Orange chaps clipped around their legs, Rankin Fender and Zac O’Connor square off inside the sawdust-and-bark-filled woodshed at Haywood Community College. Late afternoon sunlight angles through the lean-to’s open walls, and the two students each grab hold of one handle of a razor-sharp crosscut saw. They slide the blunt end back and forth along the bolted-down log between them, marking out a groove.
“Timer ready? Sawyers ready?” asks Ethan Bolick, a seasoned member of the HCC timbersports team. “Three, two, one, go!”