There is little
doubt that 13 year old Jenna Hellstrom possesses God-given athletic
ability. Watch her work her magic on the soccer pitch or streaking
to the front of the pack at cross country and track & field
competitions and it’s obvious the Grade 8 student at Carl Nesbitt
Public School has talent.
Yet what separates
her from so many others is the sheer determination she brings to
virtually everything she tries. “Grade 6 was my first year with
cross country and I didn’t do very well”, she said recently before a
practice at the indoor soccer centre. “I would sprint at the
beginning and get too tired.”
But just two years
later, Hellstrom could be counted on to consistently rank among the
front-runners as the fall elementary cross country events were held
this past September and October.
The eldest of two
children of Donna and Peter Hellstrom (younger sister Karly is
nine), Jenna has garnered attention for her soccer skills on a
provincial scale, but she admits that there is definitely some cross
over as she heads out to run the open trails.
“I think it’s
similar to playing midfield in soccer – you do a lot of running.” In
fact, Hellstrom attributes much of her general fitness at this point
to some nine years of dancing background, providing her with “a lot
of conditioning” in her own words.
While she began her
soccer career in Sudburnia at the age of four, it became clear after
just a few years that she yearned for more. “After four or five
years, I was asked to play competitive. It was much more intense and
you have to practice a lot” she said with a smile, reflecting the
natural competitiveness that becomes evident as she plays.
Her schedule has not
subsided at all with the close of the cross country season and she
continues working her way towards a spot on the provincial soccer
team for her age grouping. Starting within a group of Ontario’s top
53 females under the age of fourteen, Hellstrom has managed to
remain aboard as the crew has been wittled to some 25 athletes.
involves regular excursions to the Vaughan Soccer centre and
practice sessions driven by intensity. One can’t help but think that
Jenna Hellstrom is very much in her element as she looks to pursue