Auburn hosts sport stacking regional competition

Hazen High School Gold team stacker Pierce Harris competes at the 2014 Northwest Regional Sport Stacking competition - Shawn Skager/Reporter
Hazen High School Gold team stacker Pierce Harris competes at the 2014 Northwest Regional Sport Stacking competition
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Reporter

Auburn High School's gymnasium resounded with the rapid fire, click-clack of plastic stacking cups last Saturday, as competitors from throughout the Western States and Canada pitted their skills against one another in the Northwest Regional Sports Stacking Championships.

For the past nine years, regional stackers have vied for world, national and personal-record times in various events, all featuring timed stackings of a set of 12 uniformly-sized cups, placed upside down on a flat surface, stacked in one of three configurations and disassembled quickly. The goal is to complete a stacking cycle in as little time as possible.

Winners at the regional competition earn a berth in the U.S. Sport Stacking Association's National/Kansas City Open championships on March 29 in Kansas City, Mo. From there, stackers can take it to the next level at the WSSA World Sport Stacking Championships on April 26 in Jeonju, South Korea.

For the past seven years, Hazen High School has fielded a team composed of special needs students in the special stackers division.

Last Saturday, keyed by 19-year-old Pierce Harris – world record holder in the 3-6-3 and cycle events – Brittney Drebert – world record holder in the pairs 3-6-3 and cycle events – and Jesse Choi and Manuel Bettencourt, the team won its division's head-to-head relay competition.

Although the accolades, ribbons and trophies are all part of the fun, special education teacher and Hazen coach Angie Atkinson said there are additional benefits to stacking competition.

"We started the team trying to find something to get the kids engaged in so they could feel like they were part of the school," she said. "And it's something that works both sides of the brain, as well as hand-eye coordination, so we've seen a lot of improvement in their focus."

Atkinson added:

"The best thing is we've seen them grow to be more social as students, and they've learned about teamwork."

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