PUEBLO – A group of students from Pueblo Community College took 15th place in a recent national cybersecurity competition that included more than 600 teams.
PCC took part in the National Cyber League competition against two- and four-year colleges from throughout the United States. PCC’s teams were coached by Cyber Security Program Director Tim Gama. There were 192 teams each in three brackets – gold, silver and bronze – and 626 total teams.
Out of those 626, PCC team We Don’t Byte finished 15th overall and won the silver, or intermediate, bracket. Team members are Matt Aragon, Mari Bratton, Casey Freeburg (captain), Matthew Helfter, Blake Meyer, Anthony Rasmussen-Nyberg and Austin Tapia.
PCC team Creative Team Name finished 160th overall and 70th in the silver bracket. Team members are Jared Abrahamson (Captain), Jared Butler, Hannah Combs, Morgan Martin, Andrew Payton, Andre Robinson and Joseph Trujillo.
PCC has competed in the NCL since its inception in 2012, consistently placing in the top 100 teams. The NCL offers ongoing virtual training for participants to “develop, practice and validate their cybersecurity knowledge and skills using next-generation high-fidelity simulation environments,” according to its website.
“It’s a capture-the-flag competition that encompasses the curriculum from our cyber program,” said Gama. “The students have access to what is called a gymnasium, where they have access to virtual labs that are directly related to the COMPTia Security+ and Ethical Hacker (cyber security industry) certifications.”
Through a collaboration with Colorado State University-Pueblo, PCC was able to get teams from Canon City, Centennial and Pueblo West high schools to participate in the NCL competition against other high schools.
PCC’s Cyber Security program was designated a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security in 2017. It is the only two-year accredited program in southern Colorado.