Sisters and skaters
Kjerstyn, Alli and Annika Hall are three sisters who have been members of the Duluth Figure Skating Club for over a decade. Students at Marshall School, they have lived and breathed figure skating for over 13 years, training together on a daily basis, year-round.
"The girls started taking skating lessons together when they were 3, 5 and 7 years old. We had moved back to Minnesota and I figured that if you live in Minnesota, you've got to learn to skate," said their mother, Becky Hall.
Their hard work and support for each other resulted in a banner year in 2014, with Kjerstyn placing in the top 10 of the United States Figure Skating Midwestern Section, Alli as the Minnesota State Senior Ladies Silver Medalist and the youngest sister, Annika, as the Minnesota State Junior Ladies Champion.
"I'm just very proud of them. It takes a lot of commitment to make it to this level. And for three of them to be in one family is highly unusual. I don't think I've seen it before in my coaching career," said Ted Engelking, one of the girls' skating coaches.
The girls say that being sisters and skaters has both advantages and disadvantages. The girls often borrow each other's outfits. On Friday, there was some controversy as to who was the actual owner of Alli's outfit.
"We get her [Kjerstyn's] hand-me-downs a lot of the times," Alli began.
"But this dress was mine and she stole it out of my closet when I was gone," Kjerstyn interjected.
"Actually, this dress belonged to Molly Oberstar first. (Oberstar is an internationally-known figure skater who appeared in the 2010 film "Ice Castles.") She was another skater in our club. So this has been passed down from her to her to me," Alli said. "And she [Kjerstyn] was training in Colorado and I needed to wear something, so ..."
Annika's dress also belonged to Kjerstyn at one point, then it was to her after Alli wore it for a year.
"They just like my dresses better," Kjerstyn said. "They have their own dresses, but mine are so stylish that they need to steal them."
But when the girls compete together, they rely on each other to keep their nerves in check.
"It's been really nice. See, she gets really stressed out before competing where I'm more chill about it. So I try to make her relax," Alli said. "Then after we're done competing, we give each other hugs."
However, it wasn't so friendly when youngest sister Annika beat Kjerstyn in the artistic competition a few years ago.
"I was dressed up in a penguin suit and I sucked at it. She came out and she crushed me. I never did that category again. Never," Kjerstyn said.
"It was so awesome, though," Annika said.
For the past 13 years, the girls have competed in the Annual Northland Competition at the end of January. However, this year only Annika and Alli will compete as Kjerstyn will have left for Boston University to compete with its collegiate skating team.
Before she goes though, Kjerstyn is currently choreographing Annika's long program routine to a song called 'Danse Macabre.'
"I'm pretty excited for it. I love working with my sister," Annika said.