Ohio National Guard News

Ohio National Guard Biathlon Team competes in Chief,
National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship

By 1st Lt. Aaron Smith, Ohio National Guard Public Affairs, Ohio Army National Guard

The Ohio National Guard Biathlon team competed in the 2017 Chief, National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vermont this March. READ STORY


A Soldier with the Vermont National Guard observes the race track construction March 4, 2017, at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site in Jericho, Vt.

Spc. Lisa Roberts (left) competes in the relay race event March 7, 2017.
Spc. Lisa Roberts (left) competes in the relay race March 7, 2017.


1st Lt. Lauren Weber competes in the sprint race March 5, 2017.


1st Lt. Lauren Weber takes a deep breaths in preparation for her next race March 6, 2017.


Spc. Lisa Roberts waxes her skis in preparation for the Chief, National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship, March 4, 2017.


Spc. Lisa Roberts competes in the sprint race March 5, 2017.


1st Lt. Lauren Weber competes in the pursuit race March 6, 2017.


Air Force Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, chief, National Guard Bureau, speaks during an award ceremony March 9, 2017, at Camp Johnson in Colchester, Vt. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Avery Cunningham)

Jericho, Vt .(03/09/17) — Four members of the Ohio National Guard braved below-freezing temperatures to compete in the 2017 Chief, National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship, hosted March 5-9 at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site.

The annual five-day biathlon competition brought more than 120 Guard members from 23 states together to compete as tactical athletes in an ultimate test of endurance, speed and mental concentration.

The competition consisted of individual and team races featuring cross-county skiing and precision target shooting elements. Participants pushed their bodies and military skills to the limit throughout the demanding terrain-filled course while shooting targets the size of a half dollar from 50 meters away.

Race officials struggled to maintain the course throughout the week of competition as temperatures rose to nearly 50 degrees, from -22 degrees at the start of the event. Drastic temperature changes and an unusual lack of snow for the region were some of the challenges that the Ohio National Guard Biathlon team faced at the championship.

“The biathlon is a challenging event, but a lot of fun,” said Spc. Lisa Roberts, an air defense battle management systems operator with 174th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and first-time participant. “You really have to have that endurance physically, and that mental push to drive on for your team.”

Roberts shared the course with fellow Guard members who traded their combat boots for skis, including three Olympic athletes.

“The most difficult part is the shooting,” Roberts said. “You’re taught at basic training to keep calm and focus on breathing, and here (at the biathlon) it’s the same concept, except you just skied 2-3 kilometers, your heart rate is up in the air, so you just have to calm down to get that perfect shot.”

During the end-of-competition awards ceremony on March 9, Air Force Gen. Jospeh L. Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said the biathlon is yet another event that showcases the talent of National Guard Soldiers and Airmen.

“Everything that is associated with sports, athletics and military competition is ... what makes us special,” Lengyel said. “We want to excel at everything we do. ... That’s why we are the best military force on the planet.”

Despite the difficulties and strenuous toll on one’s body, Roberts said she valued the experience and recommends that other Guard members give it a try as well. “It’s a chance to do something different, a chance to push yourself physically and mentally, and a chance to put yourself above your peers,” she said.

 

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