Pickerell strives to be Kansas Rubik’s Cube champion
by Holly Davis
Nathan Pickerell, 13, Valley Falls, is a go-getter when it comes to solving things. Especially when the task at hand is a color-coded cubicle game— the Rubik’s Cube.
After attending competitions in Minnesota, Illinois, and most recently the World Cube Championship in Las Vegas, it’s hard to believe he just started learning the cube in November.
One of his friends brought a Rubik’s Cube to school and Nathan was intrigued by it. His friend, who noticed his interest, let Nathan take it home.
With an eagerness to solve it, Pickerell sat down and was determined to get it done. Not only that, but he wanted to figure out the fastest and most efficient way to do it and a challenge was accepted.
After watching online videos and practicing for hours on end, he managed to memorize 32 sets of algorithms to better his cubing technique in only a week.
Nathan, now becoming very committed to his new hobby, began researching competitions.
“When I first brought up the idea of a competition, my parents thought I was kidding,” he laughed. “It wasn’t until I started giving them places, times, and dates that they actually took me serious.”
Nathan’s parents, Todd and Heidi, are very supportive of his hobby and were actually very encouraging when he was first learning.
“They had never actually seen someone solve the Rubik’s Cube,” Nathan said.
The now cube expert has a record of 13 seconds for finishing a regular Rubik’s Cube. At the world competition, he broke 17 seconds for his best time with an average of 22 seconds out of five rounds.
Even with this astonishingly fast record, he is still striving to do better. His goal is to be the best cuber in Kansas. With nine who cube competitively, he is currently in sixth place, but with his willpower, not for long.
As if the standard Rubik’s Cube wasn’t hard enough, Nathan is trained in four events for competition which are the Rubik’s, 2 x 2, 4 x 4, and pyramid puzzle.
At his first two competitions, he competed with under 60 people, but his recent Las Vegas trip in July had a crowd of over 600.
Every Rubik’s Cube competition has different sets of heats. Before a round, each competitor’s cube must be solved and placed on a table. A judge then mixes the colors using a computer-based pattern, and keeps it hidden until the round begins.
The competitor gets 15 seconds to strategize after seeing their cube, and the fast-paced round begins.
Whether it’s traveling the nation for competitions or just keeping a soon-to-be seventh-grader busy, Nathan has a hard time putting his cube down.
“It’s fun just to solve it; especially when I’m bored,” Nathan said. “I take it everywhere I go.”
Messing with a Rubik’s Cube while walking around in public can potentially be a conversation starter or even attract a crowd.
Nathan has had strangers come up to him several times just to watch his quick hands solve the ever-so-challenging and timeless puzzle.
At his pace, he might just become a celebrity cuber.
Short URL: http://www.jeffcountynews.com/?p=14648