Spencer Lathe: speed stacker from Sartell


Spencer Lathe

Spencer Lathe at age 14 competing in the Timed Relay at a cup stacking tournament.

Ranking first in Minnesota, twenty-eighth in the United States, and seventy-sixth in the whole world, Spencer Lathe possesses a unique talent: cup stacking. He first learned how to cup stack in physical education class in elementary school. Lathe has been cup stacking for seven years now. After two years of practice, he decided to start competing in tournaments. 

All official cup stacking tournaments are run by the World Sport Stacking Association. This association formed in 2001 as the Cup Stacking Association, but rebranded in 2005 due to the growing popularity of cup stacking as a school sport. WSSA tournaments see stackers competing in three individual events: the 3-3-3 stack, the 3-6-3 stack, and the Cycle stack. There are also two team events: Doubles and the Timed 3-6-3 Relay. Lathe competes in every event. 

“The first is Relay, which is a team of four. The first person starts the timer at the table while the rest of the team is standing 7ft back behind a line. Each person does a 3-6-3, taking their turn once the person in front of them runs back and touches the line with their foot. The last person stops the timer. The second team event I compete in is called Doubles. One person uses their right hand and one uses their left hand. They both stack at the same time as if it is one person stacking.”

When asked what a tournament usually looks like for cup stacking, Lathe has this to say,

“Most regional tournaments are in a high school or college gym. There is a line of competition tables parallel to the long length of the gym, and behind them a large cluster of practice tables. The stackers warmup and practice on the practice tables and the competition tables are where the judges are and where you do all of your competing.”

On Saturday, May 14th, Spencer competed in the Windy City Open IL Championship. Sixty-six stackers were registered to stack at this tournament. Lathe said, “This is a smaller tournament so I am hoping to place top three individually. My largest competitor is William Allen from Michigan, who is ranked 8th in the world for boys. I will basically be competing for second place against a guy from Wisconsin who I’ve always had a sort of rivalry with at these regional tournaments.” 

Spencer Lathe completing a Cycle stack for the Sartell High School Talent Show in 2021. (Spencer Lathe)

Beyond the competition aspect of cup stacking, Lathe enjoys the connections he’s been able to make with competitors. 

“My favorite part of stacking is getting to travel to new places and meet new people from all around the country and the world. I have gotten to know so much more about people who live outside of our area, and that has been really amazing. I’ve also gotten to travel all over the country for competitions, going to places I would never have the chance to without this.” says Lathe. 

As of 2015, there are 618,394 verified stackers around the world in thirty-one countries/regions. The Windy City Open opened its doors at 8:00 am Saturday at St. Mary’s Duffy Activity Center.