FALMOUTH, Maine — 10-year-old Briella Doherty of Portland and 13-year-old Hans-Erik Jerosch of Yarmouth spend a lot of time together at Family Ice in Falmouth practicing spins, lifts and jumps, and learning to stay in sync.
It helps that they're interests are in sync, too.
Briella and Hans-Erik are figure skaters and hockey players. When they're not working on axles and lutzes, they're lacing up their hockey skates and passing the puck around. Their similarities are apparent in hockey as well: both play defense and both wear number three.
"We realized that last year and we were like, "Really? I'm three too!" says Hans-Erik.
But the story of how they got to this point in their skating careers is different. Briella started on figure skates when she was just two years old and got in to hockey later. Hans-Erik did it the opposite way.
"I started figure skating when I was eight to help me with my edges in hockey, but then I got into pair skating," says Hans-Erik.
He and Briella are spending this week on skates with toe picks, perfecting their program for nationals. Both are looking forward to competing next to the best in the US.
"Just being there and skating with people I don't know and watching their programs, it's really fun," says Briella.
Regarless of the outcome of the figure skating competition, neither Hans-Erik or Briella is willing to give up hockey.
"I still want to do both," says Briella. "I want to do both for a long time."
The U.S. Figure Skating National Championships begin on Friday, January 18 in Detroit. Hans-Erik and Briella will be competing at the Detroit Skating Club in Bloomfield, Michigan.
Hans-Erik is no stranger to the National Championship. His brother, Franz-Peter Jerosch won the first place in novice pairs last year.