‘Day of the Cube’ comes to Fountain Valley

Aileen Vo solves a Rubik's Cube during the "Day of the Cube" Rubik's Cube competition at Los Alamos Park in Fountain Valley.
Aileen Vo solves a Rubik’s Cube in 11 seconds during the “Day of the Cube” Rubik’s Cube speed-cubing competition at Los Alamos Park in Fountain Valley.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Rubik’s Cubes certainly can be a cause of frustration, but Saturday afternoon in Fountain Valley, it was just an exercise in fun.

The second “Day of the Cube” 3-by-3 speed cubing event was held at Los Alamos Park.

Ninety-five kids from around Southern California participated in the event, surviving the hot temperatures and even a bit of rain in the midafternoon.

The “cubers,” as they are known, wore T-shirts with sayings like “Leave no cube unsolved,” and “Eat, sleep, solve, repeat.” They also had a special guest.

Max Park of Cerritos, 20, who holds several cubing world records, made an appearance and signed autographs.

Penelope Almeida holds up her Rubik's Cube signed by Max Park, who holds multiple world records for his Rubik's Cube solves.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Alex Tham of Yorba Linda, 12, had his parents and other family members there to support him. One made a sign that read “Go Team Alex,” which featured an octopus — Alex’s favorite animal — clutching two Rubik’s Cubes.

“He eclipsed me so fast and I never caught up to him,” said Alex’s father, Allen Tham. “He’s like a Rubik’s Cube sponge.”

In the end, the top three child cubers were recognized. Evan Bunya, a 12-year-old from Tustin, earned first place with a 9.64-second average solve of the 3-by-3 cube.

Second place went to Liam Ancheta, 11, and third place went to Dylan Garcia, 10, who lives in Orange.

Each of the top three received Amazon gift cards, presented by event organizer Amy Wojkowski of Huntington Beach.

Dylan Garcia looks at his parents while Max Park, the greatest Cuber in the world, signs his autograph at "Day of the Cube."
(Sarahi Apaez)

Wojkowski, a teacher at Edison High, said she had 28 kids at the first “Day of the Cube” event in June 2021, but Saturday’s event more than tripled that.

Wojkowski’s 11-year-old son, Caden, was one of the competitors.

“I told him how to solve, and then he got fast,” Amy Wojkowski said. “We tried to get him into a real competition, but they’re hard to get into. There’s not that many in Southern California, so I decided to make my own, and here we are.”

Park is severely autistic, said his father, Schwan. He got involved with Rubik’s Cubes at a young age, partially so his parents could take him to competitions to work on social skills.

Edison High School teacher Amy Wojkowski hosts the "Day of the Cube" Rubik's Cube speed-cubing competition on Saturday.
Edison High School teacher Amy Wojkowski hosts the “Day of the Cube” Rubik’s Cube speed-cubing competition on Saturday.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Max Park is one of two champions covered in the Netflix documentary, “The Speed Cubers,” which was released in 2020.

“Our goal was just for him to use this as a giant play date,” Schwan Park said of the early days. “Autism therapy is expensive, so if we can take him to a competition where we thought everybody was a therapist, and it’s free, we were like, ‘Sign us up.’”

Amanda Geddes, who lives in Irvine, said her family watched the documentary as a family recently. That ended up getting her son Marshall, 9, into cubing.

Marshall felt an additional connection because he also deals with moderate autism.

“He said, ‘If Max can do it, I can do it,’” Amanda Geddes said. “He felt really inspired; it was really cute.”

Orchid Nguyen congratulates her son, Hendrix Nguyen, on his 19-second solve during the Rubik's Cube speed-cubing competition.
(Sarahi Apaez)

So, does Marshall’s new interest — Saturday was his first competition — mean the whole Geddes family will get in on cubing? Probably not.

“My husband and daughter and I have all tried, and we just can’t seem to grasp it like Marshall has,” Amanda Geddes said. “This is definitely his special talent.”

Dashtyn Dinglasan, 8, traveled with his parents all the way from Los Angeles for the competition. His best 3-by-3 time is 24 seconds, more than respectful, especially considering he’s only been cubing for a year.

His mother, Eileen Tan, said she enjoyed the vibe of Saturday’s event.

“It seems like it’s just about the joy of cubing,” she said. “All ages are interacting and learning from each other.”

Marikarr Arrogante cheers as her son Jaiden Arrogante solves a Rubik's Cube in 40 seconds at Los Alamos Park on Saturday.
(Sarahi Apaez)

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