The Cambrian

Coast Union High cybersecurity team places well at Cal Poly Innovation Challenge

Coast Union High School’s cybersecurity team placed seventh out of 20 high schools in the Cal Poly Cyber Innovation Challenge. From left: Ayen Johnson, Caiden Kennedy, Robert Saunders (middle schooler), Jonathan Jewel, Darien Jewel, Trent Ferguson and Luis Plascencia.
Coast Union High School’s cybersecurity team placed seventh out of 20 high schools in the Cal Poly Cyber Innovation Challenge. From left: Ayen Johnson, Caiden Kennedy, Robert Saunders (middle schooler), Jonathan Jewel, Darien Jewel, Trent Ferguson and Luis Plascencia.

The Coast Union High School cybersecurity team has once again made an impressive showing against competition from schools with far larger enrollments.

Coast Union finished seventh out of 20 teams in Division 1 in the Cal Poly Innovation Challenge, which was held in late June (results were just released this week), acording to Ayen Johnson, Pathways Instructor and Cyber Patriot Coach at Coast Union.

Santa Lucia Middle School came in fourth out of six teams in Division 2.

Coast Union qualified for the Cal Poly competition by winning the Ventura County Mayor’s Cup in February — outscoring 32 other teams. Johnson said this year, Coast was the only “local team... we were competing against much larger schools” and the challenges his team faced “were more difficult than last year.”

In 2018, the Coast cybersecurity team placed 14th — meaning, they improved their overall score by seven places in 2019, Johnson said.

The challenges presented in the competition included “collecting and analyzing a combination of digital and physical evidence in order to stop a healthcare themed cyber plot,” according to Cal Poly’s Cybersecurity Institute.

Students used “state of the art forensics tools to extract and collect digital evidence,” the institute’s website said.

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