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CyberPatriot teams take first at state events
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Effingham County’s two high schools had a strong showing in their first year competing in CyberPatriot.

Effingham County High’s open division team competed against others from the Southeast U.S. in CyberPatriot’s regional recognition round last month. ECHS advanced to the regional competition by besting all others in the state recognition round.

Both of South Effingham High School’s teams took first place in the state, in the open division and the all-service division.

CyberPatriot is a national high school cyber defense competition established by the Air Force Association. Students receive a narrative with clues as to why and how a computer system has been compromised, and they earn points for pinpointing and fixing the problems.

The ECHS team was made up of Tyler Martins, Josie Woodward, Kelsey Wilson and Shane Harmon.

The SEHS open division team members were Jordan Shikany, Josh Carroll and Gabrielle Soriano. The all-service team consisted of Navy Junior ROTC cadets Adam Yonce, Lukas Lariscy, Chris Moore and Seth Patterson.

Also, South Effingham Middle School was represented by Sarah Yonce and Andrew Jeffers in the pilot of the middle school competition. They received an honorable mention.

The ECHS team was coached by Gregg Miles and the SEHS team by Justin Keith. Miles and Keith are instructional technology specialists with the Effingham County School System.

Mentors for the teams were Air Force Master Sgt. Judd Martins for ECHS and Dave Rutz, an IT specialist with the First District Regional Educational Service Agency, for SEHS. The teams met after school with coaches and mentors for training sessions and practice rounds to prepare for the competitions.

The competitions included three “compromised” systems including Windows and Linux computers that had to be secured to the best of the abilities of the team. The competitors were limited to a six-hour window to complete their “repairs.” CyberPatriot gives high school students hands-on experience toward careers in cyber security or other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines.

For more information about the program, visit