LATHAM, NY (01/24/2018) (readMedia)-- Three New York Army National Guard Soldiers are heading for Vermont next week to compete against 42 National Guard Soldiers from six other eastern states.
Lt. Col. John Studiner, from Arlington, V.A., and a married couple, Captains Katy and Joseph Moryl, from North Hudson, N.Y., 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.
Winning depends on speed on skies and accuracy with a rifle, according to Studiner, the New York National Guard biathlon program coordinator.
All three serve in the Troy-based 42nd Infantry Division headquarters and have raced before.
Studiner has been on the team since 2003. Katy Moryl has competed for three years and her husband is in his second year of competition.
Biathlon has always been considered a military sport, Studiner explained.
"You prepare yourself, your equipment and your rifle for the event and train as you compete; just as you would prepare yourself and your equipment for a mission," Studiner said.
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.
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. They train on the roads on "roller skies" just like the Olympic athletes do.
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 central and western states normally compete at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, but because there is no snow they will compete at Camp Ethan Allen, also according to Maj. Christopher Fouracre, the biathlon coordinator.