Dartmouth Timber Team hosts 75th annual Ross McKenny Timber Meet

12 universities competed at the meet, which was hosted on the Green for the first time since 2018.

by Julia Abbott | 5/5/23 5:00am

by Veronica Culhane / The Dartmouth

On April 30, the Dartmouth Timber Team, a subclub within the Dartmouth Outing Club, hosted the 75th annual Ross McKenny Timber Meet on the Green. The meet featured a series of competitive outdoorsmen events between Dartmouth and 11 other universities. Dartmouth placed last at the meet, according to Timber Team captain Farrar Ranson ’23. Paul Smith College won first place overall, with Colby College and University of Connecticut placing second and third, respectively.  

Teams competed in 19 different events divided into singles, doubles, triples, teams and canoeing competitions. The Timber Team won the singles firebuild and doubles chain throw events, while the Dartmouth alumni team placed first among its cohort.

This year’s  meet marked the first time that any current undergraduates have attended a Timber Team meet since the onset of the pandemic, and the first Timber Team event held at Dartmouth since 2018, according to team member Theodore Castellani ’23. 

“It’s a great opportunity to showcase what we do to a lot of other Dartmouth students, and every single time we hold a spring meet, we get a lot more recruits from the student population,” Castellani said. 

A number of former Timber Team members returned to campus to compete for Dartmouth’s alumni group, Marshall Willson ’17, who took part in the event, said. He added that the meet “is the best event Dartmouth ever does.”

“It’s such an awesome time for all these teams to come together and show everyone on campus what they’re doing,” Willson said. “The camaraderie, the sportsmanship is so great on all these weekends.”

The meet is named after Ross McKenny, a College instructor who founded both the Timber Team and the Spring Meet, taught students how to build log cabins, construct canoes and make a pair of snowshoes, among other outdoorsman skills, according to Sports Illustrated. It is held annually by a rotating group of universities including Dartmouth, which founded the meet in 1947, according to Ransom. Dartmouth hosts the event once every three years, according to Ransom. 

Timber Team member Isaac Mullen ’26 said that competing in the meet on the Green was “super fun.”

“It’s a really cool chance to show off what we do to the whole school,” Mullen said. “It’s really fun to have teams from other schools here too.”

Timber Team members practice a variety of  woodsman skills, including chain throwing, firebuilding, tree chopping and crosscut sawing. The team has practiced some of these events since its inception.

Ransom explained that chain throwing is an event which involves coiling up two lengths of surveyor’s tape into “neat circles.” 

“It’s an event that’s kind of dying out because it’s really hard to find surveyor’s tape anymore,” Ransom said. “They’re all antiques.” 

In order to continue performing these events, freshmen on the Timber Team are looking ahead to carry on the Timber Team’s traditions and legacy, Talula Seale ’26 said. 

“I’ve gotten a lot of seniors coming up to me and telling me in three years I’ll be planning the next one, which is exciting and intimidating at the same time,” Seale said. “It’s cool to see how well they’ve pulled it off — big bar to live up to.”