Joey Cooskey stumbled upon a YouTube video of competitive cup stacking three years ago.
Today the 17-year-old is the fastest cup stacker in Oregon. She just got back from the 2015 World Championship sport stacking tournament held April 11-12 in Montreal, Canada where she placed fourth in her age division. Next, she will compete in the Junior Olympics in Hampton Roads, Va., in July.
Cooskey, a junior at Sam Barlow High School practices “obsessively,” between two to five hours a day.
“I’ve always wanted to be known for something,” she said.
Cup stacking is also known as sport stacking. Competitors stack and unstack specially designed plastic cups in established sequences and various combinations of pyramids. Timers are built into the soft mats that the competitor stacks on.
The goal is to stack the cups as quickly as possible without dropping any cups. A misstep is termed scratching.
Stackers move their hands so fast that videos appear stuck in fast forward.
“Some of them, it’s just a blur of color,” Cooskey’s mother, Lynda, said.
Anyone can try cup stacking. John Ansotigue, 62, runs the World Sport Stacking Association’s Northwest United States tournament and appreciates that the sport appeals to all people.
“You don’t have to be tall,” he said. “You don’t have to be strong. You just have to have a desire to participate and be the best you can.”
“I like stacking, because you are kind of competing against yourself,” Cooksey said. “Also, you make so many friends from around the world. I have friends from New Zealand.”
Cooskey appreciates how kind her competitors are.
“This a sport where you make lifelong friends,” she said. “In other sports, people are mean and nasty to get to the top. In this sport, they are kind and helpful.”
Cooskey has met “some of [her] best friends” in cup stacking “who don’t even stack anymore.”
In a constant state of fundraising to attend competitions, she has set up a GoFundMe account.
Cooskey’s long term goal is to win Junior Olympics and achieve a world record.