Ten-year-old Jackson Cooper admits he wasn't very good at speed stacking when he picked up the sport years earlier. "I was actually quite slow," he laughs.
But now he's the best in the country for his age, fresh off a national title win at the United States Championships in Denver. He says it's nothing he imagined when he started the sport.
"I did not plan that at all," Jackson says.
And Jackson's hard work has led not only to a national title, but also two South Carolina state records.
"When I set it, I was just like, 'Yeah!' 'Yeah!," he says, jumping around like he did that day. "It was so fun."
Jackson's success doesn't come from traits he was born with though, says Belvedere Elementary PE Teacher and Cup Stacking Club sponsor Linda Duckett. It comes from the hard work he puts into the sport - spending three hours a day stacking and re-stacking trying to beat his best times.
"Everything in speed stacking can be learned," Duckett says. "It's not something innate you have to be born with. But to get good, it takes a lot of practice."
"You can like it as much as you want, but if you don't practice, you won't get any better," Jackson says.
Stacking has even become a family sport- Jackson's younger siblings practice daily with their big brother.
"He gives me tips on better ways to stack," says Jackson's younger brother, Peyton.
"He comes over and he'll say, 'I can't get it clean,' so I say, 'Take it slow, then go for it,'" Jackson says on tips he gives his siblings.
And the help has apparently paid off: both of Jackson's siblings have state records in cup stacking as well. Peyton holds two, and little sister Brenna has one.
Even after his title win, Jackson continues to work hard, hoping to make the U.S. National Team and compete at the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston. After that, he hopes to travel to Germany for the World Games.
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