illustrious career by winning his seventh U.S. Pro Championship title, after four years of clawing his way back since his last Gold medal in 2018.
With fans on the edge of their seats, the Pro Championship was decided on the final cut of the evening in the Hot Saw, where Cogar’s time of 5.78 seconds narrowly beat Nate Hodges by only two one-hundredths of a second. Hodges of North Folk, California challenged Cogar in every event of the competition, but in the end had to settle for his second career Silver medal in the U.S. Championship.
“I’m so elated,” said Cogar on his win. “It was a great day with these guys. They put their heart into it, I put my heart into it, and to come out ahead, that was pretty spectacular.”
Cogar will travel to Gothenburg, Sweden on October 29 to battle the top athletes in the world at the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® Individual World Championship. With three prior Silver medals at the World Championships, Cogar is laser-focused on tracking down the elusive World title and reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
The King is Dethroned
In another furious finish, Erin LaVoie of Spokane, Washington narrowly edged out the reigning two-time U.S. Women’s Champion Martha King. LaVoie’s impressive performance earned her a Gold medal – the second of her career and first since 2018.
Through sheer grit and determination, LaVoie fought her way to the top by placing first in the Underhand Chop and the Standing Block, where she set a new World Record time of 31.85 seconds. King, in the final heat of the Women’s Championship, was unable to overcome LaVoie’s lead in the Underhand Chop.
“It’s just fun going head-to-head with Martha,” said LaVoie of their showdown today. “Standing Block is one of the events I’ve worked hardest at, and it’s really cool to see it pay off.”
Andrew O’Connell of West Falls, New York outlasted seven eager competitors to win the U.S. Rookie Championship on Friday. In a frenetic afternoon of wild lead changes, O’Connell set himself up for the win with a new U.S. national record time of 13.83 in the Standing Block.
Turn Up the Heat
The Hot Saws were cooking Friday evening during the Pro Semi-Finals. Adam Lethco of Maryville, Tennessee set a new World Record in the Hot Saw with a blistering time of 4.63 seconds. The previous record was held by Germany’s Robert Ebner (4.87 seconds). In true STIHL TIMBERSPORTS® spirit, Ebner reached out to Lethco to congratulate him on the accomplishment. “It’s pretty hard to believe,” said Lethco of his world record.
Full results can be found at https://data.stihl-timbersports.com/.