Muncie Central CyberPatriot Teams Win 1st Place Awards in State Competition

Front row: Max Ballard, Christian Bridges, Harley Beatty, Julia Ballard, and Clayton Nannie. Back row: Thomas Reagan, Matt Thomma, Matt Beatty, and Braedyn Stovall. Photo provided.Front row: Max Ballard, Christian Bridges, Harley Beatty, Julia Ballard, and Clayton Nannie. Back row: Thomas Reagan, Matt Thomma, Matt Beatty, and Braedyn Stovall. Photo provided.

By: Holly Ford—

Muncie, INTwo teams of students from Muncie Central High School recently concluded an exceptional round of competition in the ninth season of CyberPatriot—the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition.

Established by the Air Force Association, the CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created to excite, educate, and motivate students toward careers in cyber security and other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

CyberPatriot’s core program—the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition—challenges teams of two to six students across the United States, Canada, other nations, and from the Department of Defense Dependents schools abroad, to find and resolve cybersecurity vulnerabilities in simulated environments. Top teams from the preliminary online rounds earn an all-expenses-paid trip to Baltimore, Maryland, for the in-person National Finals Competition, where students compete for national recognition and scholarships.

The CyberPatriot field is divided into three divisions—the Open Division for public, private, and home school teams; the All Service Division for JROTC, Civil Air Patrol, and Naval Sea Cadet Corps teams; and the Middle School Division. Based on the results of two preliminary rounds, CyberPatriot IX high school teams were categorized within their divisions as Platinum, Gold, or Silver Tier teams, with Platinum Tier teams representing the highest scoring teams.

Led by Central JROTC teacher Timothy Cummins, the teams of students from Central excelled in the CyberPatriot IX State Round held Jan. 13-15, demonstrating teamwork, critical thinking skills, and technical knowledge key to a successful career in cybersecurity. “The students learn to work as a team,” said Mr. Cummins. “They have to look at something from a different perspective and ask, ‘How can I prevent this system from being compromised?’ It develops the students’ critical thinking skills.”

The teams’ performance earned them Indiana’s 1st Place Awards in the Gold and Silver Tiers of the State Round. The Gold team included Harley Beatty, Matt Beatty, Braedyn Stovall, and Julia Ballard. On the Silver team were Christian Bridges, Matt Thomma, and Clayton Nannie. Both the Gold and Silver teams competed in the Regional/Category Round held Feb. 3-4, 2017, and they are awaiting results. A third team including Max Ballard and Thomas Reagan competed at State but did not continue on to the Regional/Category Round.

Following the Regional/Category Round and Middle School Division Semifinals Round, top teams in the Open and All Service Divisions’ Platinum Tier and the top three Middle School Division teams nationally will advance to the CyberPatriot IX Finals Competition in Baltimore, Maryland, in April.

More information is available at

The Air Force Association is a non-profit, independent, professional military and aerospace education association. Our mission is to promote a dominant United States Air Force and a strong national defense, and to honor Airmen and our Air Force Heritage.


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