‘Party trick’ lands student place in NZ team

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Stacking up . . . Ben Lovelock, of Dunedin, has been selected for the New Zealand sport stacking team, the Black Stacks. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

While he may not compete much anymore, a University of Otago student’s “party trick” has landed him a spot in the national team.

Ben Lovelock (21), of Dunedin, was named in the Black Stacks team after finishing third overall in the 2018 New Zealand Sport Stacking Open Championships held in Wellington in June.

Sport stacking is a sport that requires participants to stack, and disassemble, nine or 12 cups in a pre-determined sequence as fast as possible.

While Lovelock does not attend as many competitions as he did when he was younger, he always goes to the New Zealand open.

With a busy university semester ahead of him and an exchange to Colorado planned for next year, he is unable to attend the world championships in Spain in April.

“It’s a bit hard with uni.”

He is in his third year studying towards an arts degree with a double major in economics and geography, which meant “a lot of essay writing, a lot of reading”.

However, this year is not the first time he has been named in the team – he attended the world championships in America when he was aged 12, 13 and 15.

There are three main routines for individual stacks – 3-3-3, 3-6-3 and cycle – which all involve making pyramids with the cups.

His fastest times for 3-3-3 are 1.76sec in competition and 1.56sec when practising, 2.22sec and 1.98sec for 3-6-3 and 6.5sec and 5.6sec for cycle.

Lovelock put his slightly slower times in competition down to nerves.

He took up the sport in 2008 after his cousins learnt it at their primary school and showed it to him.

He started off using any sort of cups he could find, including old yoghurt pottles, before his father bought him the official set of cups the following year.

Lovelock said the sport stacking community was a tight-knit group of people, but had decreased in size in recent years.