Cobalt Crusaders Advance To Nationals

Hear Hoof Beats? Think Brahmas!

The “Colbalt Crusaders” have advanced to the CyberPatriot national competition to be held in Washington D.C. in March.

Last weekend, the team of Samuel Burgess (Commander), Robert Isenhour, Peter Myers, Lois Agabon, Andy Banda, Brannen Petit, and Adam Cruz competed  for a top ten spot in the All Service division, comprised of JROTC teams across the nation. This round, they dealt with “impossible to find” vulnerabilities on an unfamiliar system— the Linux derivative, Ubuntu.

The Cobalt Crusaders work to discover the vulnerabilities during the first leg of their competition. photo by Estefania Lamas

The Crusaders were the only team from Texas to qualify, and will be competing with teams from California, Ohio, Hawaii, Washington, Utah, South Dakota, Colorado, Alabama,  New Mexico, Massachussets, and South Carolina.

From French Teacher to Cyber Expert

A.K.A. Undermining gender bias and winning, too.

In their first year, many from across NEISD and San Antonio doubted the team would have success. “People thought, ‘What does she know? She’s a French teacher!’ This goes to show you that no matter what— it’s possible,” said Amy Abercrombie King, the team’s sponsor and the person responsible for bringing the program to the JROTC.

“I approached Lt. Col. Blake last year and he was very enthusiastic about it,” said King. “But— he reminded me that their JROTC competition training comes first. The kids went to drill practice in the morning, and they’d meet up with Corey [their mentor] during their lunches. Sometimes they’d have to go without lunch since they can’t take out their lunches from the cafeteria, eventually they started bringing their lunch altogether,” she said.

The team is receiving congratulations from across the country for advancing to the national competitions.

Amy Abercrombie King, team sponsor, tweets about their success. Follow/tweet her at “MadameAmyKing.”

Looking Forward

The team’s goal? Win Nationals.

“On Friday and Saturday, it was crazy. It was so hectic and it felt like we hadn’t done our best at all,” said Brannen Petit, senior alternate for the Crusaders. “We came in wanting to get at least 70% of the vulnerabilities, which we didn’t— so of course we were disappointed when we couldn’t get all of them,” he said.

Their Winter Breaks were spent experimenting with Ubuntu, and reviewing new Anti-Virus programs and coding systems. During the competition, Ubuntu presented new coding techniques they were unfamiliar with, leading Agabon and Banda (part of the “research team”) to read “Ubuntu Linux For Dummies,” and make use of the paper resources that littered their workspace.

“We’re definitely going to have to continue training intensively these next few weeks leading up to the competition,” said Adam Cruz, senior member. “We need to work on our communication and teamwork; not letting our emotions get the best of us. The last two hours are always awful because we’re screaming at each other and we’re getting frustrated, but we’ll have that in control by Nationals. It just takes more practice.”

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About Estefania Lamas

Hello! My name is Estefania Lamas and I'm a Senior Editor for Brahma Tales. I like bed time stories, movie-worthy adventures, and reading a whole bunch. I'm a fan of topics like international relations and socio-economic revolutions.

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