Ian Krueger and Joshua Elwood, both 13 and entering eighth grade at Macatawa Bay Middle School, competed at CubingUSA Nationals. The competition was held July 7-9.
“It’s incredible to watch these kids,” said Charles Elwood, Joshua’s father. “These kids read notation, transcribe it and transmit it to their fingers. It’s kind of like reading notes. To watch these kids memorize and know which fingers to move is incredible.”
Charles Elwood is an adult advisor for the cubing club Krueger and Joshua Elwood started in Holland, called 3rd Coast Cubing Club.
Joshua Elwood competed in the 3x3 cube division and ended with a solve average of 17.49 seconds, landing him in 387th place at nationals. He also competed in the Skewb division, averaging of 9.85 seconds for 184th place.
Krueger also competed in the 3x3 division and ended with a solve average of 14.99 seconds, earning him a 283rd finish at the national competition. Krueger’s 52.41 second average on the 4x4 cube was good enough for 128th place.
“The cubing community is really small and it was great to be surrounded by people with similar interests,” Joshua Elwood said about the cubing nationals competition.
Krueger said he enjoyed the nationals competition because he beat all of his personal best records and got to meet people who have inspired him to stick with cubing.
“It was really cool as a parent, I’m very proud they made it to the national level,” Charles Elwood said. “What’s also really cool is there are no age brackets, so our kids are middle schoolers and are competing against college students from all over the nation.”
Krueger said cubing became a big trend at his school when a friend of his brought in a cube. He enjoyed cubing so much he taught Joshua Elwood how to cube.
“Speed cubing is not a big hobby and it should grow more than it is now,” Krueger said. “It should continue growing because it’s fun and the cubing community is really nice.”
Since its inception, the 3rd Coast Cubing Club has grown to 27 members. At the club’s most recent meeting on July 25, at the Fellowship Reformed Church, about 15 members came out to practice cubing and compete against each other.
Eric Malapanes, who is from Chesterton, Indiana, brought his son Marcus Malapanes to their first 3rd Coast Cubing Club meeting on July 25. Marcus Malapanes has become interested in cubing so his father brought him from Indiana to Holland to find other people as interested as he is.
“It keeps his brain busy,” Eric Malapanes said. “He always needs to be busy and this is something that totally occupies him, so this is nice. It’s constructive and it’s good brain exercise. He loves it and can’t get enough of it.”
Marcus Malapanes said he first got interested in cubing when he watched a cubing video on YouTube.
The 3rd Coast Cubing Club meets about once a month during the summer and has discussed the possibility of hosting its own cubing competition in Holland.
Krueger said there is something about cubing that holds his interest.
“The thing is with Rubik’s Cubes is they are different every single time,” Krueger said. “It’s always going to be interesting and you are always going to learn something. Other hobbies, it’s usually just the same thing over and over and over again. This thing is fun and it’s new every time.”