High hopes for stackers at next week's champs

STACK AWAY: Freyberg High School's Michael Sadlier, 13, and Palmerston North Boys' High School's Adam Lawton, 12, prepare for the 2010 world sport stacking championships in Colorado next week.
STACK AWAY: Freyberg High School's Michael Sadlier, 13, and Palmerston North Boys' High School's Adam Lawton, 12, prepare for the 2010 world sport stacking championships in Colorado next week.

It's a race against the clock, and the world champs, for two Palmerston North sport stackers.

Freyberg High School's Michael Sadlier, 13, and Palmerston North Boys' High School's Adam Lawton, 12, have been selected again to represent New Zealand at the world sport stacking championships in Denver, Colorado next week.

The Black Stacks consist of nine secondary school students this year – seven boys and two girls – from across the country, but the team have never trained all together before.

The competition is a mixture of individual, double and relay events, with teams coming from Japan, Canada, Germany, America, England and Singapore.

The race to stack 10 or 12, depending on the event, specially designed plastic cups with holes in the bottom, is a lot harder than first appears.

With one arm behind their backs and their eyes fixated on the cups, the boys begin stacking and unstacking the cups at high speed – almost too fast for a spectator to watch – but the moment one cups falls over they must start again.

Michael was introduced to it after watching a YouTube clip his teacher had shown him. "I was quite keen to give it a go, so I got some cups and started learning how to do it."

Adam tried it in physical education at Palmerston North Intermediate.

"I thought it looked interesting so I kept practising at school and realised it was a lot of fun."

For the past two years the boys have practised every Thursday for an hour, and now feel ready to take on the world champs.

"We were under a lot of pressure last year with a lot of people watching us, but as we've had practice with people watching us this year with the national championships I think we can do it and get into the finals," Michael said.

Michael's mother Tania Sadlier said the pair are incredibly dedicated to the sport.

"They both spend hours constantly practising," Mrs Sadlier said.

"They are determined and are always so focused, and they work really well together."

Each week the boys said they would spend around 14 hours practising stacking and watching YouTube clips to pick up new techniques from other players.

The boys leave for the world championships which run for nearly a week on Tuesday.

Manawatu Standard