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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -
A UW-Stevens Point athlete Ben Hansen is a national lumberjacking champion in a newer sports program at the university. Hansen's talents with an ax are now taking him to Europe. But when you think of collegiate sports, lumberjacking typically doesn't come to mind. Hansen started on the timbersports team in 2009 after his roommate introduced him to the sport. "He just brought me along to practice one night and I enjoyed it, kept doing it, and then eventually it built up enough interest to say I want to do this, I want to do it well, and I want to do it professionally," said Hansen. His determination paid off. Hansen has since won two regional championships and recently won nationals in June. "That's about the peak for college events and we've been doing very well in that the past couple of years," Hansen added. Lumberjacking competition involves events like chopping logs, throwing axes, and sawing big pieces of wood. "When I came and started here seven years ago there was lumberjack equipment around and knowledge of a team, but no formal team," said Paul Doruska, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at UWSP. "I know what the sport brings to students that compete, the leadership and development skills they have both physical and academic, so it's a great thing to have at the university," Doruska added. Hansen grew up on his parents farm near Milladore, Wisconsin. The 22 year old is a forestry major. Hansen says the sport of lumberjacking is hard work and requires a lot of determination. "For me to do it, it was in the weight room, running, training with professionals. The guy I train with is 250 miles away," said Hansen. Hansen travels to Minnesota once a week to train with professional lumberjacks. A lumberjack does use some fancy equipment. Hansen says he owns a $2,000 saw that costs $300 dollars to sharpen frequently. He plans to compete professionally next year after he graduates. Hansen says he's now training for the World Championships in Germany next week.
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