Bishop Kenny Crusaders achieve national finalists in National Youth Cyber Defense Competition

Bishop Kenny Crusaders achieve national finalists in National Youth Cyber Defense Competition
Jim Bass, Crusader team mentor; Augie Gould, Torin Sapp, Eli Miller, Sean Madigan, Crusader team members; and Master Chief Petty Officer Kevin Harris, Crusader team coach

Bishop Kenny junior, Eli Miller, and the Crusaders, Bishop Kenny’s CyberPatriot team, have been named as national finalists in the All Service Division of the CyberPatriot XIV National Finals Competition held March 18-30, 2022, in Bethesda, Md. They were one of only two Navy teams in the entire country and the only Florida team to advance to the finals, a win made even more significant given that they only had four team members as compared to the other six-member teams.

The National Youth Cyber Defense Competition puts high school and middle school students in charge of securing virtual networks. The CyberPatriot XIV season began in October 2021 with 5,254 teams across the country and around the globe ready to compete. Through a series of online competition rounds, teams were tested on their ability to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in virtual operating systems, all while maintaining critical services. The final competition was a mock situation with the competing teams trying to keep a company’s system up and running while under attack by a Red Team.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Miller’s mother, Heather said. “The Pentagon’s director for cyber security was at the event. Northrup Grumman, an aerospace and defense company, was the presenting sponsor for the event. Companies like Cisco and Boeing and many others were also sponsors and were already trying to recruit these teenagers to come work for them.”

Miller recently received his student pilot’s license and wants to go into the Coast Guard Academy or another top flight school after high school. He is the third generation to live in Ortega Forest and fifth generation to live in Jacksonville.

“Eli’s grandfather, my father, Robert League, loves to fly and took Eli to look at airplanes when he was little. His other grandfather flew planes for the military, so I have to believe they had an influence on Eli’s love of flying,” Heather Miller said.

Team captain Torin Sapp and assistant captain Eli Miller ran a CyberPatriot camp at Bishop Kenny during Summer 2021 to get fellow students interested in participating. The team started competing early in the fall of 2021 and then competed regionally at the end of 2021. They placed at the top of that competition to earn an invitation to CyberPatriot XIV.

“Master Chief, who is the Crusaders’ coach, said that Torin told him that before he retires Torin promised to take them to nationals,” Heather Miller said. Harris is retiring as master chief of the Bishop Kenny Naval Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (NJROTC) this school year, meaning Sapp has made good on his promise.

In addition to Sapp and Miller, other Bishop Kenny team members included senior Augie Gould and sophomore Sean Madigan.

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