Teenage texting champion wins $50,000 prize
17 year-old Austin Weirschke from Wisconsin won $50,000 at the National Texting Championship held in New York City.
The sixth competition of its kind, the tournament tested American entrants on their ability to text quickly and efficiently.
Sponsored by LG Electronics, the competition featured one device with a physical keyboard. Speed, accuracy and dexterity were all scrutinized through a number of tasks.
Some of the tasks were fairly simple; memorizing a message and then quickly typing it out; translating shorthand 'text speak' to standard English -- for example, TTYL (talk to you later), and others impeded the challengers by blocking their vision or tying their hands behind their back.
One round involved writing messages backwards more quickly than rival competitors, whereas in another, entrants had to type "Twinkle twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are; up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky" while wearing vision-blocking headwear.
Weirschke, who won the competition last year, defended his title by typing a 149-character message in just 39 seconds, beating 10 rivals between the ages of 16 and 24. Since May, competition has been whittled down from over 100,000 entrants.
The teenager says the money will be used to fund his college education, and attributes his success to practicing with his mother, typing random phases and words, and texting friends. He defended his title but had close competition as 16 year-old New Yorker Kent Augustine lost out to the champion by only a few seconds in the final round.
The high school student plans to keep improving and return next year.