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2012 CyberPatriot National Champions

Pictured left to right are the winning team members:  Robert Flores Judson High School, Judson ISD; Theodore Belitsos Lee High School, NorthEast ISD; Kenny Bias Brackenridge High School, San Antonio ISD; Brian Carvan Judson High School, Judson ISD; Tommy Roberts Warren High School, Northside ISD; Mario Puente Brennan High School, Northside, and Coach Mike Matuszek, San Antonio College ITSA professor receiving the championship trophy March 23, 2012 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, National Harbor, MD.

San Antonio students win CyberPatriot competition

By Hollie L. O’Connor : March 25, 2012 (hoconnor@express-news.net)

A group of students from the Information and Technology Security Academy (ITSA) from the Alamo Academies on Sunday returned to San Antonio victorious as this year’s CyberPatriot champions.

The CyberPatriot competition in National Harbor, Md., drew students from across the nation to test their skills at finding vulnerabilities in computer security systems.

San Antonio students beat 11 other national qualifying teams to take home the top prize in the open division. More than 1,000 teams competed overall.

Mayor Julián Castro greeted the group at the airport. He spoke of the importance of programs like the CyberPatriot competition for molding the next generation to fill information technology jobs.

“San Antonio has a legitimate claim as ‘Cybercity, U.S.A,’ but what we need is a talented pipeline for a workforce in information security,” Castro said. “These people are exactly that pipeline.”

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At the competition, the students were given a network of computers and tasked with deleting viruses and malware while maintaining services such as email. As an added challenge for the national championship, a team of hackers tried to penetrate the network.

“We did really well in that part because we never actually let them in,” said Robert Flores, team captain. “I want to say that’s where a lot of our points came from,” he said.

CyberPatriot was created by the Air Force Association and aims to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields — ensuring a new generation equipped to defend the nation from hackers.

In the case of CyberPatriot competitor Tommy Roberts, it’s working. Roberts plans to study information assurance at UTSA.

But as his senior year comes to a close, he’s not too worried about college just yet. For now, Roberts is content to bask in the victory.

“We weren’t even expecting it,” Roberts said. “When they didn’t call our names for third or second, we thought we didn’t place. When they said we won, we freaked out, jumping all over the place.”

This isn’t the first time Alamo Academies students have been to CyberPatriot nationals. Last year, the team took home third place.