JUNE 2015

SJR State student excels in networking competition

James Debruhl at computer

St. Johns River State College student James Debruhl made an impressive debut in the Cisco NetRiders competition. The competition, which began its first round in April, featured students throughout the United States and Canada vying in an online networking challenge. Debruhl was the only student from Florida to advance to the third and final round of the competition, where he placed 14th in North America and was recognized as a NetRiders Top Achiever.

Created by the Cisco Networking Academy, the NetRiders competition gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their IT and networking knowledge through simulation activities in which they build, configure and troubleshoot virtual networks.

Competing alongside Debruhl in the first and second rounds were fellow SJR State IT students Martin Gagnon, Bradley Jewell, Christopher Jordan and Brian Newman.

Out of the 30+ eligible colleges and technical centers throughout Florida, SJR State was the only college in the state that advanced to the third round of the competition.

Debruhl described the competition as a learning experience. “The NetRiders competition was a challenging test of the knowledge and skills I’ve learned and honed over the past four Cisco networking classes,” he said. “The difficulty of the competition continually motivated me to push myself and perfect my knowledge of each different facet being tested.” Debruhl also finished the competition with a sense of pride regarding his education at SJR State. “I am so grateful for the opportunity provided by my instructors, as well as SJR State and the Cisco Networking Academy, for facilitating my education,” he said. “I am very appreciative of all the support, and I’m happy to have brought our College to the final round.”

Debruhl has completed all four Cisco courses at SJR State and has earned several industry certifications, including CompTIA A+, Network + and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT). He will continue his drive for mastering the intricacies of information technology by working on his Linux and CCNA industry certification this summer.

 SJR State computer science and technology instructor Stan Greenawalt praised Debruhl’s performance in the competition, saying that the judges were impressed with his computer networking skills. “James benefitted greatly by competing in the NetRiders competition and learned that his knowledge for networking is ranked at the top level,” Greenawalt said.  “He will be a tremendous asset to any company he joins because of his work ethic and professional knowledge.”

SJR State students were eligible to compete in the competition due to the College’s status as an authorized Cisco Networking Academy partner and after training in the Orange Park campus Technology Building.

For more information regarding the Academy and SJR State’s computer science programs, call (386) 312-4183 or visit the website at

SJR State student James Debruhl places 14th in the national Cisco Networking Academy’s NetRiders competition.