LAST SUMMER, when most Mac students were waitressing or packing for college, Gretchen Greene ’17 (Madison, Wis.) was winning first prize in log rolling at the Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wis.

Not exactly an everyday sport, but one that Greene fell in love with at age nine, when she first saw log-rollers compete at the Great Outdoor Games on one of her hometown’s lakes. That’s for me, she said, and immediately started taking lessons at Madison’s Lake Wingra and a local YMCA.

All the hard work and practice that ensued in the years since paid off last summer when she won the top spot in log rolling and second place in boom running (running as fast as you can up and down a log) in Hayward.

Although she loves both events, says Greene, “I like boom running best because it’s shorter and more nerveracking. If you fall in, it’s difficult to get back up but you still have a good time.”

While at Macalester—a college she shares with older sister and soccer player Ingrid—Greene takes a break from the northwoods sport. She stays in shape by being a member of the cross-country team and working out at the Leonard Center, but leaves her logs back home in Wisconsin. Many of her classmates, she says, especially those from the East Coast, have never even heard of log-rolling. But that doesn’t bother Greene, who hopes to continue in her sport for at least another decade.

There’s not a lot of money in it—that top prize last summer paid just $1,600 and boom running pays even less—but the fun and camaraderie make up for it, says Greene. One of her top competitors is also her longtime teacher. “We all compete against each other but we’re all really good friends.”

January 31 2014

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