Brooklyn resident Brianna Hendrickson, 14, lost her crown as U.S. National Texting Champ Oct. 26, after coming in second to Austin Wierschke, a 16-year-old from Wisconsin.But all is not lost: She received $10,500 to pay for school and will represent the United States in the upcoming international texting LG Mobile World Cup in New York City in January 2012 alongside Wierschke.
Wierschke beat out 12 other competitors, dominating the fifth annual LG U.S. National Texting Championship.
The event, complete with cheerleaders and confetti guns, doubled as a launch event for the Korean mobile-phone maker's new phone.
Contestants ranged from 13 to 26. Hendrickson was the smallest - a couple inches over five feet - with a big wave of hair in front and a puffy pony tail. A gold cross dangled from a necklace. "I don't text that much," said Hendrickson as she peers at her phone through black-and-orange-framed plastic Ray Bans. Her mother, Amy Hendrickson explained: "Her mind is on school."
While Hendrickson is something of a natural, Wierschke practiced five hours a day for the competition. That's over a thousand texts every day. "Whatever I get I'm happy with it, I'm just shocked to be here," Wierschke said before the competition, which was held in New York City.
LG supplied each contestant with a DoublePlay phone for the competition. The competition included tests for speed, texting lingo, and accuracy. They raced to text: "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down," as fast as they could while blindfolded.
The hour-long championship hit a few speedbumps. In a bonus round, Hendrickson and other contestants couldn't figure out where the "send" button was on their LG phones.
Like Hendrickson, Wierschke said he'll save up his winnings for school. His mother, Lisa Wierschke, said her son is an A-student who wants to be an architect. Her only rule about texting: "Not while driving."
At the end of the competition, confetti guns fired a shower of paper into the air. Wierschke did a victory hop and fist pump. Hendrickson hugged Wierschke. Offstage, Hendrickson lifted her phone and poised her thumbs: "Now I gotta text everyone and tell them I came in second."