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What's the secret talent of the person sitting next to you?

By Lauren Sharkey and Andrea Aznar/ VN Special Writers
On October 7, 2014

Sophomore Julie Castner can stack 12 cups in six seconds.

Castner is a competitive cup-stacker, and has traveled to the World Sport Stacking Association to support her cousin, who also competes.

“I wish there were college speed-stacking teams,” said Castner, who is in the five-year P.A. program and also plays on the women’s lacrosse team at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Speed-stacking can be an individual or team sport and involves stacking a sequence of plastic cups as fast as possible. Castner got into it after seeing her older cousin do it.

“I tried it out and ended up beating his time,” she said. “So I guess I was a natural.”

Castner is one of a number of UDM students with unique hobbies, which range from cup stacking to singing and playing musical instruments. The students say spending time on a hobby helps them relax.

Another UDM student with a cool talent is Grace Schmeiser.

Most people know her as a player on the softball team but Schmeiser also plays the guitar and sings.

She started playing guitar at age 14.

 “I taught myself everything I know,” she said. “I play because it makes me forget about the issues going on in my life.”

Casnter agreed that finding a hobby can help you forget about your problems – “even if it’s only for a few minutes.”

Tyler Hughes is a business management major who plays for the men’s soccer team.

Besides playing soccer, he hunts and fishes. But Hughes also has another avocation.

He teaches catechism.

You definitely don’t hear that a lot from young students.

Ryan Hofsess, a biology major, spends some of his free time juggling.

He said he can juggle apples, oranges, tennis balls and other items.

Hofsess also shares a hobby with his sister, Rachel Hofsess, a nursing major.

They both like to run races and save the numbers that they use. Then each of them hangs the numbers on their bedroom walls.

You can assume that their walls are pretty full because both compete on the cross country teams.

For Josef Provido, a biochemistry major, a pleasant break from everyday life can be found in the kitchen, where he occasionally enjoys baking.

Olivia Richards, a multi-sport athlete, finds her relief in competition. Richards is all about sports, and she does not care if the sport is mainly dominated by men.

It’s not just students who have unusual hobbies.

Prof. Jason J. Roche in Communication Studies enjoys “producing beats, writing, performing and recording Hip-Hop music,” he said.

Roche uses multiple instruments to do so, such as a drum machine, a keyboard and a computer – but no cups.

That’s speed-stacker Castner’s domain.

She said a typical sequence starts with a 3-6-3 stack, where you stack the first three cups up, then the next six up, then the other three up. From there, you go back to take down the first three, then the six, then the last three. After that, you can stack the cups in any number of patterns.

Castner’s cousin won the 2013-14 Speed Stacking World Championship in South Korea.

 “It’s cool because I can brag to people that my cousin is the world champion of something,” Castner said. 

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