A rhythm of clicks greeted visitors to the Omaha Virtual School.

The clicks were the sound of dozens of competitors twisting and turning Rubik’s Cube-style puzzles as fast as possible on Saturday morning.

Fingers flying. Teeth clenched. Eyes focused.

Here, speed matters.

This is a cubing competition. And the faster competitors can descramble the puzzles so all the colors are on the same side, the better.

Saturday’s competition had nearly 70 participants. The event was sanctioned by the World Cube Association, and competitors were trying to qualify for nationals.

The World Cube Association governs competitions for mechanical puzzles that are operated by twisting groups of pieces. The most famous puzzle is the Rubik’s Cube.

On Saturday, entrants could compete to solve five different categories of cubes.

Sarah Nommensen, who organized the event, said her son, William, got a cube for his birthday and learned how to solve it online. Then he got faster. And faster.

Since then the Nommensen family has traveled to Utah, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri so William, 11, can compete.

Nommensen said her son likes sports but loves solving puzzles. And the cubing community allows him to get to know a lot of different people from different parts of the world, she said.

The competition works like this: Competitors are given a scrambled cube, and they have 15 seconds to examine it. When the competitor is ready to start solving it, he or she hits the timer and starts twisting.

When all of the colors are lined up, the competitor hits the timer again.

Keenan Bruce, 14, of Kearney was competing for the first time on Saturday.

While waiting for his time to compete, Bruce flipped the sides of a cube and said his grandmother gave him his first cube and challenged him to solve it.

It took him a while to solve it the first time. Not anymore.

Like many of the competitors at Saturday’s event, Bruce wore a T-shirt with a cube on it.

“If you’ve got a problem, yo, I’ll solve it,” the shirt read.

When his name was called, that’s exactly what he did.

Emily covers K-12 education, including Omaha Public Schools. Previously, Emily covered local government and the Nebraska Legislature for The World-Herald. Follow her on Twitter @emily_nitcher. Phone: 402-444-1192.

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