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Elite Rubik’s cube solvers compete in Hope

The Emerson Junior High team scrambles Rubik’s Cubes at a furious pace at May 17’s competition.

This past Tuesday, May 17 at the Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative, a competition took place involving manual dexterity, powers of computation and a toy from the early 80s.

For the 2022 SWAEC/SCSC Rubik’s Cube Competition about two dozen junior and senior high students from throughout Southwest and South Central Arkansas convened at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the SWAEC building on the UAHT campus, to see which teams and which soloists could solve Rubik’s cubes the fastest.

Chad Morris, Gifted and Talented Specialist for SWAEC, hosted the competition, providing instructions to teams and soloists, then announcing winners and presenting the trophies. About five judges presided to ensure all cubes were regulation, were scambled and were completely solved.

In the team competition, groups of up to five from Emerson, Nevada, Spring Hill, Magnolia and Genoa were timed on how fast they could solve 25 Rubik’s Cubes whose colors had been scrambled with 25 turns by players from another team and which were covered by a cloth until the timer was activated. Although the teams were limited to ten minutes, none of them needed that much time.

To see the youngsters solve a puzzle with 43 quintillion combinations in mere seconds was to marvel. As things turned out, the winning teams were: in the 6th – 8th grade group – 1st place – Emerson, 2nd place – Genoa; in the 9th-12th grade group – 1st place Spring Hill, 2nd place – Magnolia.

The second round of the competition, what Morris called the “really cool stuff,” required solo Rubik’s solvers to be timed and observed solving a scrambled cube on their own. Once all the players had made their attempts the standings were: 6th – 8th grade – 1st Place – Christian Keller, Harmony Grove and 2nd Place – Tristan Fugitt, Spring Hill; 9th – 12th – 1st Place – Blake Green, Magnolia, 2nd Place – Landon Heinze, Magnolia.

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