09:43 AM

Colo. Springs Cadet Squadron Captures 2nd CyberPatriot National Title

First-place Finish is CAP's 3rd in 7 Years

The Colorado Springs Cadet Squadron is the national CyberPatriot champion again -- the third such title for Civil Air Patrol in seven years.

The Colorado Springs team took the All Service Division crown tonight in the Air Force Association's CyberPatriot IX National Youth Cyber Defense Competition finals in Baltimore for the second time in six years.

Colorado Springs cadets finished third nationally last year. An earlier team from the same unit placed first in CyberPatriot IV in 2012, a year after a team of cadets from the Florida Wing took the overall title.

The Colorado Springs squadron appeared this year in the national finals for an unprecedented seventh straight year. The Illinois Wing's Fox Valley Composite Squadron reached the finals this year for the first time.

The final round of competition in the All Service Division also included three Navy Junior ROTC teams and two teams each from Army, Air Force and Marine Corps Junior ROTC and the Naval Sea Cadets. Another 12 teams from high schools across the U.S. competed in the Open Division finals, as did three teams in the Middle School Division.

This year’s Colorado Springs cadet team consisted of:

  • Cadet Capts. Taylor Coffee, team captain, and Zach Cramer 
  • Cadet 1st Lt. Isaac Stone 
  • Cadet 2nd Lt. Noah Bowe 
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Garrett Jackson

Coffee and Bowe competed on the national stage for the third straight year. Cramer and Stone were second-time finalists, while Jackson was a first-year national finals competitor.

Assisting the team members in their preparations were 1st Lt. Amy Griswold and Cadet 2nd Lt. Victor Griswold. The team’s coach was Maj. Bill Blatchley, the squadron’s aerospace education officer.

The Fox Valley Composite Squadron team consisted of:

  • Cadet 2nd Lts. Andrew Stutesman, team captain, and Felix Zheng 
  • Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Jessica Melone 
  • Cadet Master Sgts. Dominic Lorenzo and John Lorenzo

Coaching the team was 1st Lt. Michael Cittadino, emergency services officer for the squadron.

For CyberPatriot IX, CAP once more sent a record number of teams to the All Service Division at the local, state and regional levels – 528, six more than the previous year. That accounted for 33 percent of the overall All Service Division field and 12 percent of a record total field of 4,404 teams nationwide, including 2,217 in the Open Division, 1,589 in the All Services Division and 598 in the Middle School Division.

CAP teams have now recorded three first-place, two second-place and two third-place finishes over the last seven CyperPatriot competitions, along with first place in the inaugural Middle School Competition in CyberPatriot VI. In addition, teams from the South Dakota Wing's Big Sioux Composite Squadron won CyberPatriot's networking competition in 2012 and the forensics competition in 2013.

The Air Force Association launched CyberPatriot in 2009 as part of its emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

The competition puts teams of high school and middle school students in the position of newly hired information technology professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Competing teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems, then tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services in a six-hour period.

Qualifying teams reach the national finals after competing within their state and region. The top finishers received all-expense-paid trips to Baltimore for the finals.

Northrop Grumman Foundation is CyberPatriot's presenting sponsor. Other program sponsors include AT&T Federal and the AT&T Foundation, Cisco, Microsoft, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Facebook, Riverside Research, Splunk, Symantec, the Air Force Reserve, American Military University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Leidos and University of Maryland University College.