EWU Cyber Team Takes ‘Byte’ out of Gators to Capture National Title

April 22, 2023

*This is an update to a story below that was first published on March 15, 2023.

On Saturday, April 22, EWU Cyber Defenders won the NCAEW Cyber Games in Tampa, Florida. This collegiate competition, featuring teams from around the country, is an 8-hour marathon of defending a computer system from cyber attack in a real-world situation.

EWU Cyber Defenders holding National Title trophy on Saturday, April 22, 2023. (Left to Right): David Parker, Tristen Greene, Jessica Doner, Alex Moomaw, Timbre Freeman, Nick Gainer, Sean O’Dowd (holding trophy), Preston Michels, Amy Washington, Ethan Rabe.

Coached by Stu Steiner, director of the EWU Cybersecurity Program, the Eastern team notched 6,274 total points, edging out the University of Florida (Gators) by just seven points. The impressive field also included cyber teams from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Cal State Polytechnic University Pomona, Syracuse University, Liberty University, the University of Tulsa, the Illinois Institute of Technology and Brigham Young University.

The competition was 20 percent capture the flag and 80 percent securing infrastructure from active attacks. Points were awarded based on how long teams could keep the infrastructure up and running.

“Just being in the finals for the NCAE Cyber Games is a huge accomplishment, but to win the National Championship is really awesome,” says David Bowman, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM), which houses EWU’s cyber program in the department of Computer Science.

“The finals are a grueling challenge under any circumstance, but flying across the country and jumping straight into a high-pressure competition takes it to another level. I’m incredibly proud of our students and faculty who have shown that EWU really is the premiere destination for anyone who wishes to pursue cybersecurity,” Bowman said.


EWU computer science students are heading to nationals this spring after taking first place in the Northwest regional of a major national cyber competition.

To win the March 11 NCAE Cyber Games, the ‘EWU Cyber Defenders’ emerged from a field of teams from The University of Denver, Boise State University, City University of Seattle, Idaho State University, two teams from Colorado Mesa University, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Missoula College, and the University of Idaho.

The National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity (NCAE-C) inspires college students to enter the exciting realm of cyber competitions – and to one day possibly work in the field.

EWU Cyber Defenders tallied a total of 4,145 points out of a possible 11,250 total points, edging out the closest team by 354 points in a back-and-forth battle. Eastern’s 4,145 points is also the highest score in both the northwest and northeast regional competitions to date.

The Eastern team is coached by Stu Steiner, EWU assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering. He’ll accompany the team to nationals in Tampa, FL., on April 22.