Jay Blackburn, 2007 Haywood Community College Forest Management graduate, recently came home the victor of the STIHL Intercollegiate championship held in Stillwater, Minnesota. Blackburn competed with students from Canada's McGill University, North Carolina State University, Central Oregon Community College, Paul Smith's College, and Sir Sanford Fleming College. The championship came down to a three-way tie with Blackburn winning the tie breaker. As a result of the win, Blackburn secured a spot in the first round of the STIHL 2008 Professional Series.

Last year, Jay Blackburn was the overall winner of Stihl Chainsaw's Mid-Atlantic States Intercollegiate Woodsmen's Meet and competed in the Stihl Collegiate Competition. He was Rookie of the Year for 2005 for the South Atlantic Woodsmen's Association (SAWA).

The Marion native continues to compete in SAWA. He trains 5-6 days a week for 3-4 hours per day.

"I was surprised to win," Blackburn explains. "It was a tough competition. It takes a lot of training to get to the top but I'm dedicated to it. I am driven to get better."