Hunt and Elmdale Students Help Break World Record

Some 975 Elmdale and Hunt elementary school students helped break a world sport stacking record through a cup stacking event coordinated Nov. 14-16 through the World Sport Stacking Association.

Sport stacking, also known as cup stacking or speed stacking, is a sport that involves stacking 9–12 cups in specific combinations as fast as possible, according to the World Sport Stacking Association website.

About 450 Elmdale students and 525 Hunt students were part of 2,242 worldwide schools and organizations to bump the record for the most people sport stacking cups at multiple locations from 737,863 to 746,698, according to the association’s website. The United States had the most participants with 725,427 people, followed by Canada with 15,303 and Spain with 1,848.

Elmdale physical education teacher Josh Hicklin said it took some time for the students to understand the scope of what they helped achieve.

“It's fun to be able to accomplish something and say you're a part of a record,” he said. “They knew they had worked hard.”

Stella Yates, a 10-year-old Hunt fifth-grader, said participating in the record-breaking event was chaotic.

Hunt fifth-grader Gavin Thompson, 10, agreed and said the competition made him somewhat nervous.

“You're by so many people, and there's a chance just their wind would knock yours down,” Gavin said of the stacked cup towers.

All K-12 students from both schools participated in the event, said Stacey Dunavan, Hunt Elementary School physical education teacher. Students participated in sport stacking relays during special sessions that didn’t conflict with classroom learning.

Hunt and Elmdale connected through Google Meet for several 30-minute sessions throughout the day so students from both schools could see each other as they participated in competitive sport stacking relays that promoted physical fitness and stimulated the brain, Dunavan said.

Students line up in two teams at opposite sides of the gymnasium during the sport stacking relays, she said. All competitors race simultaneously from their side of the gym during the relays and use both hands to stack cups in specified combinations on various lines that span the gym floor. The first team to have every team member correctly stack all their cups in the proper combinations and return to their team line first wins.

“When you're working with your hands right to left, it just creates that processing better for you, and it's a fun activity that's a little different,” Hicklin said. “It's something that the kids get excited about and enjoy.”

The active game forces children to reach across the middle of their bodies with their arms and legs, which engages parts of the right and left hemispheres of the brain needed for higher learning concepts, according to learning and academic center Integrated Learning Strategies. Participating in sport stacking may make a difference in students’ development of language skills, math sequences and problem solving.

“I think it helps with my coordination,” Stella said.

Cups are also easily accessible for families, making sport stacking an activity virtually everyone can enjoy, Dunavan said.

“We have found that a lot of students that don't love a sport with a ball, love this because they have a better chance to be good at it,” she said. “We like it because it kind of gives everyone a level playing field.”

In addition to participating with sport stackers across the globe during the record-braking event, the Elmdale and Hunt students were able to interact online with Lisa Berman, a sport stacking champion and the WSSA United States sport stacking director.

“She raced some of our kids, which was really cool to see,” Dunavan said. “We had a really good time.”

Students were impressed with Berman’s sport stacking skills, Hicklin said.

“She was extremely fast, which the kids were just blown away by it,” he said. “That was super fun.”

Hunt and Elmdale were the only Springdale Schools to participate in the record-breaking event this year, but Dunavan and Hicklin said they want to encourage more district and Arkansas schools participate in the event in the future.

“We’ll see what the next goal is,” Hicklin said. “We'll try to break that record for sure.”