All thumbs for a Washington teen who -- OMG -- is among fastest texters in the US

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by OWEN LEI / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on November 5, 2011 at 8:33 AM

SHORELINE, Wash. -- Sometimes "all thumbs" isn't a bad thing. Just ask Rachel Taylor-Blakley.

The smiling, laughing 15-year-old from Shoreline has a unique claim to fame -- she's the fourth fastest texter in the United States.

"She's really fast," said friend Katie Westin. "She loves texting."

How quick? 

"60 words per minute... about," Rachel said, basing her assessment on a Facebook app she uses to test her texts. "It's a strange skill but I think it's pretty useful."

But more importantly, she rarely makes a mistake, and that thumb-eye coordination was what's qualified her for the finals of the LG National Texting Championship.

Twice.

"It's like getting ready almost for a soccer game, you just need to get focused and prepared for what you're going to do," Rachel said. "Not getting nervous when you get the ball. All that kind of plays into texting too."

Rachel said the competition included several challenges, including interpreting common texting shorthand, transcribing random phrases and doing it all on a type of smartphone with which she had only a week to practice.

This week Rachel is home, celebrating her fourth place finish, which came with a $2,500 prize, a new phone and a free trip to the finals in New York.

"It's definitely nerve-wracking and you want to see your kids do well," said Rachel's mother Cindy Taylor-Blakley, "and yeah, I was really proud of her... Everything she tries she gives it 100 percent."

And before you write off her skills as second nature for a teen these days, know that Rachel beat out almost half a million people for her ranking.

She said she drilled her skills by typing out her school textbooks on her phone as she studied.

Her mother said the prize money will go into Rachel's college fund.

Now, on to the state tourney.

Rachel is also a sophomore varsity defender for the Bishop Blanchet High girl's soccer team, which is heading to the state tournament for the first time in 12 years.

"We're getting really excited," she said, "and working hard."

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