Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Max Bower earns top-10 finish at AAU Junior Olympic Games Sport Stacking Championships


Max Bower's cups are neither half-full, nor are they half-empty.

Following an eighth-place finish at the 2017 AAU Junior Olympic Games Sport Stacking Championships this past week, the Spirit Lake freshman-to-be's hypothetical cups currently runneth over.

The 14-year-old Bower, placed second in the all-around of the 14-15 male division and eighth in the mens all-around with his final time of 9.962 seconds at the tournament held July 28-29 in Detroit.

"This is probably the most competitive tournament that we've ever been to," Bower said. "I ended up having one of my fastest — I think it was my second-fastest — overall tournament. A lot of the world class stackers who were ahead of me after a couple stacks didn't have their best times at the end, and I had a good one and kind of passed them all to have an eighth overall finish over 320-plus stackers. I was very excited to finish that high."

Through the first day of competition, Bower found himself near the bottom of the leader board, but bounced back on day two, despite facing stiff competition within his division.

"Our division was tough," he said. "There were 23 kids in our division, eight of them were part of Team USA and two of them were on Team Canada. Only the top 10 in each stack made finals. After day one, even though I had really good times, I saw that I was still toward the bottom of the leader board, I was thinking if I made finals that was an accomplishment in itself. I snuck in for the finals then kind of blew everyone in our division away."

Bower finished seventh in the 3-6-3 with a time of 2.287 seconds and sixth in the 3-3-3 with a time of 1.716 seconds. He turned up the heat in the cycle, though, where he was one of eight stackers at the tournament to finish with a time under 6 seconds. He placed third with a time of 5.959 seconds.

"By far [my best event was] the cycle," Bower said. "If you get your cycle under 6 seconds, that's kind of the main goal that every stacker has. They want to get a (5-second cycle) in tournament. The cycle was the stack where a lot of the world class stackers kind of dropped out. They were dropping like flies at that point because they were trying to go so fast. I got a 5, and I was one of eight kids to do that out of 321 stackers. That's kind of why I placed so high in the overall tournament."

Bower joined teammate Noah Davies for a fifth place time in the 14U doubles competition with a time of 10.149 seconds. The duo placed 23rd overall.

Bower was also part of the winning 14U 3-6-3 relay team named The Stackson 5, joining Tyler Hollis, Meredith Anderson, Michael Vanner and Trey Griffith. The team placed first in their division with a time of 15.472 seconds and placed fourth overall despite having a slower time in competition than they'd had in warm-ups.

"We were actually going really, really fast in warm-ups," Bower said. "We got to the table and we didn't get the time that we were hoping for, but it was still good enough to win our division. We got fourth overall out of the entire tournament. It was fun. It was a nice team and we were all really fast."


Bower said his future plans include competing at a tournament in St. Louis later this year and, hopefully, competing in the World Championships in 2018.

"Right now, the plan for the next tournament is St. Louis in November," he said. "A couple of months past that, the World Championships are in March or April; they haven't been set yet. We're hoping that maybe we can get there. You have to be on Team USA to go to worlds and I got on in early 2015, but it was too late to make it to the World Championships. They last two years, they were in Germany and Taiwan, but they're supposed to be in the U.S. this year and we're hoping to get there."

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