Students Crack the Game Masters’ Cybersecurity Codes at The Venture Center’s 2021 JOLT Cyber Challenge

Posted on October 18, 2021
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Cybersecurity experts challenged student teams from around the state with a weekend of cyber games, skill development, and networking

Little Rock, ARK. Oct. 18, 2021 – The Venture Center’s 2021 JOLT Cyber Challenge concluded on Sunday for student teams who came from across the state to compete for cash, prizes, and cyber skills bragging rights. For the second year, the University of Arkansas’ student team captured the top prize. Formerly “That Team Over There,” the four person cyberteam, “This Team Over Here,” earned the highest scores during the event. 

“This Team Over Here” members are Karsen Beck, Kira Thelfall, Natalie Friede, and Will Shaver. Coming in second place was University of Central Arkansas team “Gr4ndm45 C00kie5,” and a second University of Central Arkansas team, “Fancy Bears.” Other prize winners are:

Bright Idea Winners, awarded to stand out individuals:
• Julia Green from :(){ :|:& };: (Fork Bomb), UALR ACM Student Chapter
• John Clements from :(){ :|:& };: (Fork Bomb), UALR ACM Student Chapter
• Skyler Austen from Fancy Bears, University of Central Arkansas
• Buddha Moore from Goofy Goobers, Arkansas School for Math and Science

Puzzle Hero, for sticking with it to the bitter end: Connor from Zer0Access
JOLTSNAKE, for coming the closest to solving CheatSnake: Fancy Bears
J-O-L-T Award, for the team exemplifying the Spirit of JOLT:  Little Rock Central High Tigers
Game Master’s Choice: Goofy Goobers

The JOLT Cyber Challenge is an expert-designed cybersecurity training requiring hundreds of volunteer hours to produce. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was curated to be more in-depth and with a greater level of mentorship from the volunteer cyber experts, also known as the “Game Masters.”  

This year’s host of Game Masters included longtime volunteers Chris Wright, Tommy Haycraft, Daniel Spillers, Nick Seward, Josh Baugh, and newcomers Benji Allen and DJ Stack. The team works year round to curate puzzles that strengthen development skills through team building challenges.

The Venture Center Executive Director Wayne Miller says JOLT demonstrates the value that mentorship brings to our tech community.Miller said,”The JOLT Cyber Challenge is so important to our state. The tech economy continues to grow, and we must grow our pool of tech talent right here in the state. Our own entrepreneurs building tech platforms need in-state talent, our local tech companies need a talent pipeline, and tomorrow’s workers need high-paying tech jobs in their home state.” 

2021 JOLT Competitors included independent teams and student teams competing for accolades and prizes while developing high-level tech skills. Focus areas include remote access exploits, web vulnerabilities, code-breaking, physical security, and reverse engineering. Next year’s JOLT Cyber Challenge is tentatively slated for October 7 – 9, 2022. To learn more about JOLT, please visit

About The Venture Center
The Venture Center is a globally recognized Arkansas-based Entrepreneurial Support Organization (ESO) that helps entrepreneurs turn their start-ups into viable, high-growth businesses. By leveraging the expertise of a world-class team of mentors, intensive programming, and introductions to the investor community, The Venture Center serves as an engine for economic growth in Arkansas and beyond.

Check out a couple of our JOLT photos here!