Twelve students from Elk Grove recently traveled to Houston, Tex., to compete in the 2012 U.S. Junior Olympics. They are members of Stack-It, a Sacramento-area-based competitive sport stacking team that qualified to compete in this year's event. The team of twenty stackers, ages seven-17.
There were about 300 athletes in the Junior Olympics stacking competition. They represented 25 states and Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, and China.
The Elk Grove stackers attend John Ehrhardt Elementary, Mary Tsukumoto Elementary, Laguna Creek High School, and California Montessori Project. They are Dru Blohm-Craig, Gracie Blohm-Craig, Hunter Bottge, Jazmyn Guibord, Alyssa Maligad, Kate Maligad, Anthony Mariano, Justin Mariano, Damien Murillo, Emma Murphy, Andrew Philaphandet, and Darian Tolson.
The stackers competed in seven different events including singles, doubles, and relays. Stack-It athletes brought home 51 medals: 17 gold, 23 silver, and 11 bronze medals. They also set several new California state records.
|7-year-old Darian Tolson|
Dru Blohm-Craig (age 14) earned 2 medals and was also the 3rd place girls overall combined finisher. Gracie Blohm-Craig (age 9) earned 2 medals; Hunter Bottge (age 8) earned 3 medals; Jazmyn Guibord (age 7) earned 3 medals; Alyssa Maligad (age 13) earned 1 medal; Kate Maligad (age 10) earned 3 medals; Anthony Mariano (age 11) earned 3 medals; Justin Mariano (age 7) earned 4 medals; Damien Murillo (age 9) earned 2 awards; Emma Murphy (age 10) earned 3 medals; Andrew Philaphandet (age 10) earned 2 medals; and Darian Tolson (age 7) earned 6 medals.
"This sport is decided by hundredths of a second, and some of the stackers came that close to a medal, so we are extremely proud of each and every one of these dedicated, hardworking athletes," Kerry Anderson, team coach, said. " These kids put in over 2,240 hours of team practice and innumerable hours of personal practice to prepare for the Junior Olympics."
The Stack-It club held over two dozen fundraisers to help pay some of their expenses. They received tremendous support from VFW Riders Post 9498 in West Sacramento.
Sport stacking saw its debut at this year's Junior Olympics, and the attention it drew from the hundreds of spectators means it will likely be included in future competitions.
|9-year-old Damien Murillo|
Dru Blohm-Craig, 14, was named 3rd Place Girls Overall Combined Stacker. This honor was based on her scores from all seven events. After receiving her trophy, Dru said, "Just knowing that I represented California while getting the trophy meant the world to me."
Darian Tolson, 7, attending her first national competition, came home with six medals. "I was happy when I won six medals," she said. "It was hard, but I won because I practiced a lot."