Trailwood 2nd grader takes the podium in AAU Junior Olympics cup stacking competition

Rutva Solanki was a model of concentration as he worked through the cup stacking challenge at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines earlier this summer. All photos credit Rajesh Solanki.

Rutva Solanki had never heard of competitive cup stacking until he entered teacher Kathy Zink’s gym class at Trailwood Elementary.

Trailwood PE teacher Kathy Zink with Rutva Solanki after his medal-winning performance. Photo credit Rajesh Solanki.

But the 7 year old took to the task immediately, working through the challenges of stacking nine or 12 cups in a specific order. He showed enough of a talent and interest in the activity that he asked his parents if he could join Trailwood’s extracurricular stacking club. Soon enough, he was lobbying his parents to get a set of cups and a timer so he could practice at home.

“We didn’t really know what this sport was,” said Rajesh Solanki, Rutva’s father. “He was good compared to the other students, so we bought some stacking cups for him and starting working at it.”

Soon enough, Rutva was excelling in tournaments organized by the district. He registered for the World Sport Stacking Association’s Central Regional Championships in Wichita this spring, finishing fourth place in the all-around final standings for boys. With that impressive finish, he earned the chance to compete in the AAU Junior Olympics cup stacking tournament in Des Moines the last week of July.

“This was the first time he was doing such a big competition like this, so we didn’t really know what to expect,” Rajesh said.

So Rutva’s family and Zink, who attended the competition as well, were plenty surprised when he breezed through his preliminary rounds to earn a spot in the finals, and then finishing second place in the overall standings for the 7-and-under division.

“We were very excited and very surprised,” Rajesh said.

Now, says Rajesh, the family is excited to see how Rutva progresses.

“It’s something he chose himself and that we hope he will have continued interest in,” Rajesh said. “It’s a sport where the older you get the more brain development and muscle development you get.”