They say the third time's the charm.
For Tim Benedict, it certainly was.
Benedict, who just graduated from Penn State with a degree in forest management, and who was competing in the STIHL Timbersports Collegiate National Championships for the third straight year, finally reached his goal of winning a championship on Sunday and earning an automatic shot to try out STIHL Pro Series.
The Official STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series
Pittsfield-native Tim Benedict, at left, finishes the underhand chop — the last event of the STIHL Timbersports Collegiate Series Championships — on Sunday in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. The third time was the charm for Penn State University’s Benedict, the national champion who now gets a shot at the STIHL Pro Series in the future.
On top of that, the Youngsville High School graduate will represent the United States at the 2012 STIHL Timbersports Series World Championships as a member of the rookie relay team in Lillehammer, Norway, this September.
Benedict finished in last place at nationals in 2010 before improving to a third-place finish last year. This year, he got off to a strong start, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., winning the stock saw in 12 seconds.
In the second event, the standing block chop, his time of 37 seconds put him in fifth place, and third place overall heading into the single buck event.
After finishing third in the single buck, his standing improved to second overall, with the underhand chop deciding the win. Benedict's time of 26.620 just beat out the 26.930 that North Carolina State's Victor Wassack posted.
When all was said and done, Benedict ended with 18 points, two points ahead of runner-up David Andrews from SUNY-ESP.
"I learned before that you come up with a plan that falls inside your limits and you stick to it," he told the STIHL Timbersports website, while also acknowledging that his experience over the past two years gave him an edge.
Benedict prepared by working with STIHL Timbersports Pro Series competitor Mike Koers, of Russell, who helped mentor him in his standing block and underhand chop skills, which Benedict considered his weakest events.
"If I hadn't won, I was going to apply for pro status anyway, so this makes it all the more better," he told www.stihltimbersports.us.
Benedict, 22, had already been a STIHL Mid-Atlantic Qualifier winner in 2010 before winning again this year in Troy, N.C. He entered this year's national competition more confident than ever.
"I was (pretty confident), and I stayed that way for a couple events," he said, before starting to trail.
The underhand chop is not one of Benedict's strongest events, but he said training extra hard with Koers made all the difference.
"All the other kids (among the six), it was their first year being there, and you could tell before; they were all stressing out," said Benedict.
He said he would not have won had he not already gone through those feelings the past couple of years.
It also helped that he had 20 or so family members and friends that traveled to Tennessee to root him on.
"He's taken us to a lot of places where we wouldn't have gone," said his mother, Sandy.
The next place will be in front of the TV at 4 p.m. Sunday on The Outdoor Channel for a replay of his collegiate series win, Benedict confirmed on Monday.