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R-MA Advances in Cyberpatriot Competition

In their first year of participating in the Air Force Association’s Cyberpatriot competition, Randolph-Macon Academy’s Air Force Junior ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) cadets have managed to exceed their instructors’ expectations.

The Cyberpatriot competition is a national competition in which teams of two to six students try to solve a series of cyber security challenges. During an assigned three-day time period, the students go online to extract virtual machine images. They must then find and fix vulnerabilities in these images. They receive points for fixing vulnerabilities and lose points for making systems less secure. The series of challenges must be completed during six consecutive hours during the three-day period.

The Randolph-Macon Academy team of Finn Wiley ’17, Lucas Costa ’17, Cryus Lesko ’18 and Victoria Voellm ’18, coached by Lt Col R.G. McManus ‘80, USAF, Retired, and MSgt Doug French, USAF, Retired, placed third in the Gold Tier of the competition.

The rankings for Cyberpatriot are complex. Teams compete in two initial rounds, with their scores subsequently added together. The top 30% in each category (Air Force JROTC, Army JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, Marine Corps JROTC, Navy JROTC, or Naval Sea Cadet Corps) move onto the Platinum Tier competition at the State Level. The middle 40% move onto the Gold Tier State Round, while the bottom 30% move onto the Silver Tier State Round. This year, a total of 681 teams entered the competition.

McManus knew that the R-MA team had qualified for the Gold Tier earlier in the school year, and they participated in the State Round a few weeks ago. When he received an email earlier this week listing the state winners, R-MA was not on the list, much to his disappointment. “I figured we were finished competing this year for Cyberpatriot,” he said. Then, a few days later, he received another email indicating R-MA advanced to the Category Round.  After reviewing the rankings, McManus realized his team had actually placed third in the State Round in the Gold Tier. “This greatly surpasses what I hoped we could accomplish this year,” he said.

The next round begins today and runs through Sunday. Good luck, Yellow Jackets!

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