IT Cyber Defense Team Makes Top 8 At Regional Competition

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014 8:17 PM
Category: School of Information Technology

Macon, GA

Cyber Knights
The team representing Middle Georgia State College finished in the top eight of the Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition held recently at Kennesaw State University.

Top eight schools were not ranked in order but included:

  • Middle Georgia State College
  • Florida State University
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte
  • University of South Florida


The three teams declared the winners of the Southeast regional competition were University of Central Florida; University of North Carolina, Charlotte; and Florida State University.

"I'm proud of how far our students went this year, their first year of competition," said Johnathan Yerby, lecturer in It who serves as the Middle Georgia State team's faculty advisor. "Their enthusiasm is unbridled. Some members of the team are graduating seniors, but those coming back are already thinking about next year's competition and how they can do even better. Some of the graduating seniors want to come back and help the team as coaches."

Middle Georgia State and the other top eight schools beat nine other colleges and universities, including Clemson University, Columbus State University, Mercer University, Southern Polytechnic University and University of Tennessee - Chattanooga.

Middle Georgia State made it to the regional competition by taking part in the online qualification competition on March 8. Eighteen teams representing various colleges and universities tackled hypothetical crises related to the protection of computer networks. Student teams assumed administrative and protective duties for an existing “commercial” network – typically a small company with 50+ users, 7 to 10 servers and common Internet services such as a web server, mail server and e-commerce site.

During the qualifying competition, each team began with an identical set of hardware and software and was scored on the ability to detect and respond to outside threats, maintain availability of existing services such as mail servers and web servers, respond to business requests such as the addition or removal of additional services and balance security needs against business needs. (Source:

For the regional competition at Kennesaw State, which took place over three days, teams maintained and protected a hypothetical business's information systems while elite "hackers" attempted to infilitrate it.

Students on the Middle Georgia State team are:

  • Michael Viox of Macon
  • Regina Pangelinan of Warner Robins
  • Avinash Parekh of Warner Robins
  • Ben Rich of Warner Robins
  • James McMurran of Warner Robins
  • Kent White of Hawkinsville
  • Artise Washington of Macon
  • Rian Williams of Warner Robins
  • Shaun Franks of Perry
  • Brett Jenson of Warner Robins
  • Chris Long of Atlanta

Students competing got to interact with representatives of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Homeland Security and Raytheon, all sponsors.

Middle Georgia State is part of the Advanced Cyber Security Education (ACE) consortium. Through ACE, funds from a National Science Foundation grant paid registration fees for the Middle Georgia State students to compete in the cyber defense event.

To learn more about Middle Georgia State's information technology degree, including the concentration in information assurance and security, visit

Photo: Back row, left to right, are Regina Pangelinan, Brett Jenson and Shaun Franks, Ben Rich. Middle row, left to right, are Kent White, Avinash Parekh and Artise Washington. Front row, left to right, are Rian Williams, Michael Viox and James McMurran. Not pictured: Chris Long.