The 2020 Talon Staff Cup Stacking Tournament

The revitalization of a lost childhood obsession.


Mason and Mrs. Hurt flaunt their skills in the first round of the Right Side of the Room conference.

Every now and then, the Talon staff loves to partake in debauchery, dare I say, revelry. Last Friday, I walked into Mrs. Hurt’s room prepped for another day of writing and editing. What did I see however? A large circle of desks, a few books strewn on the ground, and a side table stocked with food and drink. As a fourth year raptor, these signs were a dead giveaway. It was salon day. Lucky for me, my days of academic discussion concerning the likes of Catch 22, The Scarlet Letter, and The Grapes of Wrath are over. But I pitied the juniors. Eyeing the snack table, my eyes were drawn to a shock of red solo cups. For some reason, I felt compelled to stack them. Five minutes later, this enterprise developed into a ranked tournament for the entire class (including Mrs. Hurt). Let the games begin.

The Rules

With 14 competitors, the tournament was divided into two conferences: The Right Side of the Room Conference (RSRC) and the Left Side of the Room Conference (LSRC). Though the left conference seemed initially dominant with power players such as Will Jordan, Emory Gardner, Clara Cullum, Caroline Hyde, Katherine Ray, and Jack Levenson, the right side took strong command in the second and third rounds with competitors Susannah Ryan, Jordan Thomas, Mason Leath, Mrs. Hurt, Ella Lesesne, Simone Kavarana, Will Kronsberg, and Emily Furtick.

The rules of Talon Cup Stack are deceptively simple. Competitors begin with hands on their lap and must disassemble and reassemble their cup pyramids before their opponent finishes. Rounds end when the finisher slaps the table.

The Bracket

Endless Cupabilities

The early rounds proved easy for competitors Caroline Hyde, Jordan Thomas, and Simone Kavarana. Though she denied it, Simone’s dexterity and speed hinted at previous competitive stacking. Nice try, Simone. Several athletes forfeited their games in favor of writing and submitting their Talon articles due at the end of the block. Devastating. The star of the show? Ms. Carol Hurt. With a tough schedule of competitors before her, she managed to edge a victory over Mason Leath in round one. Cheers erupted. Babies cried. I shed a tear.

A Cupple of Surprises

Round two passed without a hiccup. Simone, once again, proved dominant in her skills. With an unprecedented upset in the RSRC, Jordan swept Ms. Hurt in a crushing defeat. I realize that I have yet to write of my own successes in the tournament. In rounds one through three, I faced Will, Emory, and Jordan: a roster nothing short of vigorous. Some suspected that mischief  was afoot when I won, but I stayed true to the virtues of cup stacking: honor and dignity.

The Solo Showdown

In the end, it came down to Simone and myself. After a quick game, I was deemed winner until some observers suspected me of “knocking” Simone’s cup off the table. Rallying for equality, they lobbied for game two. It seemed that the winner would be declared after the series of three. In the end, I was bested by Simone and her tactful strategy no doubt molded by years of prior competitive matches. I have nothing but admiration for her talents.

The controversial moment when Simone’s cup fell off the table.

Challenge the Staff.

For any Raptors that want to stake their claim in the cup stack hall of fame, please reach out to to schedule a game against resident champion Simone Kavarana.