Pine Forest High CyberPatriot team places fourth in national competition

February 25, 2018

Pine Forest High students compete in CyberPatriot X at UWF Battle Lab.

A Pine Forest High School CyberPatriot team cemented its place in exclusive company as one of the best in the nation.

Seniors Josiah Robinson, Sam Vinyard and Coleman Squatrito, freshman Avery Underhill and junior Jan Engleman teamed up to place fourth in the Air Force Association CyberPatriot Silver Tier Open Division. Students from Georgetown High School (Texas) won the Silver national championship. Newaygo County Career-Tech Center (Michigan) finished runner-up and Friendswood High School (Texas) followed in third.

The Air Force Association awards teams that place top 12 in the Silver Tier Open Division with digital certificates. Two CyberPatriot teams from Hialeah Gardens High School joined Pine Forest High in the top 12 as Florida matched California with three certificate winners. Texas topped all states with four of the top 12 teams.

“It looks great on the résumé, brings value to it and they get bragging rights, too,” said Angela Irby, a Pine Forest High cybersecurity teacher and CyberPatriot coach. “They beat out thousands of teams. There are over 2,700 teams competing.”

Teams completed Windows 8.1, Ubuntu 16 and Windows 7 in the Network Security Challenge portion and a quiz and packet tracer in the Cisco Networking Challenge portion to determine their scores in the final round of the Silver Tier.

Pine Forest High scored clutch points to surge up the leaderboard in the final minutes of its six-hour final round on Feb. 9 at the UWF Battle Lab. Squatrito detected viruses on Windows 8.1 that the team previously overlooked for the final points. He said that type of teamwork propelled Pine Forest High to No. 4 in the nation.

“It’s very easy for one person to overlook something, but your teammates are usually there to get your back,” Squatrito said. “It’s very useful to have multiple people take a look because even if they don’t know a lot, they may come up with a simple thing that will get you extra points.”

The five Pine Forest High students placed fourth overall in the Silver Tier after winning the state championship on Jan. 19.

The UWF Center for Cybersecurity is a proud supporter of CyberPatriot. Pine Forest students competed in the UWF Battle Lab for each round of the competition. Anthony Pinto, Cybersecurity Center of Academic Excellence Faculty Fellow and UWF Computer Science professor, mentored the Pine Forest CyberPatriot students.

“I'm proud of how all of our CyberPatriot students dedicate themselves to this extra-curricular activity,” Pinto said. “From what I've seen in the past four years, the U.S has a bright future in terms of keeping our place as a leader in cybersecurity.”