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First CyberPatriots Team Scores Coveted Invitation

January 21, 2018

Two teams from the South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) participated in the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Defense Competition South Carolina state round on January 21. CyberPatriot is a national youth cyber education program created by the Air Force Association to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines.

During the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, student teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. The teams from GSSM competed in the Platinum tier of the competition, which is reserved for the top 25 percent of teams nationally. A total of 628 teams across the country competed in the Platinum tier, including 14 from South Carolina. The two teams from GSSM finished in third place and sixth place.

“It’s been absolutely amazing watching those who had no prior cyber security knowledge come in and do this good in a competition,” said Brianna Fuller. “CyberPatriot is a great learning experience for students to learn all sorts of new things about computers and to expand their horizons in cyber security, as well as learning things about communication and problem solving during the competitions themselves. I’m looking forward to an even better season next year!”

Students on team “netcad”:

  • Griffin Eslinger, child of Sandy and David Eslinger of Summerville
  • Brianna Fuller, child of Sharon and Joe Fuller of Summerville
  • Michael F. Gresko, child of Cindy and Michael Gresko of Greenwood
  • Duncan B. Harmon, child of Kerrie and Troyce Harmon of North Augusta
  • Brendan McManamon, child of Deborah and James McManamon of Easley

Students on team “NotAVirus.exe”:

  • Dylan Bruss, child of Jennifer and Andrew Bruss of Easley
  • Cecilia Coler, child of Laura Brazel of Lexington
  • Nick Deas, child of Lisa and Reggie Deas of Hilton Head Island
  • James Johnson, child of Kimberly and Patrick Johnson of Summerville
  • Sam Larson, child of Dr. Janet Davis and Kyle Larson of Trenton
  • Collen Mims, child of Michelle Mims of Estill

“In CyberPatriot every point matters, and perfection is near impossible without help,” explained Collen Mims. “CyberPatriot taught me that sometimes you have to rely on others, and though you won't always be the best team in the competition, the entire team feels great that we did our absolute best.”

Because of GSSM’s strong showing in the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition, GSSM will field a team of six participants in the Palmetto Cyber Defense Competition, which will take place on April 14 in Charleston. Only eight schools in the state can compete in this invitation-only contest hosted by the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center.

Pictured above: GSSM's CyberPatriot Teams (Back row: Griffin Eslinger, Michael Gresko, James Johnson, Collen Mims, Brianna Fuller; Front row: Cecilia Coler, Samantha Larson, Duncan Harmon, Dylan Bruss; Not pictured: Nick Deas, Brendan McManamon)

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