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TAG Line Biathalon Special Edition March 2, 2021

Top photo: N.D. National Guard 2021 biathlon team members from left to right, Capt. Blake Hillerson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment; 2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment; Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment; Pfc. Sidney Kautz, 188th Engineer Battalion; Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst, Camp Grafton Training Center; Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade; and Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, at Camp Ripley Training Center, near Little Falls, Minn., Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David H. Lipp, 119th Wing)

Biathlon Competition

The N.D. National Guard sent two teams to compete in the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships, held at Camp Ripley Training Center, near Little Falls, Minn., Feb. 19 to 26, 2021.

This year, the N.D. National Guard fielded a four-member men's team and a three-member women's team. Women from the N.D. National Guard competed in past biathlon events in individual categories only; this was the first year a women's team was fielded.

Pfc. Sidney Kautz, 188th Engineer Battalion, skis toward a firing position, Feb. 22, 2021 at the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship. Participants ski through a cross-country trail stopping at designated areas to shoot at a series of targets with the weapons strapped to their backs. Biathletes fire twice or four times depending on the event. For example in the Sprint competition, five rounds are fired in a standing position, and five rounds in the prone position, for a total of 10 shots. When a target is missed, the competitor must ski a penalty loop of 150 meters for each round that misses the target before they may resume the race. The competition is a test of physical fitness and marksmanship, two critical military skills. This year's competition saw over 40 athletes from ten states.

According to the International Olympic Committee's website Olympic.org, "The word biathlon stems from the Greek word for two contests, and is today seen as the joining of two sports; skiing and shooting. Biathlon has its roots in survival skills practised in the snow-covered forests of Scandinavia, where people hunted on skis with rifles slung over their shoulders".

Meet the Athletes

Capt. Blake Hillerson has competed in 13 Guard Championship events and has been named to the All-Guard team 12 times. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts has competed 9 years and made All-Guard every year. Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold is in his third season and was named to the All-Guard Team for the first time. The All-Guard team consists of the top 15 biathletes across the country and is named annually. Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst, Camp Grafton Training Center, and Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, round out the men's team.

All members of the N.D. National Guard's women's team, 2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura, Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman, and Pfc. Sidney Kautz are first year biathletes.

Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst, Camp Grafton Training Center
Pfc. Sidney Kautz, 188th Engineer Battalion
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment
Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
Capt. Blake Hillerson, 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment

Competition

The Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships are held annually in different locations around the nation. This year's competition renewed the friendly rivalry between members of the N.D. National Guard and the Minnesota National Guard.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman skis during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships 10 KM Pursuit Race, Feb. 23, 2021 at Camp Ripley Training Center. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Pfc. Sidney Kautz completes penalty laps during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships Pursuit Race, Feb. 23, 2021 at Camp Ripley. The penalty loop is lined with state flags. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst aims his weapon during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships, Feb. 23, 2021 at Camp Ripley. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

Staff Sgt. Brandon Pulst, Feb. 22, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Pfc. Sidney Kautz skis in the 10 KM Pursuit race during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships, Feb. 23, 2021 at Camp Ripley. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Kautz fires her weapon, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)
2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura fires her weapon during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon, at Camp Ripley Training Center, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)
Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold looks his target over before firing, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)
Members of the N.D. National Guard men's team ski through a wood-lined trail during the Patrol race, Feb. 25, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Lt. Cmdr. Claire Clancy, U.S. Navy)
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts fires his weapon, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)
Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold skis toward his next firing position, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura prepares her weapon to fire. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

Staff Sgt. Joshua Warmbold skis during biathlon competition Feb. 22, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Pfc. Sydney Kautz fires her weapon during the Chief of the National Guard Bureau Biathlon, Feb. 22, 2021 at Camp Ripley Training Center. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura skis in the 7.5 KM Sprint race, Feb. 22, 2021 at Camp Ripley Training Center. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)

Key Results

The N.D. National Guard's men team finished second overall in the Chief National Guard Bureau (CNGB) Biathlon Championships behind the Minnesota National Guard. The N.D. National Guard's women team also finished second overall behind the first place women's team from the Minnesota National Guard.

Capt. Blake Hillerson placed first in the Master Men’s category (35 years and older), while Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts placed second in the Open category. Hillerson placed first in Master Men's category 10 KM Sprint race and the 12.5 KM Pursuit race while Roberts finished second in the Sprint competition.

Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman, placed first in the Master Women’s category (35 years and older) and won the 7.5 KM Sprint and the 10 KM Pursuit race competition. Pfc. Sidney Kautz placed first in the Novice (first time participant) Women’s Sprint race and second in the Pursuit competition.

Recognition

Left: Capt. Blake Hillerson and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Wynn Roberts, both of the 1st Battalion, 112th Aviation Regiment hold the men's 2nd overall CNGB Biathlon Championship trophy. Right: Pfc. Sidney Kautz, 188th Engineer Battalion, left, and Master Sgt. Jennifer Freeman, 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, hold the women's 2nd overall CNGB Biathlon Championship trophy. (U.S. National Guard Photos by Sgt. Mahsima Alkamooneh, Minnesota National Guard)
From left, 2nd Lt. Kaitlyn Gura, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment poses with the medals she earned as a member of the N.D. National Guard's women's biathlon team at the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships at the Camp Ripley Training Center, Minn., at the Grand Forks armory, Feb. 28, 2021. At right is the biathlon team's coach, Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Wieland, also of the 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment. (U.S. National Guard Photo by 2Lt. Jacob Kipp, 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment)

Ski Lesson

Command Sgt. Major Eric Binstock, senior enlisted leader for the N.D. National Guard, visited the biathletes competing in the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championship at Camp Ripley Training Center.

Command Sgt. Major Eric Binstock, N.D. National Guard senior enlisted leader, left, gets an impromptu cross-country skiing lesson from Capt. Blake Hillerson following the biathlon relay competition at the Chief National Guard Bureau Biathlon Championships at the Camp Ripley Training Center, Feb. 24, 2021. (U.S. National Guard Photo by Chief Master Sgt. David Lipp, 119th Wing)

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ND National Guard Public Affairs Office
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