The nation’s fastest texter is not a tech-saavy teen from Los Angeles or a fashionista from Long Island. No, once again it’s Austin Wierschke, a 17-year-old from Sugar Camp.
“It feels incredible,” Wierschke told a reporter from the Associated Press, after defending his title in the sixth annual U.S. LG National Texting Competition in Times Square Aug. 8. He gets $50,000 in prize money, which he says he will put away for college.
Wierschke, who attributes his success to his “abnormally fast thumbs” was named the fastest texter in America for the second year in a row.
According to LG’s website, the competition tested three skills-speed, accuracy and dexterity-on four different challenges. They included “text speak”, in which contestants had to spell out text abbreviations; texting while blind-folded; “text blitz,” where phrases were shown to the contestants for a length of time and they copied them as fast as they could; and texting backward, where jumbled words were given to the contestants and they had to figure out the word.
Austin, a humble, soft-spoken soon-to-be senior at Three Lakes High School, has been a fervent “texter” since he got his first cell phone in seventh grade. He earned the money to purchase it by working at Cross Country Bar and Grill, which is owned by his parents, Lisa and Erik Wierschke. This popular establishment is located just a few miles out of Rhinelander, close to Sugar Camp. “It seemed like most of my classmates had a phone, so I wanted one too,” he told the Star Journal last November. “I earned money to buy it by cooking at Cross Country.”
To practice for the competition, the 17-year-old champion said he sent almost 500 texts a day to his friends. After winning the finals of the contest on Wednesday, and completing a media junket Thursday and Friday, Wierschke and his parents were scheduled to arrive back in in Rhinelander this weekend. He also vows to continue competing in the annual contest until someone steps forward with faster thumbs.
“I killed it,” Wierschke told a reporter from NBC News Thursday morning. “I’ll see you next year… bring it on.”
Editor’s note: To read more about Wierschke, including how he first got into competitive text messaging, check out Mary Ann Doyle’s feature story on him from November 2011 at StarJournalNOW.com.