A group of Norcross Cluster students brought home the gold (and silver and bronze) from the 2018 AAU Junior Olympic Games… in Sport Stacking. Three Peachtree ES students and three Pinckneyville MS students competed in the event, earning a combined 18 medals— four gold, one silver, two bronze, and eleven medals for 4th to 10 place. Competing students included Sophia Hairston, a kindergartner and the youngest stacker at the tournament; 5th graders Leah Hairston and Jonathan Driggers; Eleanor Grogin and Nicholas Follmer, both 6th graders; and 8th grader Matthew Follmer.
Jonathan says his favorite part about participating in the AAU Junior Olympics was the competition itself. “The competition and the challenge,” he says, “it will drive me to practice harder.” Teammate Leah says she enjoys competing as well as reconnecting with friends she met at previous competitions. The 2018 event drew 274 competitors from the U.S., Canada, and Japan.
“All of the athletes have such a great time and really enjoy competing against each other,” says the team’s coach, Peachtree ES P.E. Teacher Michael Senf. “Sport stacking is beneficial for the students because it appeals to kids from all backgrounds and ability levels.”
So what exactly is Sport Stacking? In this individual and team sport, competitors stack specially designed cups in set sequences as fast as they can. Hand-eye coordination, reaction time, concentration, and an eye for sequences and patterns are key for successful stackers who compete for individual times, in relays with teammates, and in doubles with a partner.