The Sylvans group photo

Stephen F. Austin State University’s timbersports team, the Sylvans, recently won the 65th annual Southern Forestry Conclave. 

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The Sylvans, Stephen F. Austin State University’s timbersports team, won the 65th annual Southern Forestry Conclave, marking SFA’s sixth consecutive first-place title. 

Hosted by the University of Florida March 14-16 at Cuscowilla Nature and Retreat Center in Micanopy, Florida, the competition featured 12 other universities. SFA’s team placed first in technical events and second in physical events to earn an overall score of 289 points. 

Technical events test the team’s knowledge of forestry, and physical events showcase the team’s physical skills in areas including sawing, chopping and climbing. 

Securing the top rank, the SFA team celebrated its 18th total conclave win. North Carolina State University placed second with 281.5 points, while the University of Georgia placed third with 209.75 points. 

Jacob Sanders, Sylvans president and senior forestry major from New Boston, led the team through a tense competition this year as it battled North Carolina State University for the win. 

“The first day didn’t quite go as planned, and it had the team feeling pretty down about our results,” Sanders said. “After a motivational speech and some group singing, the Sylvans woke up on day two determined to bring the trophy back home. We placed in the top three in every event on day two, and I couldn’t be prouder of how the team performed.” 

At an individual level, Sanders proved to be a valuable member of the team as he earned a plaque in all seven events in which he competed. 

Collectively, 32 students and two alumni traveled to the competition along with Dr. Jeremy Stovall, Sylvans coach and professor of forestry, and Chelsea Lopez, volunteer coach. 

In the physical events, the Sylvans accomplished a major feat by winning every sawing event. Their performance was the first time in the history of Conclave that a single team won all five of these events.

The hours of practice and the consistent teamwork they displayed paid off despite the challenges they experienced. 

“I couldn’t even begin to describe how nervous I and the rest of the team were during the awards ceremony, but it didn’t compare to the excitement that we all felt when the SFA Sylvans were called for first place overall,” Sanders said. 

For more information on the Sylvans, visit Sylvans Timbersports, or contact Stovall at

Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at the SFA website.