Tim Benedict has been here before. Only this time is different. This time will be the last chance the Youngsville High School graduate has to win the Stihl Timbersports collegiate national championships for logging skills.
Benedict has an impressive college resume - winning the Stihl Mid-Atlantic Qualifier in 2010 and finishing second last year.
Over the weekend, Benedict won again in Troy, N.C., in dominating fashion, points-wise anyway. He was first out of seven collegiate competitors in the stock saw, first in the single buck saw, first in the underhand chop, and second in the standing block chop. Representing Penn State University, he won with 27 out of a possible 28 maximum points.
He's not satisfied.
"Overall, I wasn't happy with my performance, but it got the job done," said Benedict, a Forestry major. "I have a lot of work to do before the finals in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee."
That's where the pro and collegiate national championships will be held from June 1-3. The winner gets a shot on the Stihl Pro Series, and Benedict wants that shot.
"It would be awesome to win a collegiate championship," said Benedict, who finished third last year. "It's been my goal for the past three years. They say the third time's a charm.
"If I don't win I will keep practicing, and then apply for the pro series in the future," he said. "To get in, you have to send a resume into the Stihl series and then get picked to try out. They only take 40 pros to try out each year. The collegiate champion gets an automatic shot to try out."
Benedict competed the past two years out of Penn State Mont Alto. He transferred to Penn State and helped reshape the woodsmen's club there.
This year, Benedict thinks the experience will help.
"I know when I first started competing, nerves were a huge part," he said. "It was really easy to psych yourself out, having competed in enough big shows they don't seem to bother me now. Nationals should be a very close race."
Benedict works and trains with Stihl Pro Series competitor Michael Koers of Russell.
"We will be training after work, getting ready for nationals," said Benedict. "If I win I get to travel with the nation's best pro competitor to Norway to compete in the world championships."