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Date Published: November 29, 2008

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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. 

The commitment 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 her dreams.


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