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Dietherts are nationally-ranked logrollers

Alicia Diethart (70) placed second in the semi-pro women’s division in the pro division of the logrolling competition at the 2015 Lumberjack World Championships on July 23-25 in Hayward. 1 / 2
Jacob Diethert (right) tied for fifth place in the U13 boys amateur division at the 2015 Lumberjack World Championships. 2 / 2

Alicia Diethert started her sporting career by swimming. Now she’s excelling in a sport where she’s trying to stay out of the water.

Diethert and her younger brother, Jacob, have become world-class logrollers. Alicia placed second in the women’s semi-pro logrolling division at the 2015 Lumberjack World Championships last month in Hayward. Jacob tied for fifth place in the U13 boys amateur division at the world championships.

Alicia first showed interest in logrolling when she was a member of the swim team at The Centre in New Richmond. The kids had some previous knowledge of the sport, because their dad, Todd, had been a competitive logroller when he was young.

They found out that there was a team run through the Hudson YMCA and their interest blossomed. That was eight years ago. Alicia, who will be a freshman at Somerset High School this fall, has been climbing the national ranks among the young female logrollers ever since.

Because the Dietherts compete as amateurs, they have approximately 16 meets they can compete in over a year’s time. Most of the events are in the summer. One exception was last winter in La Crosse. As part of a fundraiser, Alicia was one of the logrollers who participated in a Polar Plunge event.

“I think it was 11 below. It was for a good cause,” she said.

The Dietherts were among the more than 90 amateurs who competed at the world championships in Hayward on July 23-25. They compete with many of the same rollers at each event, so friendships have been struck with some of their competitors. Alicia’s main competition is frequently one of her teammates, Caitlyn Pott, who won the national championship in the U17 girls division.

“When we’re off the log, it’s like we’re best friends again,” Alicia said.

Todd and his wife, Denise, said the team often travels together and camps together when they have overnight events.

The team from the Hudson YMCA even has its own Facebook page, “Hudson Log Rolling.” Anyone seeking more information about trying logrolling or becoming a member of the team can contact the Hudson YMCA.

One of the instructors at Hudson is Jamie Fischer of Stillwater, one of the most well-known logrollers and competitive lumberjacks in the country. Fischer is a third generation competitive logroller who has held world records in boomrunning, another of the events in the competition. The Dietherts have tried boomrunning, but they can’t compete in the event until they turn 16.

Fischer also produces the logs that are used in many of the area competitions. The logs are shaved down Western Red Cedar logs. The logs, which cost $400-$700, are the main cost for the sport. The other cost is shoes. Alicia’s shoes started out as soccer shoes. Todd ground down the spikes and replaced them with golf spikes, to give better traction on the logs. Competitors at the younger levels compete on logs that are wrapped in a layer of carpeting. The upper skill levels compete on bare logs. Boomrunnning is also done on bare logs, usually involving running across a series of 7-10 logs that are linked together.

The Dietherts said there are very few injuries in logrolling, pointing to bruised shins and carpet burned knees in explaining the most common injuries.

Both of the kids said they’d encourage others to try the sport.

“It takes a little bit to learn, but a long time to get it right,” Jacob said. “It’s more about who has the best endurance, stance, balance.”

The Dietherts are both involved in several sports. They are both heavily involved in karate, with Alicia holding a brown belt and Jacob a red belt. Alicia will be competing this fall for the Somerset girls golf team and she also teaches karate to kids 3-6 years old.

Both of the kids say they see no end in sight to their logrolling interest. Alicia said he plans to compete “until I can’t, until there’s no chance to beat the competition.”

Dave Newman

Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.

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