If you didn’t have your eye on the slight 14-year-old in the busy high school cafeteria, you might have missed the world record-setting feat altogether. One, two, three, four – and before he even hit the five-second mark, he was done. He had just worked a Rubik’s cube in the fastest time known to man.

The time on the clock said 4.904, a brand new record, as Lucas Etter was surrounded by cheering Rubik’s cube fans.

Etter, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, has been traveling all over the country to enter Rubik’s cube competitions since he was just 9 years old. In his first competition in 2011, his best attempt was 24.11 seconds – an astonishing pace for a mere mortal to align every colored box on the toy, but far from the elite competitive best. He placed 23rd that day, and 111th at the U.S. national competition that year.

But by the end of that year, he had cut his time almost in half, to 12.09 seconds, according to records kept by the World Cube Association. The next year he got his time under 10 seconds, then under 9.

He placed seventh nationally in 2014 and third in 2015. He won first prize in contests in Nashville, Ann Arbor, Austin, Dayton and other locales.

Before the competition at River Hill High School in Howard County, Maryland, on Saturday, his best time at a competition was 5.85 seconds.

Since Mitsuki Gunji set the record at 7.03 seconds in Japan in 2012, it has been broken 99 times. By last week, competitors from Asia to Europe to Australia, many of them not far from Etter’s age, had chipped it all the way down to 5.25 seconds.

Another record fell Saturday at River Hill High School – competitor Keaton Ellis tackled his cube in 5.09 seconds, smashing the existing mark.

But Etter soon turned to his cube. As the rules allow, he studied it, knowing the timer would start when he began twisting.

Etter thought he could break the five-second barrier, something never before done by a human competitor.

He said he made a lucky choice in those brief 4.9 seconds. He always works first the bottom layer of the cube, then the middle, then the top. He had a choice of algorithms for solving the middle layer, and happened to pick one that turned out to save him a step on top – a step that might have taken him an entire second.