LATHAM, NY (01/18/2018) Two North Hudson residents, who are both New York Army National Guard officers, are heading for Vermont next week to compete against 42 Soldiers from six other eastern states in a National Guard biathlon competition.
Captains Katy and Joseph Moryl, will be participating in the eastern regional competition of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Jan 24 to 28.
The qualifiers from that competition will then compete for the national title at Camp Williams, Utah from February 23 to March 2.
Biathlon combines cross country skiing with marksmanship. Competitors ski and shoot.
The couple serve as lawyers in the Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division headquarters. Katy was commissioned in August 2013, and Joseph was commissioned in January 2015.
Katy has competed for three years and her husband is in his second year of competition.
A biathlon team ideally consists of 7 males and 7 females plus the coach. It can include Air and Army Guard members. But it can be fewer, like this year's New York National Guard team.
Biathlon training improves marksmanship and is a challenge because you have to maintain a perfect sight picture in order to hit a target when someone's heart is racing at 130 beats per minute.
Because they're part-time Soldiers who live in different places, the team members usually train on their own. They do get together each summer for a week-long training session at Camp Ethan Allen and other training venues including Lake Placid, N.Y.
When Katy Moryl deployed to Guantanamo Bay in 2015 with a 42nd Infantry Division contingent, she roller-skied around the base for practice.
And, of course, they also practice their marksmanship. The team uses .22 caliber bolt action rifles specifically designed for biathlon.
"The sport is a true reflection of old military values and mission readiness that cannot be divorced from physical fitness," Katy Moryl said. "The accuracy of the shot and ultimate success of the competitor depends upon the physical and mental agility of the competitor."
The New York team has been successful in the past. Two former team members, Air National Guard Master Sgt. Deborah Nordyke and her husband, retired Army National Guard Major Curt Schreiner, both competed on Olympic biathlon teams.
The active Army ran the military biathlon program until 1973 and then turned if over to the National Guard. Thirty states send teams to the competitions and the National Guard program has produced 24 Olympic biathlon competitors.
"The sport is extremely humbling, as well as mentally and physically challenging, which are all the hallmarks of Soldier readiness," Katy Moryl added.