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SEASON PREVIEW - 2019

2019 Log Rolling Preview


2019 Men’s world champion Tanner Hallett(right) shoots for his second straight
world championship in 2019



In the 1950’s, Hayward, WI promoter Tony Wise began forming the organization that would eventually become known as the Lumberjack World championships, setting the tone for what has become Pro Log Rolling’s featured event. And for the second straight summer, one of Wise’s other creations, The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, will operate and oversee The Lumberjack World Championships, once again bringing a live stream of the event worldwide, among several other features for 2019.

As the “birkie” group continues to grow and promote the LWC, the same is being done elsewhere throughout the Pro Logrolling circuit, as the 2019 season gets underway this month. The Three Rivers Roleo (Onalaska, WI) will be broadcast on Fox Sports North for the fifth consecutive season. Meanwhile, in Gladstone, MI, The US Logrolling Open saw its biggest crowd ever last summer, and that trend is expected to continue this year as the Open returns to Gladstone. Two other featured events will have new and improved looks this summer, including the season opening Midwest Championships, set to take place at the renovated Lake Wingra site in Madison, WI, as well as the La Crosse Open, which moves to Chad Erickson Park in La Crosse, WI. The 2019 Pro Log Rolling season is set to kick off with a heightened exposure throughout the sport, and a fresh look at several stops along the way. And it promises to be among the most exciting seasons in many years.


WHO TO WATCH - MEN


Tanner Hallett – The now 20-year old Hallett became the first teenager to win a men’s Pro Log Rolling World Championship last year since JR Salzman did so in 1998. Hallett, who now has three professional wins in just two years, heads in this summer as the World’s top ranked pro. Using his 6’5 frame, Hallett’s long powerful strides can generate enormous power on the log, but his ability to shorten his steps when needed gives him a deadly combination. Hallett, who grew up in the Milwaukee suburb of Oconomowoc,WI, will have some stiff competition in a strong men’s field this year, but starting this month in Madison, he’ll likely be the favorite throughout much of the summer.

Anthony Polentini - As a rookie in 2018, Polentini shot out of the gate with a runner up finish at The Midwest Championships in Madison, and then won his first career pro tournament at The US Log rolling Open. He also won at Namekagon and Grand Marais in 2018, along with taking home a World Championship in the Boom run at the LWC. Polentini, who turns 18 this summer, is the youngest top competitor in the men’s field this year, but already among the best.

Connor Birdsong – The third year pro already has nine top three finishes in his career, and heads into 2019 following three victories last year (Midwest Championships, Three Rivers Roleo, La Crosse Open). Birdsong, an elite long distance runner, brings an endurance factor that very few in the men’s field can match. Entering his third year as a pro, Birdsong will likely be a strong competitor throughout the summer and should be in the mix to win on a weekly basis.

Kody Koblitz - Koblitz, the fourth ranked roller in the world, broke in as a rookie last year with two top three finishes, including a third place finish at The Three Rivers Roleo, where he knocked off four time World champion Jaime Fischer and top contender Tom Mengwasser. Koblitz also had a strong fourth place finish at the 2018 World Championships.

Jaime Fischer - Among the most highly decorated Timbersport athletes of all time, Fischer will gun for his fifth World Championship this summer. If he can pull it off, the 38 year old Fischer would become the oldest World Champion ever. Fischer, who’s also won eight Boom run world titles, is currently the fifth ranked Log Roller in the world.

Tom Mengwasser - Entering his third season as a pro, Mengwasser already has two top three finishes in his career, including a third place at Namekagon last year. Mengwasser also pulled off fourth place finishes in Madison, The Three Rivers Roleo, and came in fifth at World championships in 2018. Look for Mengwasser to be a major challenger on a weekly basis in a deep men’s field this year.

Shane Burns - The 21-year old La Crosse, WI native could be the sleeper in this year’s field. Burns had multiple five fall matches against eventual circuit winners last year and appears to be close to getting over the hump. A multiple world champ at the amateur level, Burns appears ready to make a climb in the pro ranks this summer.

Cassidy Scheer – The 38-year old Scheer continues to be a thorn in the side of several top contenders with his superb directional splashing ability and powerful aggressive style. Scheer has consistently been a top five finisher in recent years and should be in the mix on a weekly basis again this summer.

Garrick Birdsong - Birdsong, who enters his sixth year as a pro, has put together a solid career so far, with three pro victories and 11 top three finishes. In 2018, Birdsong cracked the top five at both the Midwest Championships in Madison and at the La Crosse Open.

Dominik Serpico - The 22-year old Serpico enters 2019 ranked 10th in the world, and should consistently be a strong contender throughout the upcoming summer. Serpico has one career victory and three top three finishes as a pro.


WHO TO WATCH - WOMEN


Livi Pappadopoulos - Last year, as a 17 year old rookie, Pappadopoulos burst upon the scene, winning all seven pro tournaments, including the 2018 World Championships in Hayward, WI., and did not lose a single match all year. This year’s field gets considerably tougher though, with former World Champions Shana Verstegan, Lizzie Horvitz, and Gretchen Greene all returning, along with perennial top contender Abby Delaney back in the field as well. Needless to say, Pappadopoulos starts the season as the favorite in a very strong women’s group.

Meredith Ingbretson - The 24-year old Ingbretson is among the top all around Timbersport athletes in the world. She’s already racked up two Log rolling world titles and five Boom championships. Last year, she finished second at both The World Championships in Hayward,WI, and at The Three Rivers Roleo. Ingbretson enters the 2019 season as the second ranked women’s log roller and number one boom runner.

Ellie Davenport - Davenport might be the quickest pro log roller on the women’s circuit, and showed it last year with three runner up finishes. The 21-year old Davenport has built up a strong resume, with 12 pro victories in her career, 28 top three finishes, and a world championship title in 2016. In one of the deepest women’s fields in recent history, Davenport should be in the mix to win on a regular basis in 2019.

Emily Christopherson - After more than a decade on the pro circuit, Christopherson continues to roll at an elite level. Last year, she finished third at both the US Logrolling Open and La Crosse Open, while grabbing fourth place finishes at both Namekagon and World Championships. Christopherson has six pro victories and an astonishing 32 top three finishes in her career. Like clockwork, look for her to crack the top five throughout the summer, and consistently contend for the top spot at each tournament this season.

Haley Penning - The third year pro from Hayward, WI took a big step up in 2018, with four top five finishes (US Logrolling open, Three Rivers Roleo, Namekagon, LWC). Penning is among the best young rollers in a crowded women’s field, and could be in the mix to win her first pro title in 2019.

Shana Verstegan - Simply put, among the very best pro Log rollers of all time. The Madison, WI native has won a remarkable 24 pro tournaments in her career, to go along with four World championships, and eight times, has made it to the finals at LWC. Verstegan, after more than 20 years as a pro, comes back this year, after missing last season following the birth of her second child. Based on a strong 2017 season, Verstegan currently sits sixth in the pro women’s rankings, and should be a major factor in 2019.

Olivia Judd - Judd got off to a great start in 2018 with a second place finish at the Midwest championships in Madison, and used that momentum to have, perhaps her best season as a pro. In addition to her runner up in Madison, she picked up top five finishes at both the highly competitive Three Rivers Roleo and LWC. Judd enters 2019 as the seventh ranked women’s pro log roller.

Katie Burke - Burke continues to be among the most competitive and consistent rollers on the women’s pro circuit. She enters 2019 with 13 career top three finishes as a pro. Last year Burke cracked the top 5 at The Midwest Championships, US Logrolling open, LWC, and at the Minnesota State Championships.

Abby Delaney - Delaney returns in 2019 after giving birth to her son last year, and is expected to be among the top rollers and boom runners in the women’s field. Over her career, Delaney has collected five pro log rolling victories and 27 top three finishes. Before taking off last year, Delaney had a solid 2017, picking up a runner up at the US Logrolling Open, top five finish at World Championships, and a Boom running World Championship. She’ll enter 2019 gunning for her sixth Boom run title.

Gretchen Greene - The 24-year old Madison native is back in 2019 and should be right in the mix as a top contender. Having won a World Championship in 2013, Greene is among eight different women in this year’s field that have won at least one World Championship. Greene has five total wins as a pro, and 11 times has cracked the top three.

2019 schedule

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June 22 Midwest Logrolling Championships Madison, WI
July 4 US Logrolling Open Gladstone, MI
July 20 La Crosse Open La Crosse, WI
July 13-14 Three Rivers Roleo Onalasksa, WI
July 28 Namekagon River Roll off Hayward, WI
Aug 1-3 Lumberjack World Championships Hayward, WI

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