JERICHO, Vt. - The North Dakota National Guard concluded another biathlon season at the Annual Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships last week.
Seven North Dakota soldiers and airmen competed against their counterparts from more than 20 states Feb. 26 through March 6 at the Camp Ethan Allen Training Site, in Jericho.
The North Dakota team placed second - with the Vermont team taking top honors - after winning the Central Region Biathlon Competition at Camp Ripley, Minn., for the fifth time in a row Feb. 3-8. The North Dakota team took first place in the national competition last year and in 2010.
Biathlon competition combines the endurance and stamina of cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship on a 50-meter range. The marksmanship range has five targets for each shooter and penalty laps result from missed targets.
The team competition combined the results of the four-person patrol race and the four-person 7.5-kilometer relay race. The team members were Maj. Eric Nordgren, of Pelican Rapids, Minn., Capt. Robert Meland, of Bismarck, N.D., 1st Lt. Blake Hillerson, of St. Paul, Minn., and Spc. Conrad Roberts, of Battle Lake, Minn.
Some members of the North Dakota team won individual honors. Tech. Sgt. Danelle Card, of Hawley, Minn., placed fourth in the women's sprint race and fifth in the women's pursuit race. Hillerson placed third in the men's pursuit race and fifth in the men's sprint race.
"The team was incredible. All of our athletes skied hard and shot straight," said the North Dakota team's assistant coach Col. David Skalicky, of Bismarck (Sgt. Jordan Becker, of Grand Forks, N.D., is the head coach). "Special recognition goes to 1st Lt. Blake Hillerson for his individual third-place finish in the pursuit race. He only was bested by two former Olympic athletes. My hat is off to our 'All Guard' skiers and best wishes to Spc. Conrad Roberts and 1st Lt. Hillerson as they participate in the 52nd World Military Skiing Championship in Sodankyla, Finland, later this month. We have a strong team that will stay intact next season and, hopefully, have another national championship in the making."
The National event serves as the qualifier for the All-Guard Biathlon Team, which leads to international competitions for the athletes in places such as Chile, Germany, Spain and Italy, as well as possible selection for the U.S. Biathlon Association training program for World Cup-level competitions.
North Dakota team members who made the All-Guard Team were Nordgren, Hillerson, Roberts and Card.
The biathlon event provides an opportunity for National Guard members to demonstrate skills that are key to military service: athletic ability, endurance, marksmanship and teamwork.
|Date Posted:||03.12.2014 15:06|
|Location:||JERICHO, VT, US|
|Hometown:||BATTLE LAKE, MN, US|
|Hometown:||BISMARCK, ND, US|
|Hometown:||GRAND FORKS, ND, US|
|Hometown:||HAWLEY, MN, US|
|Hometown:||PELICAN RAPIDS, MN, US|
|Hometown:||ST. PAUL, MN, US|
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