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Elgin ECPI student part of national cyber competition
Kevin Richards, of Elgin, (second from left) joins his fellow members of ECPI University-Columbia’s “D0wn the L1ne” cybersecurity team members after learning that they are among the final six teams to compete in the national finals of Wicked6 in Las Vegas, N.V., on Aug. 8. Wicked6 is a competition designed to simulate industry-cyber attack scenarios. Along with Richards are (from left) student Jason Simmons, Coach Chris Flannery, and students Franklin Pearson, Earl Knorr and Wendi Jonkers.

Kevin Richards, of Elgin, a student at ECPI University’s Columbia campus, will be traveling to Las Vegas, N.V., on Aug. 8 along with other members of a cybersecurity team called “D0wn the L1ne.” The team will be competing in the national finals of the Wicked6 Cyber Games at Las Vegas’ HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor Hotel and Casino.

In addition to Richards, the cyber and network security team consists of students Franklin Pearson, Earl Knorr, Wendi Jonkers, Jason Simmons and Coach Chris Flannery. They will compete in a contest designed to simulate industry-specific cyber-attack scenarios, according to an ECPI press release.

“We are proud of our cybersecurity team of students and their accomplishment as national finalists,” ECPI University Columbia Campus President James R. Rund said. “With Cybersecurity Ventures projecting 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, ECPI University is preparing graduates for the job sector of the future. Competition and hands-on training is one way we help our students prepare for their future careers.”

Richards and D0wn the L1ne will compete against teams from California State University and the universities of Central Florida, Colorado-Boulder, Nevada-Reno and North Carolina-Wilmington. Wicked6 is hosted by the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu and sponsored in part by Microsoft and the U.S. National Security Agency. Competitors are challenged to exhibit critical cyber defense skills that directly map to abilities that corporate recruiters seek to fill.

Wicked6 is also a fundraising event, created to advance women in cybersecurity careers by promoting hands-on training, networking, resource-sharing and other professional opportunities.

ECPI University opened as East Coast Polytechnic Institute in Norfolk, Va., in 1966. The school now includes eight campuses in Virginia; three each in North and South Carolina (Charleston, Columbia and Greenville); and one each in Orlando, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas. It offers programs of study in information and engineering technology, health science, nursing, business, criminal justice and culinary arts.