For a decade, Auburn has hosted the Northwest Regional Sport Stacking tournament.
This weekend, however, the city takes the next step up, hosting the World Sports Stacking Association’s (WSSA) United States Sport Stacking National Championships at Auburn Mountainview High School.
For John Ansotigue, who has been involved with sport stacking since 1994 and has organized the regional competition, the national event is a very big deal indeed.
“We have had a very successful Northwest Regional competition for a number of years,” said Ansotigue, an Evergreen Heights Elementary music and physical eduction teacher. “The WSSA has decided to come to our area because we have such a strong base of sport stackers, so they decided to come out West. I’m excited to have it here and to have all the people I’ve known at tournaments throughout the years all over come here.”
Wayne Godinet, a program director for the Boys and Girls Club of Oceanside, Calif., invented sport stacking in the early 1980s. Sometimes known as cup stacking, the sport centers on sets 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 as fast as possible. In competitions, stackers record times in various events.
In addition to spurring the competitive nature of participants, Ansotigue said, sport stacking helps with the development of children who take up the sport. That’s why he has been teaching it at Evergreen Heights for almost 15 years.
“I liked the physical and physiological things that took place when the kids were learning the sport,” Ansotigue said. “Like the hand-eye coordination, the left-brain, right-brain development, called bilateral brain development, taking place. It’s also developing musical and athletic skills. The patterns in cup stacking help with mathematics. They’re finding through studies that kids who do this from an early stage do better in math because of the patterns that they’re learning. They also learn to read earlier because they’re training their brain to go from left to right. So reading and math ability have been approved.”
The nationals, which are expected to draw more than 200 competitors from throughout the country, run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.
Winners at the event earn a chance to compete at the 2015 World Sport Stacking Tournament, April 11-12 in Montreal.
For more information, visit www.thewssa.com/usnationals.